Safety pins. If you think they've had their day thanks to disposable diapers, think again. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Joan Jett and the members of Destiny's Child are currently putting the finger prickers to good use in sexy, peek-a-boo fashions. Holding together slashed fabric with safety pins "is the ultimate hard-edge look," says designer Todd Oldham, who helped Jett pin down the perfect ensemble for MTV's 20th-anniversary fete with a gold lamé bikini top worn inside out and suspended from the fasteners. "Stylistically it's dangerous, because it's pointy and it's raw." Satisfied customer Jett called it "definitely a unique look. Some people thought it was weird, but I loved it."
Of course, shocking the masses isn't a new safety-pin side effect. They went punk on the Sex Pistols in the '70s and chic two decades later when Elizabeth Hurley donned Gianni Versace's infamous black crepe and safety-pin dress. But, says Manhattan designer Nanette Lepore, it is possible to soften the point. "A T-shirt pinned together paired with a sequined skirt" would be "cute," she says. The only requirement? A whole lot of attitude. "If you have the confidence to wear [pins]," says Oldham, "that's all you need, because that confidence will shine through."
with Samantha McIntyre in New York City
behind the seams
When it came to choosing the perfect engagement ring, it took her beau Aidan (John Corbett) a couple of tries to find the right one for Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker's newly betrothed character, on the season finale of Sex and the City. The same held true behind the scenes. The first ring sent over by jeweler Harry Winston was a 5-carat rock valued at six figures that Sabrina Wright, the show's prop master, nixed, explaining that Aidan was no Mr. Moneybags. Winston then offered up an antique-style sparkler, but Parker vetoed that one as too fussy. What ultimately made everyone swoon was a colorless $60,000, 3.27-carat square-shaped emerald-cut dazzler. And true to form, I hear trendsetter Carrie will wear it in a unique way when the show returns in January. By the way, that "bad" ring Aidan first picked? It wasn't even a diamond. Wright designed it herself using a teardrop-shaped cubic zirconium and a brushed gold band....
Is Robert Downey Jr. back in shape? He said as much getting fitted for his Emmy-night suit at Hugo Boss in L.A. Thanks to the jujitsu he's been doing, Downey has trimmed his waist to a mere 30 inches and will hit the Sept. 16 awards in a size 38 black velvet Boss....
ER"'s Michael Michele also has Emmy on her mind. I hear the star of the nominated drama series will wear a gown by Carolina Herrera, plus diamond bangles and earrings she has commissioned from Manhattan jewelry designer Mimi So....
Seen: A casual Gwen Stefani in jeans and sneakers buying a funky red-knit star-studded jacket at the Catherine Malandrino boutique in New York City.
At the American Pie 2 premiere, Mena Suvari turned up with a hot new do—a beige blonde bob. Past roles "haven't allowed me to change the length," says the actress. She was happy to do so now. "Most girls would have a breakdown after losing a foot of hair," says her tress master David Gardner. "Not her. It's like she never had long hair."
If you could raid another celebrity's closet, whose would it be and why?
Hannibal's Julianne Moore
"Madonna's. I admire somebody who can reinvent their look. I can't do that. I have my standard outfits. I always look the same."
Saturday Night Live's Ana Gasteyer
"Julianne Moore's. She's just got a nice combination of sass and style."
Actress Dana Delany
"I would raid the closet of my friend Rita Wilson. She has all the Prada you could want."
Actress Jacqueline Bisset
"Meg Ryan's. She has a wonderful style about her. It's casual but elegant."