Style Watch

updated 03/04/2002 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/04/2002 AT 01:00 AM EST

Hot Rocks

Weary of dripping in diamonds? Think that being plastered in pearls is passé? Then take a hint from stars such as Sophia Loren, Patricia Heaton and Allison Janney and try a necklace made of turquoise. The look of this timeless gemstone, which is currently hotter than a rodeo seat in August, "has an element of playfulness to it," notes Once and Again's Susanna Thompson. "I love that it reminds me of the tropics," adds NYPD Blue's Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon. Formed in the desert regions of Arizona and Nevada, turquoise "represents the earth more than any other stone," notes jewelry designer Janet Gunn. Plus, the bold mineral evokes "the whole southwestern influence," says L.A. stylist David Whitacre.

The best way to show off the stone is "with monochromatic themes," notes Thompson. "That sets the canvas for the turquoise to pop out." It's a nice accent for casual pieces as well, adds Whitacre. "It looks great with denim," he says. Just don't overdo it, warns Gunn: "It's got such a vibrant color, you only need to wear a piece or two." Whitacre agrees. "Don't pile it on or it will look cheap," he says. "It will be in style for the next year or so, so pace yourself."

with Alison Singh Gee and Amy Baumgartner in Los Angeles

behind the seams

Even pop princesses aren't immune to clothing blahs. Britney Spears went through designer-duds withdrawal while playing a brainy high schooler in her new movie Crossroads. "The clothes I wore weren't at all my style," she says of the plain-Jane items such as a prim, pink satin prom dress and the button-down cotton tops she wears onscreen. "I felt frumpy at times, but they totally fit the character." Now sprung from fashion prison. Spears has taken on a little sideline designing clothes. The singer and beau Justin Timberlake have teamed up to create three T-shirts, two of which reflect Britney's feelings about the Sept. 11 tragedy. The $22-$24 black I tops, decorated with her handprints and, on the third, a gold cross, are available at Planet Hollywood and will benefit the pair's respective youth foundations....

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and girlfriend Judith Nathan recently slipped away to the tranquil environs of a Palm Springs-area resort. But getting to a Zen place didn't come easily to the newly knighted politico. When the spa's director offered to feng shui Rudy, referring to the ancient Chinese art of energy balance, Rudy shot back, "What do you want to do to me?" Nathan, however, didn't need to hear more. She wasted no time taking up the offer while her beau settled for a simple in-suite massage....

Actress Kirsten Dunst keeps her fashion radar crackling at all times. While dancing at an L.A. hot spot recently, Dunst eyed a woman in a striking eggplant-hued kimono-sleeved frock. Dunst made a beeline to the woman to rave about the dress, only to learn that the wearer, Aimee Brown, was also its designer. Dunst ordered the Heza-label design on the spot....

Seen: Kate Hudson working a hipster-chic look in Seven jeans, ribbed turtleneck and funky corduroy shoulder bag, chowing down on Mexican fare with hubby Chris Robinson at an L.A. eatery....

Christine Taylor, a.k.a. Mrs. Ben Stiller, in a pretty ponytail, denim jacket and black pants, telling a salesclerk in an L.A. beauty-supply shop how thrilled she is to be pregnant.

what was she thinking?
The fur-and-frills combo proved no love match for Cheryl Tiegs in L.A. at the Cedars-Sinai Annual Valentine's Ball. Though the gown won stylist Brenda Cooper's ardor for its "femininity," she ranks the model's updo "old-fashioned" and the fur bolero a mismatch. "It looks like it belonged to grandma," says Cooper, "but someone added fringe to try to update it." Her advice: Carry the jacket and study stars of the '40s and '50s who, she notes, "wouldn't go out without a perfectly coordinated ensemble."

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