Thursday, December 28, 2006

The stars dressed up or got dressing-downs

Jessica Simpson

From flashes of fashion brilliance to what-were-they-thinking moments, the year's celebrity style choices told us a lot about our stars and our culture. Were there signs of hope? Or is it the end of civilization as we know it? USA TODAY takes a look — you decide.

Audrey Hepburn lives!

The elfin avatar of chic died in 1993, but there she was dancing through Gap ads for skinny black pants like those she wore in Funny Face. Celebrities channeling Audrey included: Nicole Richie re-enacting Breakfast at Tiffany's in daddy Lionel's I Call It Love video; Britney Spears wearing skinny black pants à la Aud after a shopping trip to the Gap; and Natalie Portman dressed up as Hepburn for the cover of Harper's Bazaar. And that little black Givenchy gown Hepburn wore in Tiffany's? Sold at auction Dec. 5 for more than $800,000.

The bride wore white

Several celebs who married this year embraced curiously traditional dresses — lengthy, billowing, layered with lace, swathed in veils. And white: divorcée Nicole Kidman when she married Keith Urban in Australia; new mom Katie Holmes when she married Tom Cruise in Italy; and Desperate Housewife Marcia Cross when she wed her stockbroker beau, Tom Mahoney, in California. True, Pamela Anderson was an exception:She wore a string bikini to her July wedding to Kid Rock. But that marriage was over by November.

Oops! They did it again

It's not unusual when stars wear the same outfit to different events on different dates, but it's very, very strange when they turn up at the same event in the same outfit. At the Tonys, Alfre Woodard and Oprah gal-pal Gayle King both wore a striking citrus-colored gown by Pamella Roland. Rachel Griffiths and Christina Applegate strode down the red carpet at a Premiere magazine event in the same Hugo Boss frock. Carmen Electra and Christina Milian wore identical sheer white blouses by Victor & Rolf for H&M at the line's launch party in Los Angeles. And first lady Laura Bush and three other women appeared at a White House reception in the same two-piece red Oscar de la Renta gown. But unlike the rest, Bush could fix this faux pas: She slipped upstairs and changed.

Britney, Britney, Britney

On the one hand, she transitioned from chunky and frumpy to slim and sleek. She even pulled a Sharon Stone and emerged from the aforementioned Gap shopping splurge looking authentically cool after her apparently liberating split from Kevin Federline. But on the other hand …

Oops II: Look, Ma, no underwear!

Britney, Lindsay (Lohan) and Paris (Hilton) kept getting snapped by the paparazzi clumsily getting in or out of cars in hyper-short minis — and no underwear. Yuck. Enough said.

Dead trends that should have stayed dead

•Over-the-knee Pretty Woman boots (Jessica Simpson, Kristin Chenoweth)

•Risky Business-style Ray-Bans (Mischa Barton, Molly Sims)

•Turbans (Jennifer Lopez)

Accessory of the year

Forget the teensy dog in a giant handbag: This year, it was our gal Paris. Seems as if everyone — Travis Barker, Richie, Lohan and Spears — had to have the party-hearty heiress with them for nights on the town in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, wherever.
[USA Today]

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