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Style Watch

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Tie in? Tie out!

Think guys don’t give a fig about fashion? Think again. It’s no coincidence that Hollywood heartthrobs like George Clooney, Eddie Murphy and Tom Cruise all recently tossed their ties and suited up with sexy turtlenecks instead. “It’s all about old-school glamor,” explains L.A. stylist Jeanne Yang, raving about the black top Clooney donned for a benefit last month. “He looked like Cary Grant.” Finding Forrester’s Michael Nouri took his fashion cues from costar Sean Connery, who plays a turtleneck-clad writer. “I thought, ‘That looks really good on him,’ ” says Nouri, who promptly pulled one on for a recent premiere. “It felt very good, especially the cashmere against my neck.” Spanish singing star Innis seconds that sensation. “When you have something soft on the neck,” he says, “it reminds you that you have this sensual zone.”

To maintain that Don Juan swagger, stick to lightweight wools and cottons for evening and keep the chunky versions for daytime since they “might look lumpy under a suit,” says Donna Karan Menswear president Don Witkowski. After all, says Yang, a man in a turtleneck signals that he’s “vulnerable, soft, that he cares. Mel Gibson should have been wearing one in What Women Want.” Actually, he did. He really does know what women want. with Alison Singh Gee in Los Angeles

behind the seems

Being chums with Meg Ryan certainly has its perks: Just ask lucky Laura Dern. When a box brimming with Dolce & Gabbana togs was recently sent to Ryan’s L.A. pad, I hear both stars put on a makeshift runway show, all but dancing around Ryan’s abode in a state of fashion euphoria. And when Chanel later sent Ryan a funky cropped jacket, word got back to the French couture house that Bobbsey Twin-in-training Dern wanted one too. How could Santa say non?…

Watch out Tom Ford—Lil’ Kim is adding designer to her résumé! The rap sensation, who’s almost as famous for her envelope-pushing getups, is said to be busy readying samples of a spring 2001 collection to show to backers. But don’t start looking for racy garb with Kim’s name on the label: I hear the line will feature perfectly respectable sporty jeans and tops….

Gwyneth Paltrow clearly adopted a better-to-give-than-to-receive credo this Christmas, lavishing the gal pals on her list with trendy necklaces adorned with customized pavé-diamond initials by L.A. jewelry designer Lena Wald. Also digging deep—way deep—into her wallet this season: Sela Ward, who, I hear, gave her assistant a shiny new BMW….

Seen: Chic castaway Elle Macpherson sporting a hot pink bandanna, T-shirt and gauzy white pants, splurging on a handmade backgammon set at a pre-Christmas crafts fair on Harbour Island, the Bahamas…. Leonardo DiCaprio, wearing a Lakers tee and hidden under a baseball cap, goatee, dark shades and ponytail, slipping into L.A.’s Du-par’s restaurant the other day.

DOUBLE VISION

Displaying the Midas touch, Barbara Walters and Hillary Clinton both shimmered recently in gold silk coatdresses by Oscar de la Renta. The First Lady is “a huge fan” of the designer, says a press secretary. Though she wore her gown before Clinton, Walters knows who made the first impression, lamenting on The View, “You know that song ‘Second Hand Rose’?”

The Frame Game

George W. wasn’t the only winner of Election 2000. MSNBC anchor Ashleigh Banfield, who clocked extra face time during the ballot battles, got raves from viewers for her $400 Lafont titanium eyeglasses. “They love the shape,” says Jeff Brown of Image Eyewear in Dallas. Banfield snagged the eyewear there after leaving her job at KDFW, where bosses had given her old tortoise-shell frames a thumbs-down. Now, she says, the attention is “remarkably refreshing.”