By Sophfronia Scott
June 19, 2000 12:00 PM

Bare Essentials

Got naked ambition? Try wearing nude. The beigy-pink hue favored by Halston in the ’70s has come blushing back in sumptuous Gucci leathers and beaded Randolph Duke gowns, giving vixens such as Heather Locklear, Yasmine Bleeth and Gwyneth Paltrow a whole new way to get second looks. “I love the illusion that you can see something, but you can’t,” says ex-Baywatch babe Gena Lee Nolin. “It’s so sexy.” Some believe the shade actually improves on nature. Says Halston design director Craig Natiello: “Nude is the great elongator”—especially if, like singer Faith Hill, you’re a blonde. “It’s a heavenly color on her,” says L.A. stylist Garth Condit, who purchased nude gowns, a leather jacket and pants for Hill’s wardrobe. “She went ape over it.”

To succeed as a nudist, “pick the right shade,” says designer Duke. “It’s like makeup.” Pink tones set off pale faces best; yellow complements olive skin. Nude’s name is a misnomer for most people of color, but it looks “great on tan or African-American skin,” the designer says. So go faux bare this summer—but be aware of the line in the sand. Advises Duke: “Nude is not a great color for a bathing suit.”

with Gabrielle Saveri in Los Angeles

behind the seams

There was a flurry of activity toward the end of the recent luncheon for the Children’s Action Network at Carrie Fisher’s L.A. home. Stars such as Melanie Griffith, Hilary Swank and Sheryl Crow applauded the fashions in the Ralph Lauren runway show and raved over the fab Ralph Lauren cashmere sweaters in their goody bags. Other guests were simply baffled—over why the event’s cohosts Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, Kate Capshaw and Rita Wilson were no-shows. (I hear scheduling conflicts were to blame.)…

Sarah Jessica Parker‘s new flowered Marni dress didn’t make it to Los Angeles in time for a wingding marking the new season of Sex and the City. So Parker did what any style diva would—grabbed a spaghetti-strap Calvin Klein from her closet, tied a flirty grosgrain ribbon around the waist and triumphed over her dress disaster. “I let it go in the sum total of three seconds,” she boasts.. ..

Primping for the MTV Movie Awards (see story, page 179), Bond girl Denise Richards opted to fake a Saint-Tropez tan by having bronzing body makeup applied. But the goop started rubbing off on her white leather tube top and pants, forcing the star to spend a limo ride wiping her duds with a wet rag….

Scoop! Felicity’s Keri Russell, whose boyish shorn locks were blamed for the show’s 30 percent ratings dip last season (reportedly provoking The WB to forbid its young stars to chop off their hair—something the network denies), has gotten a grow-your-tresses-by-October edict from the show’s producers. Not that Russell, for whom hair extensions were considered, didn’t put up a fight—I’m told she rather cottoned to her short do….

Seen: Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson in shorts, bandanna and diamond-studded Rolex jogging with a trainer in the Hollywood Hills.

A Little Gator Aid

Sure, reptile is all the rage. But it took fake fur and a fetching felt tongue to strike Leelee Sobieski’s fancy. The Joan of Arc star, 18, has been giddy over her stuffed gator bag (“I named him Oleg,” she says) since she bought the $30 carryall in March at a Manhattan boutique. “I saw it, and I instantly wanted it,” she says. Oleg’s appeal? “He’s really soft. If we go to the movies, I can put him on my stomach, I like to hold things, so it’s always with me. It’s like having a purse and a friend in one.”

star talk

What’s the worst bridesmaid’s dress you’ve ever worn?

Holly Robinson Peete

“It was a frightening flammable number. Hot pink, puffy sleeves and really hideous. I was scared for someone to smoke near me.”

JoBeth Williams

“It was yellow! It made me look like a banana.”

Kirsten Dunst
“It had a lace top with a curtainy material. They were saying, ‘You can wear that top with jeans,’ and I was thinking, ‘Okay, sure.’ ”

Ally McBeal’s Jane Krakowski

“Pink taffeta with pink lace and puffy. I looked like Cha Cha from Grease.”

winner’s circle

Heather Headley, star of Broadway’s Aida, picked up her Tony for best actress in a musical last week looking as regal as the Nubian princess she plays. “I thought, If Aida were alive what would she wear?’ ” says the actress. Answer: a beaded velvet Badgley Mischka and antique Indian jewelry by Fred Leighton.

Want to Be Hip? Wear Squares

Burberry plaid: It’s not just for trench coat linings anymore. The pattern is popping up on everything from ball gowns to bikinis and being snapped up by stars such as Sharon Stone and Katie Couric. “It used to be stuffy; now it’s for the young and hip,” says L.A. stylist Jeanne Yang. “The way to do it is to be a little irreverent.” The company’s CEO, Rose Marie Bravo, agrees. “[We’re] playing with it, stretching it, contorting it,” she says, then adds, “This has been around for 150 years. Please don’t call it a fad.”

presto change-o

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” says Melissa Joan Hart. Go red, that is. But as Sabrina the teenage witch, she had to stay with her natural blonde color. Then a role in the movie Backflash Blues called for a carrottop. “She’s digging it,” says her hairstylist Colleen LaBaff. “It looks good with her complexion.” Even better, “She might get to keep it for Sabrina.”