October 23, 2000 12:00 PM

Plaid Tidings

Suddenly, it’s hip to be square. Classic plaids are resurfacing for fall in the form of flat-front hip-huggers for women and prep-school-inspired trousers for men. “I haven’t worn something like this since high school,” says Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, who donned a Vivienne Westwood red plaid suit for a recent fashion show, noting that the pattern “makes me feel good.” Britain’s Prince Edward has sported the same blue-green trousers for “at least two or three years,” says Palace spokesman David Tuck. “He’s quite fond of them.”

What’s the attraction? “Tartan has a wonderful range, from wild to formal. Its appeal is rustic and yet traditional,” explains British designer Westwood, a longtime plaid-pusher. “I bought them to lay around in,” says comedian Kathy Griffin of her plaid XOXO pants—but wound up wearing them to a recent awards show.

One drawback: the pattern tends to emphasize certain, um, assets. “If you’re particularly big on the bottom, you might move the plaid to the top,” advises XOXO marketing director Aaron M. Smith. No need to broaden those horizons.

with N.F. Mendoza in Los Angeles and Kimberly Chrisman in London

behind the Seams

Dish from Milan’s Fashion Week: It was a nonstop party as Giorgio Armani unveiled his dazzling Spring 2001 collection and later gathered a gaggle of celeb pals for the opening of his superstore, Armani/Via Man-zoni 31. Robert De Niro inaugurated the store’s sushi bar Nobu, which he co-owns, with a sake toast. Afterwards the posse repaired to Armani’s pad for a late-night supper, then hit the club Hollywood, where Bruce Willis mingled and American Beauty’s Thora Birch was swarmed by local boys begging her to dance….

I bumped into Courtney Love in the lobby of Milan’s Hotel Principe di Savoia, where she introduced me to daughter Frances, 8, a pint-size fashion plate in black sleeveless shift with gold studs. Love was in town to see pal Donatella Versace’s collection and give Frances a special treat. “It’s her first fashion show,” Love beamed. “I’ve been giving her fashion lessons all day. I’ve taught her simple and elegant is the way to go.”…

Also seen in Milan: Christina Ricci working an all-American look in white T-shirt and snug jeans, having cocktails with Bruce Willis and Dennis Hopper at the Principe bar….

By contrast, clearly not big on clothes is Harrison Ford. At least not when playing tennis. Ford often goes bare-chested during his regular game at a Beverly Hills tennis club. That’s a problem, because club rules dictate that all players wear a collared shirt on the court. “I’ve had to give him four collared shirts from our store just to get him to cover up,” moans a club employee….

In the upcoming big-screen version of Charlie’s Angels, Lucy Liu dons a plethora of wigs. But I hear Liu’s favorite hair look was her own raven tresses set into wavy curls. According to a spy, Drew Barry-more told her, “You look so fabulous you should wear your hair that way all the time.” To which Liu shot back, “I know. Don’t I look great?”

Startalk

What’s your favorite fragrance?

Jennifer Love Hewitt

“A fragrance by Creed called Jasmine.”

Naomi Judd

“Just plain lavender soap.”

Singer Jon Secada

“Loewe. It smells like you’re fresh out of the shower.”

Eva Marie Saint

“I always wear Hermès Country Garden. It’s peaceful.”

Famke Janssen

“KL [Karl Lagerfeld]. They don’t make it anymore. I don’t know what to do without it!”

Surgery’s Most Wanted

Ladies intent on looking movie-star pretty are trooping to cosmetic surgeons armed with photos of their favorite features. Which are the top requests? “We get asked for Nicole Kidman‘s nose quite often,” says Manhattan plastic surgeon Mauro Romita. Other faves: Sophia Loren’s cheekbones, Courteney Cox Arquette Arquette’s chin, Angelina Jolie‘s lips, Carmen Electra‘s eyes and Sharon Stone’s nose. Confronted with a star photo, “I consider if it’s feasible,” says Dr. Garo Kassabian, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. “I’m honest. I don’t want them to get something they’re going to regret later on.”

winner’s circle

A glowing Farrah Fawcett wowed guests at a Manhattan screening last week in a little black Gucci dress, Lana Marks bag and Jimmy Choo heels. Notes her stylist, Deborah Waknin: “Her look shows people she cares enough to be respected and admired.”

Toeing the Fall Lines

One of the season’s hottest styles has a hole in it. Rosanna Arquette and Michelle Kwan are stepping out in shoes with openings just large enough to reveal the big toe. Popularized by Prada and Ferragamo, the footwear “has a sexy peek-a-boo effect” with overtones of ’40s Hollywood glamor, says L.A. stylist Cary Fetman. Standing tall on the shoes’ demi-platforms may require some vixenish verve, but that’s no problem, says Nikita’s Peta Wilson: It “is about connecting with [your] femininity.”

Hollywood Calling

Here’s the 411 on getting celebs such as Britney Spears, Sisqó and Carson Daly on the line: e-mail their two-way pagers. The trendy new Motorola Timeport P930 is today’s must-have accessory because “you can talk to five different people at the same time,” says ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass. Another reason stars love them: The gadgets let you type messages instead of speaking, the better to foil eavesdroppers. “You can stay in touch, unobtrusively,” says Motorola’s David Pinsky. The price? Up to $400, plus monthly service fees.

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