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Fashion | SENSE OF STYLE

Like Diamonds in the Sky

At the Golden Globe Awards, the Stars Came Out in Understated Jewels on a Backdrop of Midnight Black

January 22, 1998|MIMI AVINS | TIMES FASHION EDITOR

The 55th annual Golden Globe Awards presentation Sunday night might be remembered as the year Ving Rhames gave his statuette away, the night "Titanic" sank the competition, or the evening Christine Lahti's timing was off. But in fashion circles, it will go down as the party when the Riviere necklace, a simple, 16-inch strand of diamonds, quietly claimed the spotlight.

Big-name jewelers have been offering their wares to celebrities for years, and even sophisticated actresses have reacted like proverbial kids in the candy store.

They've grabbed the biggest and brightest baubles to borrow for an evening, causing jewelry overkill that ruined the effect of many a stunning dress. Maybe the novelty of having access to a zillion dollars' worth of gems is finally wearing off. For although there were many diamonds in sight Sunday, they were less bombastic and more carefully chosen to suit the wearer and contribute to a total look.

"Usually, women go for these big, bold jewels, but this year the Riviere was a huge thing," said Lori Schaeffer of the Diamond Information Center. "They were going more for the classics."

Imagine a preppy string of pearls, substitute diamonds, and you have the Riviere (pronounced Riviera), a classic design in the jeweler's repertoire since the beginning of this century. Lahti, Tea Leoni, Julianne Moore, Laura San Giacomo and Jodie Foster all wore variations of the necklace, supplied by Hollywood favorites Martin Katz and Harry Winston. The style has the potential to be the next diamond tennis bracelet--that is, a beautiful, timeless design that women can wear for day or evening. For those who don't want the nuisance of having to return the necklace the morning after, Rivieres can be purchased for as little as $20,000 to well more than $1 million, depending on the size and quality of the stones used.

When Lauren Bacall opened the show in a long, glittering evening coat by Giorgio Armani, she silently announced the evening's other fashion message--black rules. Foster chose a black apron gown by Armani, Sandra Bullock's bejeweled Dior was black, as were Kim Delaney's Herve Leger bandage dress, Anjelica Huston's Valentino column and Julia Roberts' colorfully beaded halter gown by Todd Oldham.

Madonna's latest incarnation, suitable for a trip to the Renaissance Faire, involved a long, full-skirted black taffeta gown. There were pretty pastels and pales in the crowd too, but the dark gowns were among the most elegant.

* Good Hair / Bad Hair: Sleek updo's worked well on San Giacomo, Helen Hunt and Linda Hamilton. Michelle Pfeiffer's low ponytail was the perfect plain counterpoint to her traffic-stopping, beaded Armani gown. Madonna's center-parted tousled and braided hair was in the same Gothic spirit as her dress. Roma Downey's coil of long red hair fought for territory with a fur collar, and nobody won.

* Look, Ma, No Straps!: Great strapless dresses included Hunt's pink bustier gown by Isaac Mizrahi (all the more striking when decorated by nothing more than discreet diamond stud earrings), Gillian Anderson's chiffon number by Herve Leger, its wicked scallops defining her gorgeous figure; San Giacomo's killer black minidress by Pamela Dennis; and Hamilton's black Valentino gown.

* Been There, Worn That: Goldie Hawn always looks terrific for these awards shows. But she's so successfully found her look that she always seems to be wearing the same dress. This time out, it was a crystal beaded sheath by Milanese designer Mila Schon.

* Taking a Risk: Interesting cover-ups included winner Angelina Jolie's cream silk chiffon stole, wrapped around a short, asymmetric dress by Armani; Kim Basinger's cashmere cardigan, thrown over her retro black satin tea-length dress by New York bridal designer Amsale; and Anne Heche's cut velvet Voyage coat.

* Not Big Enough to Hold a Trophy: Leoni and Julianna Margulies carried miniature studded tote bags by JP Tod, dyed to match their gowns.

* Worst Accessory: Jack Nicholson's chewing gum.

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