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A Neck-and-Neck Race for Best Accessory Award

January 22, 2002|VALLI HERMAN-COHEN | TIMES SENIOR FASHION WRITER

Accessories, those small gestures of glitter or sentiment, often help actors illuminate their personalities without having to say a word.

Though their elegant designer attire made the big first impression as stars stepped along the red carpet for the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, a closer look showed that many were eager to distinguish and even reveal themselves with accents chosen not just for their trendiness.

Laura Harring, of "Mullholland Drive," subtly invoked the mystery of the movie with her contrast of a strict menswear-inspired pinstriped suit, an oversized red flower in her hair and a large diamond pendant strategically placed on her bare and plunging neckline. Those small details brought a feminine polish to the look that was missing from Sissy Spacek's pant ensemble.

In what could be an end to the cliched blaze of big diamond suites, many on the red carpet selected subtle diamond accents or a less pricey statement necklace, often in colorful semiprecious gems.

The effect made stars--and their jewelry--seem more approachable. Jane Kaczmarek's bold amethyst necklace by Pagliei & Comly with a recycled chandelier crystal pendant was "totally opposite the dress,'' said Daniel James Cantu, who made the gown he called "a nod to '30s Hollywood."

Women stars seemed less fragile when they wore chunky gems to counterbalance their stiletto-heel shoes and delicate dresses. Indeed, with a big amethyst bead and cross necklace by Alexander Designs, Garcelle Beauvais Nilon was powerfully feminine in her delicate lavender Eduardo Lucero dress.

Lorna Luft's brooch and bracelet brought to mind old Hollywood--850-carat aquamarines that once belonged to Mae West and a rainbow-shaped bag that recalled her mother's famous "Wizard of Oz" song.

The accents didn't have to be valuable gems to be effective. The most memorable was a simple piece of paper. Kevin Spacey bravely revealed a tender side to his personality as he repeatedly explained that the photo he had tucked across his tie was that of director Ted Demme, who died suddenly days earlier. No one really cared to know who made his suit after seeing the actor choke with emotion as he repeated his departed friend's name.

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