TV’s Top 10

LOS ANGELES — It’s back. WWD’s third annual list of TV’s Top 10 Style Setters contains some of our old favorites (Sarah Jessica Parker, Debra Messing and Lara Flynn Boyle among them) as well as some new faces (Rachel Griffiths,...

LOS ANGELES — It’s back. WWD’s third annual list of TV’s Top 10 Style Setters contains some of our old favorites (Sarah Jessica Parker, Debra Messing and Lara Flynn Boyle among them) as well as some new faces (Rachel Griffiths, Jennifer Garner and Kelly Osbourne).

This story first appeared in the August 14, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Chosen Ones aren’t necessarily Emmys-bound, but they make the cut for being influential in their clothing choices on and off the small screen. After all, these are the ladies we allow into our bedrooms late at night and whose images reverberate when we wake up in the morning and think about what to wear. The 54th Annual Primetime Emmys, held at the Shrine Auditorium on Sept. 22, air live on NBC at 5 p.m. PST.

Sarah Jessica Parker

What else can be said about the “Sex and the City” star? Sometimes it’s better left to the designers she loves: “She is definitely a trendsetter and always in the public eye,” says Valentino. “She does not follow any guidelines, but goes by personal taste, which I admire very much.”

From Ungaro to de la Renta to Westwood to Tyler to Chanel couture, Parker can wear anything and does, often opting for more rather than less. It will be interesting to see how her pronounced pregnancy — she’ll be in her eighth month — will affect her clothing choices, which lean toward the whimsical and highly individualistic. “She is true style and fashion at its best,” says stylist Tod Hallman. “She looks great when she freely goes for the magical opulence of glamour.” But there are bound to be dissenting opinions on her style because it’s so individual. “She’s a small girl,” says stylist Todd Shemarya, “and should therefore wear simple clothes so as not to overwhelm her body. She tends to wear things that are very costumey, which takes away from how pretty she is. I would like to see her at the Emmys in a simple Dior gown.”

Lara Flynn Boyle

Call her skinny, call her flashy, call her a fierce ruling diva — but never call this star of “The Practice” unfashionable. Hollywood’s most formidable bad girl loves clothes almost more than men, and goes through them just as quickly, wavering between traditional Hollywood glamour and spurts of rock ’n’ roll brassiness. And both looks work on her: beaded gowns and wavy hair, or skintight minis with maxi heels. She gets credit for sheer fashion bravado — sheer also playing a big part in her fashion vocabulary. “Lara takes chances,” says hairdresser Oscar Blandi, who’s often worked with her. “Her style is as versatile as she is, from controlled elegance to carefree wild — she always commands everyone’s attention. One of my favorite looks on her is Old Hollywood Glamour — but the wild side still sneaks out.” And, says the New York Times Magazine creative director Elizabeth Stewart, “I like her edge, but I would add a little refinement. She would look fabulous in vintage Gaultier or Dior chinoiserie. Or an old YSL tuxedo, but without the T-shirt — that made her look too L.A.” Meanwhile, Boyle’s sequined Bob Seger T-shirt at the 2000 Golden Globes spawned a million look-alikes.

Jennifer Aniston

Who needs clothes when you have Brad Pitt on your arm? While the “Friends” Best Actress nominee has had her share of strong fashion moments on the red carpet, Aniston has been dressing so down lately — donning flip-flops and jeans on morning television appearances and Calypso beach skirts to movie premiers — that she’s living up to her oft-heard fashion credo that “clothes are a necessary evil in this business.” But nobody can pull off a black body-conscious Prada as well as this sexy Good Girl, who manages to make her own assets always talk louder than her clothes. Her current stylist, Todd Shemarya, had this to say: “Jennifer, in my opinion, has the best style out of anyone out there today. She is simple, but chic. She has a great body that is flattering to the clothing, but she never wears much makeup to take away from the clothes. I would like to see her follow her great classic style at the Emmys.”

“Jennifer has a clean, all-American style,” reiterates the team of Mark Badgley and James Mischka. “She can wear pretty much anything from a simple matte jersey dress to something very elaborate.”

And, says Valentino, “Jennifer always looks stunning and chic while never going over the top. She knows what works and doesn’t.”

Still other Italians praise Aniston. “We love her sense of style because it’s effortless,” expressed Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. “Whether it be our tuxedo or a little black dress, she always looks incredibly sexy. This ease with fashion combined with confidence make her a standout in Hollywood.”

Jennifer Garner

The sexy, statuesque star of ABC’s sophomore spy drama “Alias” is this year’s new “It” girl. She has the body, the face, the talent and the Best Actress nomination to put her on top of everyone’s must-dress list. An admitted homebody with husband-actor Scott Foley, Garner says she’s more comfortable in Abercrombie & Fitch than couture, but she’s learning to love fashion, whether it’s Vera Wang or Prada. Elizabeth Stewart of the New York Times Magazine says, “Jennifer is absolutely gorgeous but a tame dresser. If she wears a simple dress, it should be something like Versace — very sexy and fitted. Or what about Alaïa? She could borrow a vintage one from an old supermodel.” If she went a little wild, Dolce & Gabbana has the answer. Says Domenico Dolce: “We would like to see her in a stretch satin corseted gown with a plunging neckline that would accentuate her strong, statuesque physique.” And regarding her look above the shoulders, hairstylist Oscar Blandi says, “She already chooses sophisticated and contemporary looks. A simple style that frames her radiant smile and beautifully shaped eyes is all she needs.”

Debra Messing

Hollywood’s current red carpet queen and the star of NBC’s “Will & Grace” has only had one misstep: that billowy Oscar de la Renta gown at last year’s Golden Globes was gorgeous, but simply too festive and fashiony for that post-Sept. 11 moment. But the rest of her outings have been flawless, from a sleek, black modern Gucci knit and Brian Atwood gladiator shoes, to her black-and-white striped Ralph Lauren gown, to the Emporio Armani mini with high Jimmy Choo boots at the Emmys. She’s gamine enough to go Audrey Hepburn and siren enough to go glam — and that element of surprise always makes her fun to watch.

“Debra Messing has the potential to be a huge style icon,” says Elizabeth Stewart of the New York Times Magazine. “She reminds me of Lucille Ball and Carole Lombard and could look to them for inspiration.” Says her regular Cloutier makeup artist Karen Kawahara: “I like her best classic, but she always likes to push it a little bit — which is very modern. With Debra, it’s always about the dress first. I think the makeup is what ties the dress and the hair together.”

Finally, Dolce and Gabbana say, “We’d love to see her in our ocelot print or a floral chiffon gown that has some movement. It would reveal her wild side.”

Rachel Griffiths

This Top 10 newcomer possesses a talent for chameleon-like acting (it’s earned her a Best Actress nomination for HBO’s “Six Feet Under”) and fashion savvy. “There are many different sides to her style,” admits her L.A.-based stylist, Tod Hallman. “It’s as varied as her acting ability. I like when it’s simple, chic glamour.” Griffiths never goes wrong when she sticks to no-nonsense sleek gowns — the womanly approach to her womanly physique — as opposed to her occasional preponderance for things girlie and fluffy. She has a cool original style, according to Mark Badgley and James Mischka: “We would love to see her in a black-and-nude tulle gown with sunburst crystals.”

“I’m inspired by her personality,” says her makeup artist, Sharon Gault. “And that inspires her clothes, which in turn inspire her makeup. I like bringing out her eyes when she’s in a glam dress.” Finally, Valentino, who dressed her at last year’s Golden Globes, says, “There is such an energy that exalts with the young actors in Hollywood today, and Rachel Griffiths is one of them. She has such confidence, elegance, charm and innate beauty.”

Katie Holmes

The “Dawson’s Creek” darling has certainly grown up and has a burgeoning film career to boot. But amazingly, she hasn’t lost her wholesome, girlish appeal. While she’s graduated from innocent frilly looks to the clean lines of Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani (all the better to show off her long, lean curves), Katie still imparts a fun twentysomething attitude to her fashion, from Seven Jeans to a mix-and-match of BCBG Max Azria, Stella McCartney and Manolo Blahnik. Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who put Katie in one of her earliest and most memorable gowns, said, “Katie has a fresh, scrubbed beauty — we love her in chiffon or diaphanous lace pieces.” Holmes’ sometime hairstylist Oscar Blandi says, “Katie is the girl next door. Or rather, she was the girl next door. Now is the time for her to show off the woman she’s become with a sexy look. Hair should be deconstructed — straight with possibly a few curls. Nothing too over-styled.”

Jill Hennessy

This sassy native New Yorker only gets better with time. After making her mark as sexy Manhattan prosecutor Claire Kincaid on “Law & Order” in the Nineties, she’s back on the small screen as the equally alluring yet tough criminal investigator Jordan Cavanaugh in NBC’s freshman drama “Crossing Jordan.” In real life, Hennessy prefers to show her softer side in feminine dresses by Diane Von Furstenberg, Halston and Randolph Duke. Her raven hair looks beautiful in long, loose waves or sleek and straight. Duke, who has collaborated with the actress in the past, says, “I’m partial to her magnificent physique, on which everything looks good. Her athletic yet sexy shape looks best when draped in glam yet effortless styles that seem literally wrapped on the body.”

Tracee Ellis Ross

Another first-timer to the Top 10, Tracee Ellis Ross has style in her blood. Like her fashion-icon mother Diana, Tracee knows how to make a statement with clothes, on her hit UPN show “Girlfriends” as well as in real life. Whether it’s vintage Wrangler cords and Halston sandals or her trademark Bulgari bracelets and this season’s Givenchy, Tracee works it to perfection. Roman Alonso of Greybull Press says, “Tracee is one of a few actors in this town who truly dress themselves everyday — no stylists in that closet! Anything she puts on is worth looking at because it’s put together like you’ve never seen it before. Sometimes you’ll see her in clothing straight from someone’s runway and you’d never know it because she makes it hers. She’s beautiful and fearless and actually knows how to wrap a pair of pants on her head and make it work.” Another friend and fashion collaborator, Cameron Silver of Decades, observes, “Tracee is very intelligent with her choices. I love how she mixes vintage with new, designer with cheap-and-chic. She never looks cookie-cutter and even when she’s schlepping around town, she radiates style. I don’t know any other girl who can wear a Raf Simmons jumpsuit with heels and still look like a fashion icon.”

Kelly Osbourne

Top 10 newbie Kelly Osbourne might not fit the traditional fashion plate mold, but that’s why we love Ozzy and Sharon’s youngest daughter. Unmistakable with her flash of hot pink hair, she livens up the airwaves in much the same way she shakes up the red carpet: with chutzpah and charm. Because “The Osbournes” is a reality show, we see the real Kelly both onscreen and off. Her style is a mix of New Wave and punk with a little couture thrown in. She’s even been partial to the clothier of her homeland, Burberry. Of course, like any other rebel princess, Kelly has her detractors. Stylist Todd Shemarya says, “Kelly wears too much makeup and too many accessories. But she could still dress funky without being obvious. She could very well wear a short skirt suit, basic black, limited accessories and light makeup.” Her colorist at Vidal Sassoon, Yiotis Panayiotou, who’s responsible for her many hues, says, “Kelly would look fab on the red carpet with a white blond color and a gothic-punk style. And should definitely go as dramatic as she usually is because, otherwise, all her fans will be very disappointed.” In short, Kelly is an inspiration to young women who itch to break fashion convention. And would you expect any less from Ozzy’s little girl?