Though for many the handkerchief-as-a-top look is already outdated, Zhang Ziyi, who was in town to promote “The House of Flying Daggers” at the New York Film Festival, made it seem fresh again. She paired a white fur jacket with jeans to create a look that was youthful and sophisticated.

“You’re wearing a napkin,” said one of Ziyi’s friends to the actress at a dinner for the film thrown by Ferragamo at the newly opened Cafe Gray in the Time Warner Center.

This story first appeared in the October 12, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“But it’s a beautiful napkin,” Ziyi answered. “A colorful napkin.”

Ziyi, who is filming Rob Marshall’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” in Los Angeles, said that she enjoys being an ass-kicking role model for young girls everywhere. “They think I’m cool because I get to beat up the boys.” But the peace-loving Ziyi, who says she is a jeans-and-T-shirt kind of girl, makes sure to tell them it’s a fantasy.

When asked about filming one of the dramatic and elaborate fight scenes in “Daggers,” which is directed by Zhang Yimou, she explained it was shot in a bamboo forest in Szichuan, China. “Where all the pandas live — that’s what they eat.”