STOCKING STUFFER: Nicole Richie didn’t need an Emmy nomination to get all glammed up — just a party invitation and a Roberto Cavalli gown, paired with a Swarovski bag, Judith Ripka jewelry and her mom’s earrings, one of which she broke. But Richie said she had doubts about her pale pink sequin gown at first. “It’s very sassy, but on the hanger, I have to be honest with you, it was so skinny, and I was like, ‘Are you joking?’ I thought it was a sock!”

BUTT REALLY: At HBO’s Luxury Lounge at The Peninsula Saturday, finding her favorite jeans line made Debra Messing’s day. “I live in Citizens of Humanity,” she said. “They got me my first compliment after having the baby. They were my motivation. They make my butt look amazing.”

EASIER DOES IT: During his years as a regular on the red carpet, Randolph Duke seemed to always leave a trail of drama in his wake. Either the tales were overblown, or age and humility have calmed him down. The weeklong rush to create Amber Tamblyn’s berry gown from scratch didn’t involve “one moment of stress working with Randolph,” says stylist Tod Hallman, who’s transformed the “Joan of Arcadia” Emmy nom into a red-carpet rising star by dressing her in Valentino, Reem Acra and Dior for previous award shows. “Randolph had approached me about doing something, and since we really hadn’t found a dress we felt strongly about, we thought, ‘Why not?’”

TO DYE FOR: Talk about accommodating. To coordinate her Lana Marks alligator clutch with her gown, Patricia Heaton enthused it took Marks “about 10 tries and 15 dyes — and $20,000 — to get it right.”

This story first appeared in the September 21, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.