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Rings for every finger, and more . . .

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Chain Reaction

After winter's girdle revival among the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Cate Blanchett, the latest abdominal accessory looks a lot less constricting. Waist chains have been wrapped around the tanned torsos in Ralph Lauren's new swimwear ads, while Vogue's March issue dresses up an unzipped Chloé jumpsuit with a gold band around the model's waist. "It's a show-off item. You should only wear one if you have something to flaunt," warns Janet Goldman, who sells Paige Roberts's Swarovski-crystal strand at Fragments ($600; 107 Greene Street). Marjorie Gad's gold belly bracelet ($300 at jewelbox, 654 Madison Avenue, at 60th Street) is so thin it won't interfere with any diamond navel studs. And if Judith Ripka's diamond-and-gold strand ($7,000; 673 Madison Avenue, at 61st Street) seems pricey for a passing fad, it can easily double as a necklace next season.
BETH LANDMAN KEIL

Finger Tip

Though jewel-encrusted pinkie rings, once limited to numbers runners and Rat Packers, have been glistening lately on the fashionable fingers of Jennifer Lopez and Lil' Kim, the mobster-chic look is migrating to another digit -- the index finger. Chloë Sevigny dressed up her forefinger with a simple gold band at the Golden Globes. Amber Valletta wears a treasure trove of baubles on hers in Versace's spring ad campaign, including Donatella's new signature Meandros ring, an Olympian-size amethyst ($3,610). And the models in Michael Kors's 10021-themed fall runway show flashed Paul Bunyan-esque emerald-cut diamond rings on their pointers. But that case, at least, may have been a matter of function over form: "On some of the models, it was the only finger the rings fit on," confides a Kors spokesperson.
SARAH BROWN

Shop Talk

For Nino Cerruti, the Italian menswear designer favored on trading floors and the Upper East Side who brought big-shouldered pastels to Miami Vice and styled Gordon Gekko's "Greed is good" wardrobe for Wall Street, dressing the yuppie cast of American Psycho was a suitable sequel. Cerruti, who has been outfitting silver-screen stars since the days of Bonnie and Clyde, was eager to work on the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel about eighties fast living and dying, which mentions the fashion house in its designer-label-obsessed text. To dress serial killer Christian Bale and his stockbroker cohorts accurately, the power-suit patriarch researched his own archived designs and found the actual patterns to create the period's French-cuff shirts and boxy jackets. And Cerruti's revival may reach beyond the screen, says Esquire fashion creative director Stefano Tonchi, who is prepared to see a resurgence of braces and power ties as a backlash against casual Fridays: "With all these young dot-com executives trying to look impressive, suit-wearing has become a new cult."
MAURA EGAN

Fifteen Minutes...

When the first Yves Saint Laurent python trench coat slithered down the runway last fall, the front row applauded: After stores had become saddled with everything pony-skin, the stylish snake made an exotic alternative for spring. Gisele and Gwyneth both slid into Gucci's turquoise python-patterned sheath; the waiting list for Fendi's $1,695 python purse snaked out the door. Chanel came up with pastel python jeans, and Calvin Klein decided to forgo his usual understated uniforms for azure-and-tan scaly skirts and sandals. Magazine covers and mass-marketers followed, with everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to bebe rushing to stamp the python print onto Spandex shirts, sheer panties, and nylon scarves. And how quickly the fashion cycle comes around to bite its own tail: Aerin Lauder and Brooke de Ocampo arrived in the same pair of Gucci python-print trousers at a recent charity function, surely inspiring each to mutter "Never again," even as the knockoff kingpins at Express were rolling out racks of pleather python capris ($49.50). Will the fashion flocks be forced to shed their just-acquired skins?
M.E.


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