By Lauren Bishop
The Cincinnati Enquirer
First came the end of Sex and the City, and a veritable panic set in. What TV show, we wondered, would we look to now to find out whether Manolos or Jimmy Choos are this season's stilettos?
Now, similar hand-wringing is going on over the end of Friends, which signs off tonight starting at 8 p.m. (Channels 5, 22) with a one-hour retrospective, followed by the final episode at 9 p.m.
For 10 years, viewers (albeit mostly female) have been looking to the cast - especially Jennifer Aniston - for hair, clothing and accessory advice.
First there were those ubiquitous "y" necklaces, way back in the show's beginning. In season eight, there was an entire episode devoted to Monica's gorgeous but painful (and painfully expensive) stiletto-heel, pointy-toed boots. (Soon everybody was wearing them anyway.) And who could forget "the Rachel," the hairstyle that everyone copied, but few perfected?
"She's (Aniston) the icon, really, and has been for a long time," says Michelle Bertke, a cosmetology instructor at Aveda Fredric's Institute in Hyde Park. "I've always said, whenever I go shopping, I think, 'Would Jennifer wear that?' She has such great style. She's never over the top. She's classic."
NBC affiliates around the country are bidding adieu to one of their most popular shows with an assortment of contests and events.
In Cincinnati, WLWT-TV (Channel 5) held a contest in which the winner receives a private viewing party and five friends at Jillian's and a Friends-style sofa from Sofa Express.
Even networks not affiliated with NBC are getting into the act.
Instead of airing its standard classic-TV fare, TV Land will devote its 6-9 p.m. time slot to a segment titled Before They Were Friends. (Examples: David Schwimmer on The Wonder Years and Jennifer Aniston on Ferris Bueller.)
From 9-10 p.m., when the finale airs on NBC, viewers tuning into TV Land will see a room full of TV Land staffers who appear to be watching the Friends finale.
Meanwhile, E! will pay tribute with a series of specials packaged together. Here's the lineup: Style Star: Friends, 5 p.m.; Hollywood Love Story: Courteney Cox & David Arquette, 5:30 p.m.; It's Good to Be Brad and Jen, 6 p.m.; It's Good to Be Matt LeBlanc, 6:30 p.m.; It's Good to Be Courteney Cox, 7 p.m.
Enjoy the Arts/START was already planning to throw a spring-themed benefit tonight when organizers realized the finale might keep some potential partygoers home. So they're turning on the TVs tonight at Neon's on 12th. (The party starts at 5:30 p.m. at 208 E. 12th St. There's a $5 cover.)
Seniors in the fashion design program at the University of Cincinnati were going to have their annual dinner tonight, but organizers rescheduled the event when some students said they'd bag the dinner in favor of the finale, says Margie Voelker-Ferrier, head of UC's fashion design program. They'll dine a week from tonight instead.
In New York City, the organizers of the TriBeCa Film Festival worried when they realized the outdoor movie screening they had planned for tonight would conflict with the finale. So they rescheduled the screening and plan to broadcast Friends tonight instead.
If you're dreading the end of Friends, Bertke and other local fashionistas and stylists can point to a whole slew of shows they say could produce the trend-setting Carries and Rachels of the future. Here are the ones to watch:
The O.C. (9 p.m. Wednesdays, Channels 19, 45.)
Many say Marissa (Mischa Barton) on the 90210-esque soap is a huge fashion influence. With a body that would have made any flapper jealous, she usually sports tiny tops, ruffled miniskirts and flats and has a penchant for Marc by Marc Jacobs and BCBG.
Brooding Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) wears T-shirts, jeans and an ever-present leather wrist cuff; Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) is part skater boy, part prep.
"The O.C. - I think that's a good one for guys and girls," says Chester Ricks, director of Cincinnati modeling agency New View Management Group. "Orange County, Calif., is a very trendy spot, and the outfits they wear are pretty fashion-forward."
Anna (Samaire Armstrong) from The O.C. may be getting her own show, which Sarah Hunterman, a stylist at Identity Hair Salon & Spa, says could be big if she dresses in the funky, eclectic way she did on The O.C. Plus, "Everybody loves her hair," she says.
Alias (9 p.m. Sundays, Channels 9, 2.)
As Sydney Bristow, Jennifer Garner wears fitted, dark suits over low-cut tops (but not too low) and a straight, neat haircut to work at the CIA. But when she goes on undercover missions, she dons everything from goth garb to sexy scientist suits with a wide range of wild wigs. And people love her look off the show, too.
"She's amazing," Bertke says. "Every awards show she's gone to she just looks classic. She's got flawless style on the show."
Las Vegas (9 p.m. Mondays, Channels 5, 22.) This flashy soap, and its equally flashy clothes, is getting more attention thanks to a parade of guest stars ranging from Paris Hilton to Dennis Hopper.
"Since Molly Sims (who plays Delinda Deline) started out as a model, she has a good eye for what's up-and-coming," says Claire Wolterman, a model with Major Models in New York who hails from Colerain Township and got her start at Cincinnati's New View Management Group.
Wolterman also likes hunky Vegas star John Duhamel, formerly of All My Children and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton.
24 (9 p.m. Tuesdays, Channels 19, 45). Some think Elisha Cuthbert, who plays Kiefer Sutherland's daughter, could be a big trendsetter.
"She's really cute and she's got great fashion sense," says Maren Hartman, a senior fashion design major at the University of Cincinnati.
Bertke, however, isn't a fan of the straight, choppy haircut she has on the show.
UPN shows like All of Us (8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Channel 25) and Eve (8:30 p.m. Mondays).
Medinah Abernathy, a senior fashion design major at the University of Cincinnati, says rapper-turned-sitcom star Eve - who has her own "urban activewear" clothing line called Fetish - is a big influence in fashion right now. Abernathy also likes Lisa Raye, who plays Neesee James on All of Us.
"I don't know if that show will be as successful, but I know that she is sharp every day," Abernathy says.
The Gilmore Girls (8 p.m. Tuesdays, Channel 64). Lorelai Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham) is one of the hippest TV moms around. Jill Haney, owner of Fetish in East Hyde Park, was thrilled to see her wearing a Free People twinset - a camisole with a sweetheart neckline and a lightweight cotton cardigan - also sold in her boutique.
She also likes daughter Rory's duds."It's an updated, preppy look with a sexy twist to it," she says.
Reality shows. Since they're among the most popular shows on TV these days, it makes sense that viewers would start picking up fashion cues from them.
The Apprentice, with its cast of former unknowns, fired up a debate on short skirts in the workplace at a tone not heard since Ally McBeal.
One big trendsetter is a singer-turned-reality TV star - Jessica Simpson of MTV's Newlyweds (and wife of Cincinnati native Nick Lachey).
In one well-known instance, she helped fuel sales of the white monogram Louis Vuitton purse - and knockoffs - when she made the questionable decision to take it on a camping trip. "Young girls definitely look to her style," Bertke says.
Who will fill the style void?
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