How Celebrities Really Find Their Red Carpet Dresses. Straight from the stylists of Zendaya, Kristen Stewart, Cara Delevingne, and more.
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They don’t get to keep their dress for long.
You might think that the dress you accepted your Oscar in would be one of your most treasured possessions, but actresses rarely get to keep their gowns. “Usually they want it back the next day. You might have the dress for a 48 hour window if you’re very lucky,” Tara explains. “Usually when I leave my client at the party ‘I’m like what time can I come in the morning and get my diamonds back? You get a lie in only until I come grab my dress.’ It’s a very quick turn around, but every once in a while on the big red carpets they get to keep it or donate it to charity.”
They have to be honest.
It is a stylist’s job to make sure their client looks at their best – it’s better hearing it from them than on Fashion Police. Tara says, “I have no bluff face so my clients know immediately if I hate it. Truly what we do is very psychological in nature – you’re dealing with people with insecurities getting in front of the public eye and they are very aware their image can be targeted. I’m very honest in fittings. If they are taking a risk, like wearing feathers or a yellow dress, I might say: ‘You might get targeted for this and it might end up on Fashion Police. I applaud you for trying it if you want to do it, but don’t be scared if they compare you to Big Bird.’”
They sometimes have to handle being turned into a meme.
It’s not just the worst dressed lists that you have to think about in 2016 — now dresses are turned into viral memes in minutes. “Vogue actually reposted a meme of Zendaya at the Golden Globes looking like the flamenco emoji,” Law tells us. “I thought it was funny and even funnier that Vogue posted it. That might have been devastating for someone else that Vogue made their client into a meme. But I was like ‘haha she kind of did’ but she’s also on loads of best dressed lists, so you can’t take these things too seriously.” He says of dealing with the thousands of live comments: “Minutes after the first picture is taken you have a lot of opinions and comments so that’s hard, because we’re human and we want people to like and appreciate what we do and you don’t want negativity that will hurt your client’s feelings. The stress is there from the beginning to the end.”
They don’t always want to be in the spotlight.
“There are the stylists that like being on the red carpet and the stylists that like being behind the scenes,” Tara explains. “We’re like the secret, but now with television shows and books and endorsement deals we’re being thrust in front of the camera. Generally speaking it’s a slippery slope and we’re meant to be invisible. We want our clients to go out and look effortless, so most of us shy away from going on the red carpet because we want it to look like they just stepped out of the car.”
Fittings can be like mini-parties (especially when Cara, Kendall and Taylor are involved!).
“These women have very busy schedules and to throw this into it can be an added stress,” Tara says. “Every time they walk out they are exposing themselves so they look to us with a very strong trust. So we try and make the fittings like a mini party.” Manny says he has had fittings in hotel rooms, in a car, and once with Jourdan Dunn in a really small toilet. A fitting with Cara Delevingne can quickly turn into a party with her whole squad. “It’s not uncommon to have fittings go on for over four hours, so it’s important to have good energy. One of my most fun fittings was with Cara Delevingne for the Elle Style Awards and Brit Awards last year. We were in this massive suite in Claridge’s with Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift, Jourdan Dunn and her son Riley who was serenading them with ‘Everything is Awesome’ from the Lego Movie. It ended up being a party with clothes everywhere!”
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They deal with brand partnerships.
These days, many actresses have contracts with houses (hello, Jennifer Lawrence in Dior). Tara explains how this can work with fittings. “You want to honor it and they always tend to be one of the first shout outs. Kristen is usually at the Chanel shows and I’m sat with her like ‘That one! That one! That one!’ and then we tell the Chanel team immediately after the show the ones we want to reserve,” she says. “I’ll always make sure I have Chanel at all of Kirsten’s fittings. And then also include brands that have been supportive of her and new brands to keep her growing.”
They have to be careful of last minute mishaps.
In 2013, Anne Hathaway had to find a new Oscars dress just 24 hours. Before the red carpet because she discovered that Amanda Seyfried was wearing a very similar dress. Anne said at the time, “It came to my attention late Saturday night that there would be a dress worn to the Oscars that is remarkably similar to the Valentino I had intended to wear, and so I decided it was best for all involved to change my plans.” Do stylists speak to each other to prevent these mix-ups? Tara says, “I work with Julie Bowen who is the mother on Modern Family. And it’s a running joke that Julie and Sofia Vergara are constantly texting each other from fittings. So we know what she is wearing before the rest of the world so they don’t walk in in same color or designer.”
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