The Hollywood Reporter presents its second annual ranking of the industry's most powerful stylists.
Every actress worth her weight in Swarovski crystal knows: An agent procures the best roles, her publicist promotes them. But the real magic happens behind the scenes, where the right stylist can turn a star into watercooler Topic A (hey, Angelina’s right leg, hope you sent stylist Jen Rade flowers). But it’s not just buzz that Hollywood’s loveliest ladies seek: A stylist can help cinch a magazine cover, win their client beauty and fashion contracts or even an actress’ next role.
Veteran stylist Deb Waknin (No. 9) enabled Sofia Vergara to skyrocket from TV actress to Golden Globes goddess in a midnight-blue Vera Wang strapless hourglass gown. Hailee Steinfeld won a Miu Miu contract after Kemal Harris and Karla Welch (No. 5) styled her as a fresh fashion force throughout 2011’s awards season. Petra Flannery (No. 3) was a major catalyst behind two prestigious contracts: client Emma Stone for Revlon and Mila Kunis for Dior. And in Octavia Spencer’s next film, the untitled Diablo Cody feature, she plays a Las Vegas casino dealer — hypothetically a full-glamour step up from the maid role for which she won an Oscar; perhaps epitomizing womanly chic on the red carpet in the draped Tadashi Shoji gowns chosen by stylists Wendi and Nicole Ferreira (No. 19) had something to do with it.
The power of the stylist doesn’t just work on celebrities; fashion brands themselves can become major beneficiaries: Leith Clark (No. 16) broke out unknown designer Mary Katrantzou by dressing client Keira Knightley in one of her wildly mixed silk prints at the Venice Film Festival, causing the “Keira dress” to sell out at Net-a-porter.com.
“The most creative stylists,” says Mitch Grossbach, who heads up CAA’s new fashion division, “are those who can impact a designer’s business with just one look.” Stylists can also become business stars on their own. Rachel Zoe (see page 66), America’s most famous stylist, now presides over a multimedia empire; No. 12 L’Wren Scott’s luxury clothing and accessories label is worn by luminaries like Michelle Obama.
And that’s just the ruffles on the gown: During awards season, in-demand stylists pull down anywhere from high-three-figures a day, picked up by studios’ promo budgets, to Zoe’s rumored $10,000-a-day fee, and their bread and butter comes from commercial work, which can pay an average of $1,500 to $5,000 a day for a minimum of three days (some star stylists earn much more).
Now, after careful evaluation of clients, visibility during awards season and breadth of influence and business, THR presents its second annual ranking of Hollywood’s most powerful stylists.
How do you make a pregnant actress look chic time after time? In 2011, the stylist did just that for longtime client Portman, who was expecting during her Black Swan run-up to a best actress Oscar. Remember the actress’ stunning red-rose-on-pink Viktor & Rolf gown at the Globes? So did Williams, who chose Young to expunge memories of her disastrous daisy gown at the 2011 Golden Globes. Young’s selections — an orange silk-and-organza Louis Vuitton for Oscar night; a dramatic petal-pink Dior couture gown at My Week With Marilyn’s Paris premiere; a custom midnight-blue long-sleeve gown by Jason Wu at the Globes — reflect Williams’ more Audrey-gamine personal style than her va-voom Marilyn role.
Of the Globes’ selection, for which Young collaborated with Wu, she says, “In Hollywood, there’s so much bright and tight at the Globes, I thought Michelle could be more subtle and refined, and that might get her a little attention.” An Oxford graduate with degrees in English and art history and a former assistant to Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, the Pennsylvania-born Young met Jennifer Connelly and Julianna Margulies on magazine shoots in the mid-’90s and started dressing them.
She’s now the only stylist represented by CAA, which signed her in 2011 when it launched its fashion division and procured for her styling deals with Macy’s in-house INC label, Dom Perignon, Absolut vodka and Guerlain fragrances. Young, says agent Mitch Grossbach, who heads the division, possesses “fashion acumen, sophistication and taste, coupled with her humility and infectious personality, which all contribute to brilliant results.”
She just finished her fifth Dior ad campaign with Portman — which doesn’t take away from her stock in trade: “Rachel Weisz has Deep Blue Sea coming out, so next I’ll do a round of fittings with her.”
Fremar forges relationships of total trust with her clients.
“All I said to Leslie was, ‘I want to do something soft,’ ” says Theron about the Dior couture pink flapper gown Fremar chose for her for the Globes. “Leslie knows where she wants to go with something, and I like that specificity. She has a great eye, makes quick decisions, knows my body and what I like and has access to the best stuff,” adds the star, who had memorable moments at the BAFTA tea in a ladylike yellow Stella McCartney sheath and at the Critics’ Choice Awards in a black Azzedine Alaia gown with cascading ruffles.
Like Young, Fremar began her career assisting Vogue’s Wintour; she later worked for the magazine’s fashion director, Tonne Goodman. “They started putting celebrities on their covers in 2003,” says Fremar, a Toronto native based in New York. “I liked that unlike models, actresses had opinions and cared about fit. There was a lot of interaction, and you had to figure out the puzzle.”
Fremar followed her publishing gig by working VIP relations for Prada but quit after a year when the call came to provide red-carpet looks for Salma Hayek, then to be a judge at the Cannes Film Festival.
She recently launched a Fruit of the Loom collection at Bloomingdale’s for people tired of spending big bucks on staples. “I’d buy something by The Row and be like, ‘I’m gonna dry-clean my T-shirt?’ ” she jokes. Fremar will style Theron for appearances surrounding Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman and new client Johansson for The Avengers.
The go-to stylist for Hollywood’s young trendsetters, Flannery likes to take risks, which boost her clients’ visibility from up-and-coming to have-arrived. She did it for Stone at the 2011 Golden Globes when she complemented her platinum locks for The Amazing Spider-Man with a peach fitted Calvin Klein gown (“the first dress ever designed just for me,” says Stone).
Flannery’s favorite recent moment: the plunging wine-colored chiffon custom Lanvin that Stone wore with an eagle belt to the Globes. “Much like her personality, Emma is very fun and quick-witted with fashion,” says Flannery.
The stylist put Saldana on the fashion map at the 2010 Oscars with a purple ombre, frothy-trained Givenchy; the actress then wowed at the SAGs in a white Givenchy beaded couture dress worn over a simple tank.
“Zoe’s a fashion girl — we’ll look at something amazing and think, ‘You might be the only person who can pull that off,’ ” adds Flannery, who first apprenticed under Hill’s stylist, Andrea Lieberman, and inherited the country singer as a client when Lieberman left to start her own collection, A.L.C. Flannery, who designed a jeans collection for Genetic Denim, is styling Hill’s looks for her Australian tour and prepping Stone for 11 Spider-Man premieres. Says Stone, “You’re gonna be seeing some serious Petra Flannery busted out!”
One of the busiest stylists this awards season, Stewart dressed The Help nominees Chastain and Davis in different yet classical styles; straight-up red-carpet glamour is her trademark.
“I like working with Elizabeth because she sees everyone as individuals and doesn’t try to force me into something I’m not,” says Chastain. Her black Alexander McQueen gown with gold beading and train at the Oscars was a “larger-than-life dress for a larger-than-life moment,” says Stewart.
A former stylist for The New York Times Magazine and a Women’s Wear Daily writer who worked on the W Europe magazine startup, Stewart “ended up styling the covers and loved it.” She also styled an eco-collection for H&M, from which she pulled a suit for Seyfried for London’s In Time premiere in 2011.
The Canada-born pair — Harris now lives in New York, Welch in L.A. — created one of Oscar night’s most talked-about moments with Keibler’s gold Marchesa gown, an example of how style can help put a personality on the map (dating George Clooney doesn’t hurt, either).
Harris and Welch made quirky New Girl’s Deschanel turn heads in neon-green Prada at the Globes, as they did for last year’s red-carpet darling Steinfeld with her age-appropriate but fashion-forward Rodarte and Miu Miu looks.
The stylists also are famous for attention-getting accessories. For Wilde’s appearance at Vanity Fair’s post-Oscar party, the duo put the actress in a black Gucci strapless gown and added Van Cleef & Arpels jewels.
“The dress was so simple, but the vintage jewelry made it like sex,” says Welch. “I was like, ‘Let’s just go for ’70s Gucci sex — refined but hot.’ ”
Of course there was the leg, but Jolie’s black Oscar gown with the high slit by Atelier Versace on its own epitomized smokin’ hot. In fact, any time the female half of Hollywood’s hottest couple graces the red carpet, it’s a fashion moment. That’s partly because of Rade’s dramatically glamorous taste.
Witness Jolie’s Globes gown — an ice-white satin column, also Atelier Versace, with a slash of red matching her lips, and nothing else except Lorraine Schwartz’s 25-carat diamond studs.
“Stylists without great dresses have nothing,” says Rade, who chooses to stay mum on leg-gate. “This whole business is about having good relationships, being respectful — I do returns quickly.”
Rade cut her teeth styling videos for Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur, then commercials like the first iPod TV ad. She also has been a Project Runway guest judge. Her latest gigs: styling Smash’s McPhee, whom she put in a strapless nude Donna Karan for the Globes, and continuing to consult on designer Rena Lange’s collection.
This twentysomething New Yorker avoids the spotlight like the plague (he declined comment for this feature). Perhaps it’s because he likes his clients to shine — which they do: Hastings has turned Mara into fashion’s “It” girl of the moment, in elegantly severe black or white Givenchy, Prabal Gurung and Nina Ricci with punky cutouts that make her a standout among the often saccharine hues and prom dresses of awards season.
“I have a hand in choosing the clothes,” says Mara. “I’m not the woman who’s a doll — I want to represent who I really am.”
Hastings plays up Wasikowska’s modern-day ingenue vibe with Miu Miu and Rodarte, taking her from being a relative unknown to having a recognizable fashion identity.
His background in magazine editorial, from GQ to Vanity Fair, and styling ads for Marc by Marc Jacobs makes him a respected favorite among designers and, regardless of his media phobia, something of an “It” boy himself.
Exhibiting the same ease in dressing women as with some of Hollywood’s most dashing men, the styling veteran has the ability to create a striking moment while retaining her fashion edge.
Who can forget the sharp silhouette Firth cut in his slim Tom Ford tux at last year’s Oscars? Other clients who wear suits like nobody’s business: Reynolds and Depp, with his personalized touches of colorful vests, derby hats and ascots.
McMillen, who handled VIP relations for Richard Tyler and Giorgio Armani during the ’90s, dressed Mulligan in a killer rose-hued ombre fringe Lanvin dress for December’s National Board of Review Awards in New York.
“One of my favorite recent looks was Evan Rachel Wood in Alessandra Rich,” she says, about the white shantung shirtdress gown that transformed The Ides of March actress into a contemporary Betty Draper at the Venice Film Festival in the fall.
About a year ago, Vergara’s team was on the hunt for someone who could confidently dress her voluptuous figure. Enter Waknin: “I do curvy women really well. I like women with women’s bodies. Most stylists don’t know how to deal with curves.”
Waknin put Vergara in a one-shoulder coral Vera Wang at the Emmys, a draped raspberry Marchesa at the SAGs and a showstopping midnight-blue Vera Wang fishtail gown at the Golden Globes. “That was a big, big hit for us,” says Waknin.
A former stylist for Maybelline, Apple, Revlon and Hanes TV commercials, Waknin segued into red-carpet styling with Eric Bana and Kevin Spacey. With her female clients, she’s known for her fit, starting with Berry’s iconic lavender Valentino dress in 1996 and most recently with Bullock’s Oscar gown, a blouse-top, sheath-bottom Marchesa.
A pro for 17 years, the bicoastal Ehrlich styled commercials, movie posters and movie ads before showcasing her signature clean, timeless aesthetic on the red carpet.
Cruz’s Grace Kelly-esque Armani Prive gray-blue dress paired with a diamond-wreath Chopard necklace for the Oscars is classic Ehrlich, as was Fey’s custom royal-blue peplum Oscar gown by Carolina Herrera.
But Ehrlich can break out of the elegance mode for newer clients like The Rum Diary’s Heard, whom she put in body-conscious Zac Posen and Roland Mouret during awards season, and Ashley Greene, whom she draped in a sexy red Narciso Rodriguez for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1’s Toronto premiere.
“For women like Tina and Julianna, who have walked the red carpet multiple times, it’s about getting them excited,” says Ehrlich. “For girls who are newer, it’s about finding a slammin’ dress.”
Yang met her No. 1 female client, Holmes, while styling a Batman Begins photo shoot; dressing Cruise for Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol appearances naturally followed. (Yang will work with Bale for the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.)
“Jeanne doesn’t scrimp on the little things — it’s those details, like a leather collar on a delicate dress, that make the look work,” says Holmes, who is also Yang’s design partner for their Holmes & Yang luxury sportswear collection, sold exclusively at Barneys New York. “We both love to do research, do vintage shopping together, rip pages out of magazines and swap ideas,” Holmes says about their inspirations for the red carpet and their label. “It’s completely collaborative,” adds Yang.
Holmes often steps out in their pieces, such as a tiered navy Swiss-dot dress with a sheer-top panel at the Ghost Protocol premiere in New York. But they also love looks by Azzedine Alaia, Tom Ford and Calvin Klein (Holmes wore a Calvin Klein sleek royal-blue dress to the Emmys).
“We never take ourselves too seriously — we have so much fun in fittings,” says Yang. Chimes in Holmes, “Unless it’s a fat day.”
WHY SHE MATTERS
Mick Jagger’s Utah-born significant other has styled leading ladies from the late Elizabeth Taylor to Julianne Moore to Sarah Jessica Parker during her two-decade-plus career. And despite transitioning to full-time fashion design, she maintains one A-list client -- hey, if you’ve got Nicole Kidman, who else do you need?
HER TOP LOOK
Scott put the Paperboy nominee in midnight-blue Vivienne Westwood Couture with bright green Fred Leighton drop earrings for the SAG Awards. She dressed Kidman in one of her own designs, a slinky black-and-gold sequin gown, for Oscar night.
BEYOND THE RED CARPET
Scott coordinated Jagger’s wardrobe for The Rolling Stones’ 50 and Counting tour. Her ultra-feminine clothing line, a favorite of Michelle Obama and SJP, continues to expand with eyewear, handbags and a limited-edition fragrance, L’Wren Scott, which is exclusive to Barneys New York.
The hip duo, who has worked on music videos for Rihanna, Jay Z and Kanye West, styles Lopez for all three of her personas: red-carpet style icon, pop singer/dancer in music videos and American Idol judge.
J.Lo rocked two separate and indelible Oscar looks in one night: a Deco-style beaded nude gown by Zuhair Murad, which she wore as a presenter (whether she was, ahem, a little too revealing is still up for debate; regardless, the controversy catapulted the stylists into the national conversation); and a plunging burgundy sequined gown, also by Murad, for the Vanity Fair postshow party.
Zangardi and Haenn had a high-impact outing in Cannes, where they dressed McAdams in a red silk organza Marchesa with invisible sleeves (except for their long, trailing red-lace trim) at the Midnight in Paris premiere and a white Maxime Simoens dress with floral accents for a photocall.
Recently, the pair put Mirror Mirror actress Collins in an embroidered nude tulle ball gown for the Vanity Fair party, but Zangardi says: “Red carpet is a small percentage of what we do. We work on commercials, ad campaigns, editorial and videos. We’re also working on a jewelry line we’re really excited about.”
London-based Saltzman got her start working at Giorgio Armani in 1985, went on to style shoots at American Vogue and Vanity Fair (where she’s still a contributing editor) and has been dressing VIP client Paltrow for the past several years.
“An Oscar dress is about style, elegance and comfort,” says Saltzman. Paltrow’s flawless ivory Tom Ford cap-sleeve dress with matching cape at the Oscars, the night’s best look according to some fashion critics, possessed all those qualities.
“Tom Ford designed a masterpiece for G.P. — the Anna Hu diamond cuff rocked the look to perfection, and I wish I could buy the amazing double-finger flower ring,” says Saltzman. “Actually, I wish I could buy the body to rock the whole look.”
Saltzman loves putting the svelte, yoga-toned actress in plunging necklines and leggy minidresses. Paltrow wore a black Stella McCartney gown with cutout details to the Grammys, a sheer Emilio Pucci midriff-baring top and skirt to the Emmys and a daring green sequined Elie Saab dress with a revealing neckline at the Bambi awards in Germany.
A little more demure but every bit as head-turning was the nude backless Prada gown with a big bow at the Contagion premiere in Venice. “I don’t play games,” says Saltzman. “I usually only pick three dresses to choose from, so I don’t waste the designer’s time or mine.”
British stylist Coulter studied at Central St. Martins and launched her own menswear line, AKA (now defunct), right out of school. She came to Los Angeles on a whim about 10 years ago and ended up styling a photo shoot for Flaunt magazine with Orlando Bloom (she was friends with him in London before he became famous).
Now fashion girls Bosworth, Miller and Huntington-Whiteley look to Coulter to rock their red-carpet style. Says Huntington-Whiteley: “I was looking for a stylist to help with my Transformers press tour last summer, and I asked my publicist, ‘Who styles Kate Bosworth?’ because I’ve always admired her style.”
The model-turned-actress was at first put off by Coulter’s first name (“Sooo L.A. sounding!”), but after the stylist made a house call, the Brits hit it off. “It was like … she’s English, she’s hired,” jokes Huntington-Whiteley. Coulter describes the Transformers actress’ red-carpet style as “straight-up cool, classic and sexy.”
A few of their stellar moments include a shimmery va-va-voom red Antonio Berardi dress at the film’s New York premiere (“It ended up being a bit of a Jessica Rabbit moment,” says Huntington-Whiteley) and another red Berardi, this one a knockout cap-sleeve fitted column, at the post-Oscar Vanity Fair party.
Coulter also co-designs, with Bosworth, a jewelry collection for online style site JewelMint. For breakout indie actress Olsen, Coulter put together chic, young Chanel, Chloe and Balmain looks during awards season and dressed her in a sunshine-yellow, graphically beaded long-sleeve minidress by Emilio Pucci at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
“A great awards-season dress is one that you look back at 10 years later and think it’s a ‘wow’ dress,” says Coulter. “It stands the test of time.”
The London-based Canadian stylist has worked with Knightley for several awards seasons and on the actress’ Chanel ad campaigns; she’s also the editor of British indie fashion magazine Lula, which she founded in 2006.
Clark’s standout moment was when Knightley arrived at the Venice Film Festival for A Dangerous Method’s photocall in a bold and colorful printed silk dress by unknown designer Mary Katrantzou, paired with nude pumps and a sleek bobbed ’do. Suddenly, everyone was asking, “Mary Katran-who?!”
Clark’s trendsetting discovery proved that a stylist’s selection can move product: The “Keira” dress quickly sold out on Net-a-porter.com, and Barneys New York can’t keep Katrantzou spring dresses in stock. Clark’s other noteworthy looks include Knightley’s Valentino Couture golden lace gown in Venice and Melancholia actress Dunst’s paisley bustier dress by Honor at the film’s London premiere. Clark is also working on a Nina Ricci perfume ad and a capsule collection for Wren.
A seasoned professional with more than 15 years of experience styling editorial shoots, ads and red-carpet looks, Paster knows how to not waste time. “After a while, you know your client so well that when you see a dress, you know right away that it’s a ‘her’ dress,” she says.
Client Blunt (Paster also styles the actress’ hubby, John Krasinski) is a maximum-impact dresser, from her vivid green single-shoulder Oscar de la Renta gown at the SAG Awards to her gorgeous navy embroidered sequin and tulle Elie Saab gown at the Emmys. True to her high-octane tactics, Paster dressed Bridesmaids’ Ellie Kemper in a bold paillette-encrusted Armani Prive coppery-red gown on Oscar night.
At this year’s SAGs, Byrne took a big risk — a Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface-inspired white Elie Saab Couture jumpsuit — and wowed fashion critics. “I love that jumpsuit!” says Lovell. “It’s been on our radar for a while — Rose tried it on two years ago for the Emmys, but we went with Valentino. She called me and said she felt like wearing pants, so I called the same jumpsuit back in.” Stepping out in something other than a dress took some girding, but it was worth it for the visibility.
“It was a little nerve-racking because it’s not what you’d normally see, but we were prepared for the fact that some people might not like it,” says Lovell. Byrne, who notes that the look complemented her blunt bangs and face-framing bob, also based her distinctive Oscar dress — a black single-shoulder Vivienne Westwood gown — on her hairstyle: “This hair is very ’20s, and it sort of dictates what you wear.”
Says Lovell of the Oscars look, “It was a different dress when I first saw it, much more voluminous, but they worked with me to narrow it a lot.” Lovell took into account that Byrne was attending the ceremony with her Bridesmaids co-stars: “If you’re in an ensemble cast, you shouldn’t wear an enormous dress, and Rose is respectful of that.” Lovell worked in PR for John Frieda, Burberry and Max Mara and assisted on editorial shoots, which led to styling. She works primarily with the Bridesmaids actress (they’ve been together for three years) and Goodwin, who loves such edgy labels as Roksanda Ilincic, Peter Som and 3.1 Phillip Lim.
If Spencer dominated this awards season as a nominee presence, a lot of the credit goes to the California-native Ferreira sisters, working closely with designer Tadashi Shoji to dream up looks for The Help star, who stuck with his flattering dresses all the way to her big Oscar win for best supporting actress. Spencer’s standouts included an elegant custom hand-beaded ivory silk-tulle gown with cap sleeves on Oscar night, a bright-blue draped jersey dress at the NAACP Image Awards and a lavender chiffon draped V-neck gown with a touch of sparkle for the Golden Globes.
“The buzz around Octavia and the positive attention she garnered, especially not being a size zero, is incredible,” says Wendi. Adds Nicole: “The best moment for us was the Oscars — it was the grand finale, and what better way to end than to see Octavia win and look so beautiful.”
Up next for the Ferreiras: styling Banks and Hutcherson for The Hunger Games media blitz.
In the past year, Rachel Zoe’s former assistant starred on his own Bravo reality show, It’s a Brad, Brad World, penned his memoir Born to Be Brad, became Kate Spade’s brand stylist and continued to build his client base.
Alba, his first (and, for a while, only) client, dazzled in a strapless metallic Gucci dress at the Warner Bros./InStyle Golden Globes bash, while Jones had back-to-back hits with a leaf-print silk ombre Oscar de la Renta dress at the Independent Spirit Awards, plus an attention-grabbing yellow V-neck Elie Saab gown with lace accents at the Vanity Fair party.
Goreski recently landed as clients Up All Night’s Rudolph — who shone at the Oscars in a plum-hued gown with crystal embroidery by Johanna Johnson — and Moore, whom he met while working for Zoe, whose path he seems to be following to a T.
Chavez began her career working in the wardrobe department of The O.C., where she met loyal client Bilson (Hart of Dixie), for whom she later helped craft a girly hipster look.
“We shared a very similar love for fashion,” says Chavez, who recalls dressing her young clients in Derek Lam and Brian Reyes, who were up-and-coming designers eight years ago. “New talent breeds new talent. Rachel introduced me to Kristen Bell, and that was when I really felt legitimate,” she says.
Recent hits for the stylist: Bilson stepping out in a silver Chanel dress with metallic floral applique and a cool cropped motorcycle jacket for a pre-Oscar dinner hosted by the label, and Bell wearing a red lace Valentino top with a matching leather skirt at the People’s Choice Awards.
Chavez’s favorite look this year was Heigl’s red Herve L. Leroux dress at January’s One for the Money premiere in New York. Says Chavez, who was then very pregnant (she and her husband, UTA agent Kevin Volchok, welcomed son Zev on Feb. 6): “I was just hoping I wasn’t going to go into labor in the middle of the press tour.”
Crazy chic” is one way to describe Wujek’s sensibility. The stylist has carved out an unexpected niche contrasting radical hair colors with high-fashion labels, from Perry’s rock ’n’ roll blue ’do topping a lighter blue, delicately beaded Elie Saab couture gown at the Grammys, to Minaj’s pink hair setting off an emerald silk taffeta Oscar de la Renta ball gown at the AMAs.
Wujek has developed great relationships with Miu Miu, Yves Saint Laurent, Viktor & Rolf, Balmain and Roland Mouret but is equally enthusiastic about promoting an unusual item, like the CuteCircuit pale-pink-and-white light-up dress worn by Perry at last year’s Met Costume Institute gala.
“It made the cover of Women’s Wear Daily the next morning, which was exciting,” says Wujek, who worked as an intern on the 2003 indie feature Wonderland and assisted styling on commercials and music videos. The stylist, with his brand of surprising glamour, never takes away from his clients’ kooky personas — only enhances them.
Kotsiopoulos styles nearly as many red-carpet moments as he commentates on as one of four regular critics on E!’s Fashion Police. His styling highlights include dressing supporting actress Oscar nominee Albert Nobbs’ McTeer in a custom draped garnet chiffon David Meister Signature evening gown for the Oscars and putting British blonde beauty Eve, who starred in She’s Out of My League and next appears in Men in Black III and the Star Trek sequel, in a ’70s vintage YSL animal print one-shoulder gown at the 2012 Art of Elysium gala.
At his first styling job assisting Elizabeth Stewart (No. 4), Kotsiopoulos witnessed Freida Pinto’s Slumdog Millionaire breakout moment, when she wore an electric-blue, beaded one-shouldered John Galliano to the Oscars. It made an impression — he still prefers red-carpet surprises, and gives high marks to Paltrow’s caped crusader Tom Ford ensemble at the Oscars, and to Theron’s flapper look at the Globes, which he pronounces “unique and styled incredibly.” Ultimately, however, Kotsiopoulos’ attitude toward his day job is irreverent: “It is shows like Fashion Police that make actresses scared to take risks, but who really cares what we say about you?”
Phillips focuses most of her attention on her A-list client, who directed the Wallis Simpson biopic W.E., for which the stylist designed the costumes and landed a best costume design Oscar nomination. (She also was nominated for best costume design for 2006’s Walk the Line.)
For Phillips, her greatest style moment was a baby-blue Vionnet gown with red-beaded butterfly embellishments that the singer-director wore to the W.E. screening at the Venice Film Festival. “At the last minute, I had her wear these great red-glitter Miu Miu sunglasses, which added fun energy to the beautifully glamorous dress,” says Phillips.
Another hit was Madonna’s fitted-bodice Reem Acra gown with a deep-green embroidered skirt, which she wore to the Globes with black leather gloves and a diamond-cross pendant. Phillips developed her sense of the theatrical from “working in New York as an assistant, during which time I met Lenny Kravitz through mutual friends,” she says. “He was recording his first album, so I started styling him.”
One of Phillips’ more thrilling experiences was dominating a news cycle for putting Courtney Love in a “homeless” dress from the Dior couture 2000 collection: “I took one look at that dress on the runway and knew only Courtney could pull off deconstructed rock ’n’ roll couture. It was a great moment because the collection was so controversial.” Phillips is designing Madonna’s 2012 world tour costumes.
A former retail buyer and current co-owner of L.A.’s hip boutique Confederacy, Urbinati also has styled the second season of Showtime’s The L Word.
Her looks made splashes for The Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev, who wore a red Donna Karan hourglass gown to the Emmys that propelled her from CW teen star to fashion plate, and Bradley Cooper, who cut a sharp figure at the Oscars in a navy shawl-lapel Tom Ford tux (his mustache got less favorable reviews).
“A perfect fit. Strong color or structure. The wow factor” — these are on Urbinati’s checklist, and for this power-list newcomer, they’re absolutely getting done.