Power Stylist Ilaria Urbinati on Finding That One Perfect Dress for Her Clients
The stylist to Shailene Woodley and Lizzy Caplan joined us for Fashion for Breakfast, presented by the Outnet, and talked about her obsession with Shonda Rhimes and romantic clothes.
Celebrity stylist Ilaria Urbinati — known for her gift of creating chic red carpet moments courtesy of collaborations with top clients like Shailene Woodley, Lizzy Caplan, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds and up-and-coming actors like Rami Malek and Anya Taylor Joy — took a turn in the hot seat at Thursday's Fashion for Breakfast event presented by The Outnet with Pret-a-Reporter.
And, as expected, the new mother, who was born in Rome and raised in Paris, made the seat her own thanks to her effortlessly cool charm as a packed crowd of fashionistas gathered inside to Cecconi's in West Hollywood. The ladies got to hear her take on the latest trends and take a peek inside her glamorous life of gowns, guys and Grey's Anatomy (she's seriously obsessed with Shonda Rhimes, but more on that later.)
Here's a peek at the Fashion for Breakfast conversation.
Pret-a-Reporter: What do you think is the biggest misconception about stylists?
Ilaria Urbinati: That we’re all vapid, dumb, clothes-obsessed idiots. It’s quite the opposite. Most of the stylists I know we’re all friends, too — Karla Welch, Wendi and Nicole (Ferreira) and Sam(antha McMillen). I find them to be such amazing, inspiring cool ladies. Karla Welch is so rad and cool and smart. Wendi and Nicole are such lovely humans and so is Sam. They are such good moms. I look up to them.
I love the collage you posted at the first of the year, looking back at your favorite red carpet looks from 2015 that you styled. Among them are Lizzy Caplan in Valentino, Ginnifer Goodwin in Suno, Krysten Ritter in Mugler and Nina Dobrev in Zuhair Murad, and others (see Instagram photo). I know it’s hard to pick a favorite, but is there one that stands out?
They are all amazing. For me, the Met Ball look — Lizzy Caplan in Donna Karan Atelier — I’ve worked with Donna Karan a lot through the years and I like working with her because it’s such a collaborative thing. I can tell them what I’m thinking and send reference images and they will send sketches back and forth; it’s collaborative. We did it the year before with Nina. It’s a really fun process and you don’t get to do that very often with a designer. Plus, I feel like the theme was China and it was a nice homage without being over the top. The Nina look is pretty cool because I was terrified to put her in it. I thought people would think I was crazy. The Anya Taylor Joy one is fun too. That’s our first time working together and she’s wearing Prada. It’s so rare when you get a girl who is up-and-coming and designers like Prada, Chanel or Gucci get on board. That’s very, very rare. I love Shailene’s dress. It’s very her, too. It’s so beautiful. I can talk about them all. They’re all my children.
Some of my favorite 2015 looks I had the honor of styling this year: Lizzy Caplan in @MaisonValentino, Ginnifer Goodwin in @Suno, @AnyaTaylorJoy in @Prada, Shailene Woodley in @EmiliaWickstead, @NinaDobrev in @zuhairmuradofficial, Lizzy Caplan in @DonnaKaran Atelier for the Met Ball, @LauraDern in custom @AlbertaFerretti for the Oscars, and @TheRealKrystenRitter in @MuglerOfficial
Speaking of children, you have male and female children, or clients. What’s the difference between styling men versus women?
It’s quite different. People assume that styling men is less work, but it’s not. You’re dealing with a lot less politics with men. With women, it’s all about everyone trying to get their hands on that same one dress, but only one person can wear it. And there are politics from the designer over who they want to dress and who they don’t. With men, you don’t deal with that. It’s much more about actual taste. What also makes men harder is that there is a preciseness and perfection level that comes with menswear. There are more rules. If a guy’s sleeve is off by a ¼ inch, the whole look is ruined — at least in my eyes. With women, it’s not quite so precise. That makes it harder. I’ve definitely had event days when I’m retrying the tailoring two hours before a guy has to go to the Oscars. That doesn’t happen as much with women, in my experience. And the other difference is that women want to keep trying on clothes all day and men are like, 'how quickly can we get through this?' With men, I play mommy a little more and I get to be bossier and bitchier. I can’t say, 'Shut up and wear it,' to a woman.
Some of my fave 2015 men's looks I had the honor of styling: @MichieHuisman in @CalvinKlein & @HaspelClothing, @ArmieHammer in custom @ZegnaOfficial, Ben Affleck in custom @Gucci, @James_Marsden for the met ball in Zegna, ChrisEvans in custom Gucci, @JoelEdgerton in @Ferragamo, Bradley Cooper in @DolceGabbana, Theo James in Dolce Gabanna
Any standouts yet from the recent shows?
There are still so many yet to come. I really love Altuzarra. They are always one of my favorites. They did this gypsy thing that I really liked. Proenza Schouler just happened and they are always really cool. Couture wise, I always love Valentino. If I could only use one designer for the rest of my life, it would be Valentino. I’m obsessed with them. I like how romantic it is. I like romantic clothes.
Where do you think that comes from?
Probably because I grew up as, like, a crazy bookworm and I always read novels. I got swept up into it. My romantic side definitely comes from that. I started out in wardrobe, too, so that’s the costume drama side of me, not that I ever styled a costume drama. That takes a different skill set. I’m just a big fan of movies and books in general. That’s where I get all my inspiration from.
Speaking of, what performances from the current awards season do you love?
I could talk movies all day. (Leonardo) DiCaprio in The Revenant is amazing. He is in that river. It’s really him and I know that’s not what makes a good performance but he was really in it, and it’s about time he gets an Oscar already. Everything he does — for the world — is amazing. I really was disappointed that Michael B. Jordan didn’t get nominated for Creed. Not to get into the political game of the Oscars, but I think he was so amazing. It was one of my favorite movies of the year. I would’ve liked to have seen my client Joel Edgerton nominated for Black Mass. He nailed it.
You said you’re a bookworm. Are you reading anything now?
Yes (laughs). It’s not very intellectual. I’m reading Shonda Rhimes' book, The Year of Yes. That’s why I’m here. When you have a newborn, it’s not easy to get in a lot of reading time and that book is easy. Plus, I’m like a Shonda devotee. (Speaks into the tape recorder: 'Shonda, I love you. Call me!') I love her and am obsessed. I’m a Grey’s Anatomy psycho — I’m on another level of fanhood with that show. She’s the most inspiring person. I’m dying to meet her. I tag her in all of my Shonda posts hoping she will notice me.