Inside Hollywood Reporter's and Jimmy Choo's Power Stylists Dinner with Justin Timberlake, Sarah Paulson, John Legend and More
Mary J. Blige, Mahershala Ali, Dakota Johnson, James Marsden, Jonah Hill, Big Sean, Nina Dobrev and Aja Naomi King also feted their stylists during an intimate event at new The Ponte restaurant.
Sarah Paulson let out a celebratory whoop when she learned that her stylist, Karla Welch, had landed the No. 1 spot on The Hollywood Reporter's annual ranking of Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Stylists at an exclusive dinner hosted by THR and Jimmy Choo on Tuesday night at the new Italian eatery The Ponte in Los Angeles.
"I got so excited!" Paulson said of seeing Welch's top ranking. "This makes me so happy for her."
Welch was photographed for one of five covers for THR's annual stylists issue along with her clients Ruth Negga and Paulson (four other covers feature No. 21-ranked stylist Law Roach with clients Celine Dion and Zendaya; No. 6-ranked stylist Ilaria Urbinati with Tom Hiddleston; No. 7-ranked stylists Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn with clients Hailee Steinfeld and Lily Collins; and No. 3-ranked stylist Kate Young with client Michelle Williams), but the list itself remained under wraps until the dinner.
"It feels awesome!" Welch exclaimed of her No. 1 spot. "I like that I work with really talented women." The stylist spent the evening chatting with friends and another client, Busy Philipps (who wore a La Perla blazer, Carolina Herrera body suit, Givenchy pants and Adidas sneakers).
Welch said the stylish affair is one she looks forward to as she gets the opportunity to celebrate with her peers, including rising-star stylist "Erica [Cloud], who was my assistant and made the list — I'm so proud of her!"
The star-studded event, which honored the stylists whose work was rolled out on red carpets throughout awards season, brought out such stars as Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Dakota Johnson and Jonah Hill. Timberlake's date for the evening was power stylist Annie Psaltiras. "It's awesome working with Justin," she said of her longtime client. "It's very easy," Timberlake interjected, then quipped: "And, we always show up for free booze." Psaltiras, who picked out Timberlake's Tom Ford suit for the evening, raved, "I'm so happy he's here with me tonight; it really means a lot."
Said stylist Roach, who works with Zendaya and Celine Dion, of his cover debut, "I walked in and it was one of the first magazines on the bar as I passed and I literally gasped!"
Last year's No.1-ranked stylist Kate Young (No. 3) was excited to support both the new and seasoned talents who made the list. "While we were doing hair and makeup to come here, I had Dakota [Johnson]'s Met Ball sketches, and the thing I just love is the beauty of it all. I love clothes and the fanciness of the clothes that I get to work with and the way a sketch from the Met Ball comes all wrapped up — all that beauty — I love it."
Of her peers, Young added, "These people are really talented — I admire what they do, and it's an honor to be included."
Meanwhile, stylist Dave Thomas, who is behind La La Land and top music star John Legend's sleek looks, was thrilled to be a part of the list and the event: "I'm pretty low-key, but I really love doing what I do. I don't go out, but it feels amazing," Legend said of Thomas, with whom he's worked for nearly a decade: "Together we've established who I am when it comes to style and how I present myself — and Dave makes sure we execute it really well."
Said No. 10-ranked stylist Maeve Reilly (in David Koma) of client Hailey Baldwin, who wore a Sally Lapointe crop top and pants: "She hired me the day before the Oscars for a dress she needed the next day, and four days later we got on a plane and went to Paris Fashion Week. I've always had crazy first times with clients like that.... My first time with Janelle Monae she was on vocal rest and we couldn't talk to each other."
Baldwin revealed how she started working with Reilly: "I found her on Instagram!" Both Baldwin and Reilly agreed their favorite Reilly-styled look of the year was Janelle Monae's Elie Saab Haute Couture at the Oscars. Added Reilly, "That dress was a dream come true, truly."
Mary J. Blige's close friend and party companion, No.18-ranked stylist Jason Bolden, wore Armani shoes that were originally his uncle's and said of the songstress, "What's dope about Mary is that she's always wearing her own jewelry — how f—ing amazing is that?" The best part about nights like this? "It's a true moment when clothes are fun and this is fun," Bolden said.
"Next-level fabulous," said Blige of working with Bolden. "He's really taken me out of my comfort zone, without really taking me out of my comfort zone. He makes you comfortable enough to take chances."
Another stylist on the rise who hit the bash was Ade Samuel with clients Jhene Aiko and Big Sean. "I think the fact that all the people and the power machine behind Hollywood are celebrated, that's what makes [this evening] so amazing and different." Said her client Sean, "Ade has really helped me step my game up tremendously." Aiko agreed: "Ade is really good with being in tune with who you are; she's good at amplifying the sound that you already have."
Other power stylists, including No. 4-ranked Elizabeth Stewart, No. 16-ranked Jessica Paster and No. 23-ranked Tara Swennen, rubbed elbows with fellow honorees and celebs while sipping on cocktails and Prosecco before dinner.
No. 6-ranked Urbinati hung out with clients Nina Dobrev and James Marsden, having fun posing together in the interactive 3D photo booth, while others enjoyed watching Katrina S.L. Centeno-Nguyen, also known as Calligraphy Katrina to her 43.9K Instagram followers, customize Jimmy Choo swag (including gift bags with the brand's new Arrow bag for women and luxury leather goods for men) and table settings. "It's fun to get to do this with your peers, I really admire all their work," said Urbinati. "It's one night that's for us to celebrate what we do — also kind of awkward for us," she joked. Said Dobrev of working with Urbinati: "It's like hanging out with your friend, and she always makes me look and feel fabulous." The star added with a laugh, "I styled myself for almost two years before [Ilaria started styling me], and you could tell."
Prior to sitting down in the garden area of the sparkling venue (the A-list event was the first held at the new restaurant) decked out in stunning florals and candlelight to a custom dinner menu created by award-winning chef Scott Conant — including off-menu items like vegetable agnolotti and gnudi with preserved truffles — THR's style editor Carol McColgin (who hosted with THR's Booth Moore in partnership with Jimmy Choo creative director Sandra Choi) joked to those in attendance about it being a year where "political pins and ribbons as accessories almost trumped diamonds — almost." Choi toasted, "Congratulations to all of you with incredible eyes and great taste; we're here to celebrate your work."