Kelly Hurliman

"Unlike a lot of stylists working with new clients, I'm not creating an image -- [Oprah] has done that for herself,"

Oprah Winfrey


One word: Oprah.


Oprah Winfrey

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The native of Chicago, where she resides with her husband and two boys, spent her junior year of college as an intern at Isaac Mizrahi and Barneys New York studio services in New York. “I was instantly hooked,” says Hurliman of the fashion world. While freelancing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she landed a coveted position on Winfrey’s personal glam team in 2003. “Unlike a lot of stylists working with new clients, I’m not creating an image — she’s done that for herself,” says Hurliman. As such, little time is wasted on fittings: “Oprah has great taste and knows what she likes,” says Hurliman.


Hurliman travels often (“Oprah is never in one place for long,” she says) but even more so this year with awards-season appearances for Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Winfrey wore a custom Bordeaux lace and satin Stella McCartney gown to the BAFTAs and a draped purple Badgley Mischka dress to the SAG Awards. “It was an off-the-rack sleeveless gown that I added sleeves to and a jeweled Oscar de la Renta pin from the Oprah Winfrey Show days,” says Hurliman. The most chic look was an emerald-green Azzedine Alaia dress with a skinny bow belt at the Critics’ Choice Awards (No. 37). “We went to Mr. Alaia’s studio in Paris — he’s one of the greats,” says Hurliman.

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“It’s a different game when you’re not able to pull looks from the runway, but I love that Oprah’s a testament to real women,” says Hurliman, who shops J.Crew and Net-a-Porter, where she ordered the Gucci look that Winfrey wore on Jay Leno’s final Tonight show. Other labels in the mix include Donna Karan (“She designs for women with curves”), The Row (“luxury basics”) and Lanvin (“Oprah often says, ‘We love all things Lanvin’ “).