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After looking over something like 250 designer gowns, flying 11,000 or so miles and imbibing close to 150 Health-Ade Kombuchas, celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich and her team sent five high-profile ladies down the Emmys red carpet.
Ehrlich has been working on this year’s Emmys for the past five months, ever since she and client of six years Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Best Actress in a Comedy Series winner for Veep) put their heads together just after the Met Ball to discuss the direction the star wanted to take. Then there’s Tina Fey, (already announced winner of Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series along with Amy Poehler for hosting Saturday Night Live and also a presenter) who she’s dressed for going on eight years.
“Tina always comes together a little more spontaneously,” Ehrlich says. ticking off the names on her list. “We have a formula we kind of adhere to but in the last year she’s kind of gone outside of that comfort zone. She’s a little more into color these days.” Ehrlich just started working with Maura Tierney (Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nominee for The Affair) in January for the Golden Globes, and says the actress likes a more classical look.
“Padma (Lakshmi, producer nominee for reality competition nominee Top Chef) is always about finding the balance between a very glamorous red carpet feel and a bombshell kind of moment,” adding, “she loves that and I think her audience responds very well.” Ehrlich’s newest client is presenter Priyanka Chopra, who the stylist’s dressed a couple of times but they consider the Emmy red carpet their debut outing because of all the worldwide attention. “We’re going for some old-school but modern red carpet ‘wow.’ ”
How does she keep it all straight? Ehrlich and her support team of two (“I don’t call them assistants, we all work hard”) find salvation in lists. “We have it all drawn out almost like the way you learned to diagram a sentence in grammar school,” she said. “So maybe it’s a week where a dress is being sewn (for a client) and we’re not having a fitting till the following week so we’ll have her name ‘up in the clouds.’ Then we’ll have a list for each day, like ‘Cristina has to go to this fitting’ or we have to send pictures or we’re going on two jewelry appointments.”
For Emmy Sunday, her two associates flew out days before and she augmented the team with a tailor and more help from L.A. for a total of eight staffers for awards day.“I see every one of the ladies on Sunday. They all go out on the carpet at different times so I’ll set up a schedule and go by each one’s place. At that point they have everything, their dress, their jewelry,” she related.
“Sometimes they’re just coming out of the shower and sitting down to makeup and we’re talking about a nail color but they know that I have to keep moving on,” she said. “But everybody has a least one if not two people to get them ready. My seamstress is usually with the person who’s dress is the most complicated. And sometimes, depending on the actress and the designer, they’ll have somebody from the atelier on site.”
One actress might want less hubbub around her while getting ready while another wants a full crew and more, Ehrlich says, and she choreographs the setting accordingly for each one.
“For me the Emmys are already over,” she said Friday night before she flew to L.A. Saturday morning with three gowns that still required a final fitting. “Emmy day is a piece of cake after all the months before.“I would say Emmys are harder than Oscars, for sure, maybe because I work with a lot of women in television. Emmy sets up my whole season and it’s like, game on.”
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