Sam Smith’s stylist, Lauren Armes, has worked with the “Writings On The Wall” singer since his first Saturday Night Live appearance almost two years ago. “He’s kept me pretty busy since!” Armes tells Pret-a-Reporter. And he continued to keep her extra occupied for Sunday’s Oscars.
Here, Armes breaks down the inspiration behind his three Oscars looks created exclusively by Dunhill, from his red-carpet tux and performance look to his afterparty ensemble.
Was there an inspiration behind each of the three looks tonight?
Sam and I spoke about channeling old-school Hollywood for the Oscars, an Englishman with the glamour of the ‘50s and ‘60s. We wanted classically beautiful tailoring that was timeless, but still youthful and fun. It was more an overall theme for all three looks, rather than each outfit being inspired individually.
Why was Dunhill the right choice for Sam?
Dunhill’s steeped in British history and has the exact esthetic we were after; classic tailoring made for the modern gentleman.
How do you decide what makes a good red-carpet look versus what makes an outfit better for a performance?
For Sam’s performance we wanted the look to complement the set. In this case, we decided to go with a more refined, streamlined look. For the red carpet we wanted something that would stand the test of time, reflect the tradition of formal wear and the art of dressing for a black-tie evening, a black three-piece mohair peak lapel tuxedo with white cotton pocket square.
How involved is Sam when choosing an outfit? Was he more involved than normal since the event is the Oscars?
Sam’s always heavily involved in all his wardrobe decisions. It’s a collaboration between the two of us, whether it’s for an event, performance, the red carpet or just everyday wardrobe.
Is there added pressure for you since Sam is a nominee and performer?
I try not to think about it. I just focus on making Sam look as good and feel as comfortable as possible. There’s always pressure when your client is in the public eye, no matter what the occasion.
What makes a client (especially a man in a tux) stand out from the crowd on the red carpet?
It’s tricky, but when you’re fortunate enough to work closely with someone and get to know them, you’ll find a way to let their personality come through. It’s not necessarily all about standing out from the crowd. It’s more about sticking to their own style and knowing they’ll be happy and looking their best.
A sketch of the singer’s Dunhill outfit for the Vanity Fair party.
Smith (right) and Jimmy Naples at the Vanity Fair Oscar party.
Smith performing the Oscar-winning Spectre theme song during the Oscars.