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How does The Hollywood Reporter rank its 25 Most Powerful Stylists? Each year, the red carpet looks that comprise the work of industry image-makers are evaluated over awards season, from Cannes to the Oscars. The weightiest factors are star power, style and social media — whose A-list clients are driving the conversation in the $2.4 trillion fashion industry, and whose looks are consistently topping best-dressed lists. And in 2019, said conversation isn't only about carefully crafted couture (such as Cate Blanchett's paint-by-numbers Cannes gown, on which No. 4 stylist Elizabeth Stewart and designer Mary Katrantzou worked for six months), but also about making a powerful statement. From Gemma Chan's all-Asian-designers press wardrobe for Crazy Rich Asians (courtesy of No. 3 stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray) to Tracee Ellis Ross' all-black-designers American Music Awards host ensembles (put together by No. 9 stylist Karla Welch) to all-female-designed looks worn by Golden Globes host Sandra Oh (thanks to No. 12 stylist Elizabeth Saltzman), representation is alive and well on the carpet. So is megawatt glamour: Check out the year's No. 1 look — styled by Tom Eerebout and Sandra Amador, and worn by Lady Gaga to the Venice Film Festival: "Just magic."
An asterisk denotes a stylist who is new to the list.
Tom Eerebout & Sandra Amador *
WHY THEY MATTER In a word: Gaga. The Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar winner garnered 34,000 retweets and 3.2 million Instagram "likes" for her Oscar look. During the A Star Is Born run, her stylist duo focused on timeless Hollywood glamour with an edge (icy blue hair, leather glove accents). Eerebout says the trickiest part was "finding the middle ground: We wanted to deliver looks that were true to her — the element of surprise — and capture movie star magic." Some of that magic included landing Tiffany & Co.'s 128.54-carat yellow diamond, which was last worn by Audrey Hepburn, to top off a Breakfast at Tiffany's-inspired black Alexander McQueen Oscar gown. Says Amador: "We received submissions from multiple incredible designers, but Lady Gaga gravitated toward the McQueen, wanting something black and timeless. She also wore different designers to each awards show who have been supportive of her through the years." That included changing into another black ball gown by Brandon Maxwell, the stylist turned designer who previously styled Gaga and counted Eerebout and Amador as assistants, for her live "Shallow" performance with Bradley Cooper that 29.6 million Oscar viewers tuned in to watch.
TOP LOOK Gaga kicked off awards season in a dramatic pink feathered Valentino Haute Couture gown at the Venice Film Festival. "She is one of a kind," says Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli (he called her look "just magic" on Instagram): "She doesn't simply wear the dress, she interprets it in her own way." Adds Amador: "It was the first premiere, so all the elements — the grandeur of Venice, the thunderstorm, the introduction of Lady Gaga and this campaign — were cinematic." What's next for Gaga's glam team? "We are excited for the Met Gala," says Eerebout. "Lady Gaga is one of the co-chairs and [Camp: Notes on Fashion] is such a fun theme."
WHY SHE MATTERS The L.A.-based stylist suited up two top nominees, Bohemian Rhapsody's Malek and A Star Is Born's Cooper, for awards season, in addition to her A-list roster of leading men. It wasn't always easy to avoid repetition: "You get to a point [where] you're literally running out of clothes," she says. "We ended up doing a lot of custom looks." Urbinati, one of the six top stylists tapped to appear in Walmart's Oscar night commercial, called on brands like Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Brioni for styles that veered more classic than colorful. "Because Freddie Mercury's style was colorful, we went more streamlined with Rami's looks," says Urbinati. "We wanted sharp and clean, things that will look elegant in photos for years to come," such as the white Louis Vuitton tux at the BAFTAs. Malek tells THR: "I trust Ilaria's opinion and taste, not just about styling. She's always decisive, and it's always fun."
TOP LOOKS Recalls Urbinati: "Anything we did with Donald for Star Wars press, as well as his SNL looks, took the internet by storm," including the powder blue Gucci tuxedo Glover wore in Cannes.
WHY SHE MATTERS A year ago, the world had not heard of Chan, but between her fiercely chic turn in the box office smash Crazy Rich Asians and near-flawless red carpet choices, courtesy of Corbin-Murray, she's now a major fashion force —part of a new generation that luxury brands such as Valentino and Louis Vuitton are vying to dress. Chan "has an authentic interest in fashion," says Jimmy Choo creative director Sandra Choi. "I love the way that she and Rebecca push the boundaries, creating the unexpected." (Chan, who's currently promoting Captain Marvel, wore only brands by designers of Asian descent on the CRA press tour, including Jimmy Choo, Prabal Gurung and Joseph Altuzarra.) Adds Oscar de la Renta's Fernando Garcia, who created Chan's hand-pleated pink silk taffeta SAG Awards gown with co-creative director Laura Kim: "Rebecca has been a champion to our vision ever since we came back to Oscar de la Renta. We love working with her and Gemma."
TOP LOOKS A standout was Chan's glittering Oscar de la Renta dress, co-designed by Korea-born Canadian Kim, at the Crazy Rich Asians Hollywood premiere. At the Oscars, Chan's full fuchsia Valentino gown was arguably the most coveted look from Pierpaolo Piccioli's haute couture show. "We had been doing a lot of very slinky silhouettes," says Murray, "so we decided to amp it up and go full drama."
WHY SHE MATTERS The Santa Monica-based stylist has a loyal clientele that includes Homecoming's Roberts, who has been working with Stewart since 2007. "Elizabeth is like the dream girlfriend who builds a closet around your trip and, 'Oh, this is what you can wear to lunch, and then when you work that evening, you can wear this, and then, you can change into these shoes.' It's a dream scenario," Roberts tells THR. Stewart says that the pair's most popular look this awards season was the nude tulle Stella McCartney gown over pants that the actress wore to the Globes ("Elizabeth's brainchild," says Roberts). "Julia has a very specific style, but is also interested in the world of fashion and trying new things. So, that alchemy translates into looks like the Stella one," says Stewart. Adds Roberts: "This woman is tireless in her efforts to make me look like I am effortless."
TOP LOOK Blanchett's fashion tour de force as 2018's Cannes Film Festival jury president included a hand-embroidered Mary Katrantzou gown with a graphic floral motif, which took the designer's team six months to create. "Elizabeth's vision was so clear and we were guided by Cate on everything from the fit to the colors to the placement of the Swarovski flowers," says Katrantzou. "When she came down the red carpet at Cannes, it was the most rewarding moment."
WHY SHE MATTERS The Bay Area native, who topped THR's stylist list in 2015, juggled two Oscar nominees with The Favourite's Stone and Vice's Adams and turned out nearly 100 looks in the past two months alone. "For most awards shows, both Amy and Emma were nominated not only for one category but two or three given their TV producer credits," says Flannery, who collaborated closely with Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière on custom looks for Stone (she's a face of the brand for a rumored $10 million) and a range of designer favorites — Versace, Alexandre Vauthier, Celine — for Adams. "For the Oscars, I received a gift from the fashion gods," says Flannery. "I had Emma and Amy [getting ready] in the same hotel, literally across the hall from each other. I like to experience these special moments with each client."
TOP LOOK Stone looked fierce in a brocade Louis Vuitton jumpsuit at the Palm Springs Film Festival. Says Flannery: "I always try to keep it cool and original for Emma."
WHY SHE MATTERS The Brooklyn-based stylist is behind Westworld star Newton's fearless choices, whether a disco-ball-esque Michael Kors dress at the Golden Globes ("pure Thandie out of my dreams," says Walsh) or a custom Vivienne Westwood gown emblazoned with black Star Wars characters (photographed by Walsh's husband, Christian Högstedt) from Newton's own figurine collection for the Solo: A Star Wars Story premiere at Cannes. The latter was not only a statement about representation, but also a celebration of Newton's historic turn as the first black female lead in the Star Wars franchise. "If you're not thinking past the red carpet, you are just missing the point," says Walsh. "The carpet is a platform, one that we should use to bring attention to causes, designers, issues and politics we care about."
TOP LOOK Newton in a hot-off-the-runway bubblegum pink Brandon Maxwell gown at the Emmys was a clear winner. Says Walsh: "Literally, after she was walking offstage in that delicious dress, Brandon Maxwell texted me, 'We won the Emmys!' "
WHY SHE MATTERS With two major films to promote — A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns — it was a banner year for Blunt and her stylist of 13 years. The one word that kept popping up in fittings for the Disney musical was "whimsical." Says Paster, "We wanted to translate the magic of the movie onto the red carpet." For example, a royal blue silk bias-cut Schiaparelli Haute Couture gown was paired with red velvet sandals for the London premiere. "You can't really see it, but there's a little peep of red shoes, so very Poppins-esque colors," adds Blunt.
TOP LOOK Blunt topped best dressed lists in a ruffled Michael Kors gown at the SAG Awards. "Michael sketched cream and Emily said, 'I want pink,' " recalls Paster, who went to a paint store to pull swatches "inspired by the cherry blossoms" in Mary Poppins Returns. Says Blunt: "It's funny because I don't wear pink in my everyday life." Adds Kors: "Jessica has a very keen eye for what will work on Emily. Over the years, we've developed a trust that feels very golden age of Hollywood. And we all have fun when we're together, which is the cherry on top."
WHY SHE MATTERS Welch, who styled 20 looks alone on Oscar night with her staff of 12, says her biggest challenge this year was the "sheer volume" of projects. For Ross' American Music Awards hosting gig — 12 looks in all — the L.A.-based stylist, who topped THR's list in 2017, used all black designers, including Pyer Moss, Sergio Hudson and Nicolas Jebran. "We gave a spotlight to designers who are often not seen on the red carpet," says Welch, whose x Karla brand did a collaboration with Levi's this year that "not only sold out in 24 hours, but also raised over a million dollars for gun safety."
TOP LOOK Ross wowed in a voluminous pink Valentino Haute Couture gown at the Emmys. Not to mention "Lady Paulson" (Welch's Instagram tag for the AHS star) in a peony pink ballgown by Brandon Maxwell at the Oscars. Welch's styling mantra? "I want to have chills when I see a dress on my client. 'Fine' will never be good enough for me."
Julia von Boehm
WHY SHE MATTERS "We met on a Jimmy Choo shoot and clicked," says von Boehm, who styled two ad campaigns with Kidman before the star asked her to consider red carpet styling. In their almost five years of working together, von Boehm, who was named InStyle's fashion director last April, has balanced Hollywood glamour with her more directional editorial eye and landed the most enviable runway pieces to keep her client at the top of best dressed lists, whether in Armani, Michael Kors or Ermanno Scervino. "I owe Nicole a lot, because she taught me how to do the celebrity styling side of things, which I had never done before I met her," von Boehm has said to THR. "So I like to give her exclusivity."
TOP LOOK Kidman exuded glamour in a Miu Miu black crepe and white organza ruffle gown at the AACTA International Awards in Sydney, where she was awarded the prize for best supporting actress for Boy Erased.
WHY SHE MATTERS "Everything happened during the Globes because I had the host, the presenter and the nominees," says Saltzman, who dressed three Killing Eve contenders — Oh (also Globes co-host), actress Jodie Comer and series creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge — in addition to presenter Ronan. The London-based stylist adds: "The challenge was making sure everyone felt great and also that the Killing Eve women looked great together" for photos. For new client Oh, who wore four looks and won the Globe for best actress for TV drama, Saltzman says she "got the text in December," when the "all-female designers" inspiration hit. She called on Donatella Versace and Stella McCartney. "Every dress felt like a part of Sandra and didn't overpower her, but that's my go-to: Let the woman be louder than the dress," says Saltzman.
TOP LOOKS Ronan was a knockout in a Carolina Herrera gown at the Mary Queen of Scots London premiere. "The dress was ethereal but still youthful," says the former Vanity Fair fashion director. Says Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon: "Elizabeth is able to see into the souls of her clients, understand what makes each unique and emphasize that with the clothes." Saltzman also cites Paltrow's Valentino wedding dress for her East Hampton nuptials to producer Brad Falchuk in September as earning "a lot of attention."
Jill Lincoln & Jordan Johnson
WHY THEY MATTER The pair, who outfitted The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel winner Brosnahan for the Emmy circuit, favored clean styles — baby blue Dior at the SAG Awards, sunshine-yellow Prada at the Globes and red Oscar de la Renta at the Emmys, which all garnered raves. They also ventured into costume design, wardrobing Michelle Williams for Venom. "We learned so much working with Michelle, the director, producers and costume department," says Lincoln. Adds Johnson: "Hopefully, that project will lead to future movies."
TOP LOOK "Rachel's Dior Couture at the SAG Awards was very much in line with our personal styles and also well received," says Johnson.
WHY SHE MATTERS Following Nyong'o's knockout Black Panther press looks, the New York-based stylist teamed with Wu on another 2018 breakout. "For the Crazy Rich Asians premiere, Constance's Ralph & Russo couture gown went viral," says Erlanger, whose choices helped take ABC's Fresh Off the Boat star to the next level. "From her Vera Wang at the Globes to her custom Versace for the Oscars, we went for glamour."
TOP LOOK Wu donned a custom pleated tulle dress by Atelier Versace at the Oscars. "We started designing her dress in December and it went through many iterations," says Erlanger. "We had three dresses made and ultimately narrowed it down to that gorgeous marigold yellow one."
WHY SHE MATTERS She's the queen of custom, favoring only one-of-a-kind creations for her clients: "I loved Brie's Celine Oscar dress as well as the custom pieces we've done for the Captain Marvel tour," says McMillen, a former fashion publicist for Giorgio Armani. The superhero stepped out in silver Celine sequins to present at the Oscars before changing into a single-shoulder crimson dress (also Celine) for the Vanity Fair afterparty. McMillen also keeps Gosling dapper in burnt orange, navy or hunter green Gucci suits (with various retro-patterned shirts) or in a sharply tailored white Gucci dinner jacket (sans bow tie) for First Man's Venice premiere. And, says McMillen, "I started working with John David Washington, and he is so fun." For the BlacKkKlansman star, "we had some great Gucci looks, as well as cool custom pieces from Riccardo Tisci's new Burberry collection and Dior."
TOP LOOK Elle Fanning glittered in Miu Miu with a crystal beaded bow at the Deauville Film Festival, one of "my absolute favorites from the past year," says McMillen.
WHY SHE MATTERS The New York stylist remains at the top of her game with longtime clients Theron and Moore, often styling their ad campaigns, including Theron's most recent for Dior J'adore. On the carpet, Fremar amped up the glam for L'Oréal ambassador Moore in Cannes (a black Saint Laurent column) and Theron at the Oscars (a periwinkle Dior gown).
TOP LOOK The Tully actress won the Globes in a timeless black-and-ivory Dior Haute Couture silk crepe dress with a bow detail.
Van Van Alonso *
WHY SHE MATTERS "When it comes to doing men's tuxedos and suiting, it's always a challenge to create a look that stands out," says Alonso, who first met the two-time Oscar winner on an editorial shoot in 2016. The Moonlight actor messaged her two weeks later on Instagram and they've been working together ever since. "It's easy to put somebody in a suit, but I needed to find someone who understood me on a deeper level," Ali tells THR. "It's about the little details that speak specifically to the person wearing it." Adds Alonso: "We like to keep things original, respectful [of the event] and classic."
TOP LOOK The Green Book winner's pick? "It's the Oscars for me," says Ali, who wore a black brocade Ermenegildo Zegna XXX tuxedo, a hat and aviator glasses. "If you don't finish with your favorite look, then something's wrong."
Rob Zangardi & Mariel Haenn
WHY THEY MATTER The stylists behind Hollywood's most glamorous couple, J.Lo and A-Rod, might also be the busiest. Between awards shows, press tours, premieres, TV shows (Lopez's World of Dance and client Heidi Klum's America's Got Talent), Vegas residencies (Lopez's All I Have and client Gwen Stefani's Just a Girl), music videos and tours and ad and editorial shoots, Zangardi estimates that they "pulled together close to 2,000 looks" for clients in the past 12 months. "We also act as the creative directors for all of the Jennifer Lopez brands internationally and Privé Revaux eyewear," he says.
TOP LOOK Newly engaged Lopez and Rodriguez were the evening's best dressed couple in coordinated Tom Ford at the Oscars, a mirrored mosaic gown for her ("one of our most popular looks," says Haenn) and a white tuxedo jacket for him. "We knew Jennifer was presenting very early on, so we were able to get a sneak peek of the couture shows," says Zangardi. "We were putting in our Oscar selects based on sketches before the gowns even walked the runway."
WHY HE MATTERS Roach has a flair for the dramatic. His choices for clients are never predictable, from Hathaway in an Elie Saab leopard print at the Globes to Haddish in an Eritrean flag-inspired Prabal Gurung rainbow swirl at the Emmys. For Hathaway's Ocean's 8 press, the Los Angeles-based stylist — an America's Next Top Model judge who made the cover of THR's 2017 Stylist Issue with Zendaya and Celine Dion — was called on to help the star have a little extra fun with her fashion, whether that meant sequins and stripes, bold metallics or a graphic zebra motif. It was a noted change from Hathaway's usual black, red and white Valentino. Also noteworthy: Grande's "Thank U, Next" music video, "which happened to break YouTube and the internet," laughs Roach, who styled all of the iconic looks (riffs on Mean Girls, Legally Blonde and Bring It On).
TOP LOOK Zendaya rocked a tangerine and pink Marc Jacobs ostrich feather frock to a jewelry launch party in L.A. that garnered 2.1 million likes on Instagram.
Ade Samuel *
WHY SHE MATTERS "The look that went viral was Michael B. Jordan at the SAG Awards," says Samuel, who dressed the Creed II actor in a custom double-breasted Louis Vuitton navy tuxedo with Virgil Abloh's signature "bib," aka a harness (a look also seen on trendsetter Timothée Chalamet at the Golden Globes). "The look was so distinct that it created a dialogue regarding menswear and the risks you can take in today's culture," she says. Fast forward to the Oscars, and Samuel believes that there were more actors taking chances and "having fun" with their sartorial choices than ever before. Samuel, a native New Yorker who interned at W magazine and Teen Vogue, also was proud to land her client the first custom Riccardo Tisci for Burberry tuxedo (a classic black tuxedo) for the Globes.
TOP LOOK Jordan stood out in a midnight blue velvet Tom Ford tux at the Oscars, where he presented. Samuel says she added Piaget white diamond lapel pins to "jazz it up."
WHY SHE MATTERS Veteran Ehrlich's eye is so in demand, clients come back for a second time around. Recently reunited with Moore, whom she styled in her early pop-star days, Ehrlich traveled with her repeat client to Paris in July for the couture shows, where they sat front row at Schiaparelli and Fendi and showcased a slew of haute looks. "We restarted our working relationship and really wanted to knock it out of the park at the Emmys," says the New York-based stylist. The This Is Us star hit the carpet in a dark, plunging Rodarte gown that looked like it was splattered with gold paint. Ehrlich also dressed Dern in a Rodarte ruched leather gown at the Oscars. "The dress felt elevated but had a hint of risk, " says Ehrlich.
TOP LOOK Nominee Cruz was a vision in icy blue feather-accented Chanel Haute Couture at the Emmys. The ball gown bodice took 280 hours to hand-embroider. In July, the actress was named an ambassador for the brand (the last one chosen under late creative director Karl Lagerfeld).
Ashley Weston *
WHY SHE MATTERS The Los Angeles-based menswear stylist, who graced the cover of 2018's THR Stylist Issue with Boseman, continued the Black Panther star's winning style streak. "Awards season is like the playoffs, and it all culminates at the Super Bowl: the Oscars," says Weston. For the big night, she called on Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller. "We started working on the look months before," she says. "We went through so many sketches, I lost count," adds Weston of Boseman's sequin-embellished long coat. She also had a hand in making the men's statement jacket one of the year's top trends, thanks to The Assassination of Gianni Versace's Criss. The actor suited up in diamond-patterned Emporio Armani at the Emmys; cherry blossom-printed Dior at the Globes; metallic Giorgio Armani at the SAG Awards; and military-inspired Balmain at the Vanity Fair Oscar party.
TOP LOOK Boseman chose a dramatic all-white Versace cape with gold embellishments for the Met Ball. Says Westman, "We decided to go all-in, and it really paid off."
WHY HE MATTERS Bolden kept Hollywood power players Coogler, DuVernay and FX's Pose writer and transgender activist Janet Mock on top of their fashion games. "Ryan is very clear about being true to who he is when he walks carpets," says Bolden of Black Panther director Coogler, who favors Brunello Cucinelli, Zegna and Prada. "You will always see him in a proper suit and crew neck T-shirt." Netflix's When They See Us director DuVernay, who recently joined Prada as a co-chair of the brand's diversity council, also wears plenty of custom looks by the luxury Italian label. "Too many moments to count," says Bolden, who chose bright orange Prada for her to wear at VH1's Trailblazer Honors.
TOP LOOK Bolden says his biggest hit was Shahidi's blush sequin Fendi Couture jumpsuit with a tulle overlay at the SAG Awards: "Last year we did pants and Yara was able to dance all night, so we decided to keep the party going."
WHY SHE MATTERS The veteran stylist remains one of the best at creating timeless leading-man looks for the likes of Vice's Bale and Roma's Oscar-winning director Cuarón. But Yang also is a master at envelope-pushing statements for less conventional Hollywood guys like Aquaman's Momoa, who hosted SNL in a memorable white motorcycle jacket and pink taffeta trousers. That balancing act is what keeps Yang, a former managing editor at Detour magazine, in demand.
TOP LOOK Momoa's blush-hued velvet Fendi Couture tuxedo (with matching hair scrunchie), a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, was one of the most buzzed-about looks on Oscar night. "It was the perfect pink, and I really loved the idea of brown jacket lapels," says Yang. Another smash hit was Downey Jr.'s violet Richard James camouflage tuxedo at the Avengers: Infinity War premiere in Los Angeles. "We found a Greubel Forsey watch [worth $605,000], cut some cuff links to look like Thanos' cuff and Iron Man's mask and sewed them on his coat," says Yang, "Robert told a story about it that has over 5 million views on Instagram."
Cheryl Konteh *
WHY SHE MATTERS "Idris is not the kind of person who just has a stylist bring him a boatload of clothes — he gets involved and is passionate about it," says Konteh of her collaborator for eight years and counting. "His style is sharp." A few of the Luther and Turn Up Charlie star's signature looks include tailored overcoats and monochromatic suits, almost always with Christian Louboutin shoes, preferably custom. For 2018's Met Ball, Elba co-designed his black tuxedo with Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller. "The theme was religion, so we ended up designing this clergyman-esque jacket with white cuffs to emulate the white [clerical collar]," says Elba, who accessorized with pointed, white-stitched black shoes.
TOP LOOK Elba chose a statement suit in "money green" by Ozwald Boateng ("really special, inspired by Ghanaian and African prints," he says) for the Globes, where his 17-year-old daughter, Isan, served as ambassador. "I couldn't find the bow tie, so subsequently I went onto the carpet without it," says Elba. Konteh notes that his style is always "so effortlessly cool," it didn't matter. "It was so sharp, totally unexpected, and everybody loved it."
This story appears in the March 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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