Cynthia Erivo's "Out of This World" Glam: Stylist Shares Secrets Behind Her Red Carpet Fashion

9:00 AM 1/31/2020

by Falen Hardge

The double Oscar nominee (and Tony winner) teams with stylist Jason Bolden for looks that channel fantasy, strength and romance.

Leon Bennett/WireImage; George Pimentel/WireImage; Steve Granitz/WireImage

  • Tuxedo Dreaming

    The Harriet star’s Golden Globes look, a custom Thom Browne dress, took 800 hours and 11 artisans to make. The designer created custom footwear for her, too — an invisible heel covered in crystals. “It was really beautiful, [with a] tiny, tiny, tiny waist and exaggerated hips,” says Bolden. She also wore (and always wears on every red carpet) a ring that features Harriet Tubman’s face, which Bolden describes as a way of “carrying her with her everywhere she goes."

  • Mosaic Moment

    For this cathedral stained-glass motif gown by Fendi at the Jan. 12 Critics’ Choice Awards, Erivo had a "rapid fitting" with Bolden while filming her next project, the limited series Genius: Aretha. They were debating among 12 looks but landed on the Fendi because, as Bolden tells THR, "she likes the idea of the art and drama of it all, but there is something still very chic, sophisticated and easy about it."

  • Royal Vibes

    Erivo brought royal glam to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Gala on Nov.  2 with this Gucci gown. "It was old world glamour, sexy and regal," says Bolden. To top off the look, she wore a dyed purple haircut by Coree Moreno to match the dress.

  • Feathered Beauty

    Bolden says this multicolored feathered gown from Marc Jacobs was "the hardest dress to wear." Recalls Bolden of the look, which she wore to the Oct. 29 Harriet premiere in L.A.: "I told her, 'Either it will be the most amazing thing ever or it’s going to be the most horrible thing ever.'  It fit like perfection. Cynthia has that thing where she makes something [that] seems so out of this world [be] so right for the planet."

  • Crafted Couture

    Her custom two-piece Schiaparelli ensemble for the Jan. 19 SAG Awards came about by happenstance after Bolden and the dress’ creative designer, Daniel Roseberry, serendipitously ran into each other at L.A. hotspot Chateau Marmont. The design includes a petticoat-like element to "pay homage to that time period [and] Harriet Tubman as an iconic superhero."

  • Pretty 'n Pink

    Bolden calls Erivo’s Versace dress for the Nov. 3 Hollywood Film Awards the "LPD — the little pink dress." He adds, "We altered [the] dress to be skintight, but it was quintessential Versace. It was perfect."

  • Golden Days

    "We’d been doing so many dresses, let’s switch it up," says Bolden of his thoughts on this gold look for the Nov. 7 Patron of Artists Awards. He adds that Erivo "is the closest thing to a quintessential black girl who’s not afraid to shave her head — she owns it and she lives in it."

  • Green Goddess

    Erivo sported this monochromatic green chiffon cape Valentino dress to the Governors Awards in October. Bolden says he’s proud of the fashionable moments Erivo is experiencing in Hollywood but also disappointed because "she is one of the only women of color on these carpets. Everything we do is not for us, it’s for people who haven’t had the opportunity and making sure the door stays wide open. She’s the example of what dreams are made of."

    This story first appeared in a January stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.