Hollywood's Top 10 Power Stylists of the Decade

6:00 AM 3/11/2020

by Carol McColgin

Ten years, 94 tastemakers and 34 magazine covers later, it's been a red carpet revolution. For the 10th edition of the Power Stylists issue, The Hollywood Reporter removes rankings and celebrates the decade's most impactful looks, Hollywood’s biggest provocateurs and the changing of the "It girl" guard.

THR -AH_Dawyne_Johnson_Ilaria1334_V2 - Dwayne Johnson  and stylist Ilaria Urbinati- Photographed by Austin Hargrave - H-2020
Austin Hargrave

In the decade since The Hollywood Reporter first shined a spotlight on the formerly behind-the-scenes role of a stylist, they have moved to the forefront of fashion and Hollywood. "With social media, more people are paying attention to the red carpet than ever before. You see the pre-carpet prep and red carpet looks on the celebrities’ Instagrams, the stylists’ accounts and also on the live streams,” says designer Michael Kors, adding that the fashion process itself has altered over the years: "There is more partnership between the designer and the stylist than there used to be. Celebrities today know what works for them, so for the big red carpets, we’re all in constant communication on everything from the color of a dress to the accessories and the jewelry that will best complement the look."

What’s also changed, for better or worse, is how stylists drive revenue, for themselves and, consequently, for brands. "Fashion collaborations, Instagram sponsorships, brand relationships are incredibly important in order to earn a living. Studios now pay break-even rates [that just cover costs], so the way we earn has shifted," says Elizabeth Stewart, who was one of six pros to appear in a Walmart Super Bowl ad in 2019, a moment that capped the ascent in visibility this past decade — beginning with O.G. stylist-as-brand Rachel Zoe — as they became celebrities in their own right, fronting fashion lines, partnering with designers on collections, styling major campaigns, etc. (Perhaps the most notable of all after Zoe is Kate Young, who topped THR’s Most Powerful Stylists list in 2012, 2016 and 2018 and went on to design a Kate Young for Target collection and her own line of sunglasses for Tura.) Gone are the days of Zoe’s rumored $10,000-a-day fee (some stylists might make that much for a press tour) — the average fee per red carpet look is $1,000, which hasn’t changed in 10 years. "It’s tough out there," says one top agent. Netflix is reportedly the most reluctant to pay styling fees (there’s some negotiation if you’re attached to an A-list client), but on the upside the streamer is also responsible for a magnitude of opportunities, thanks to the amount of content and the frequency of film stars crossing over to do television. “The number of looks has almost tripled from what it used to be,” says Mariel Haenn, of styling duo Rob + Mariel, the masters behind Jennifer Lopez’s looks. Adds Brooke Wall, CEO of Wall Group, one of Hollywood’s top styling agencies: "Over the course of the last 10 years our business has grown exponentially, as well as the celebrity fashion craze."

  • Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald

    WHY THEY MATTER The duo, who first appeared on THR’s rising stylist list alongside Westworld star Thompson in 2016, went on to hold the No.?25 spot in 2018 and No.?10 in 2019 after a smash awards season run with If Beale Street Could Talk’s Oscar winner King and her co-star Layne. They remain a favorite for their daring, avant-garde choices for Thompson, whether Rodarte lamé ruffles for June’s Men in Black: International premiere or cobalt Robert Wun frills on an exaggerated jacket for a Paris photocall. "They make women of all sizes feel like their authentic self, and they’re expanding ideas of beauty in an industry that is narrow," says Thompson, who first called on the pair for the Selma premiere in 2014. Says Oscar de la Renta co-creative director Fernando Garcia: "Their warm nature breaks down all insecurity anyone may have, which allows for the most trusting and efficient styling dialogues to begin."

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR Layne wowed in emerald Gucci sequins at the LACMA Art + Film Gala. The actress captioned an Instagram photo: “Queen. Goddess. Princess of Zamunda” ­— the fictional African nation of the upcoming Coming 2 America, in which she co-stars.

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE King was the very definition of elegance in a strapless white Oscar de la Renta gown at the 2019 Oscars. "Their love for beauty — it’s unrivaled and timeless. They get the right balance of bold and classic," says Oscar de la Renta co-creative director Laura Kim.

     

     

  • Petra Flannery

    WHY SHE MATTERS Flannery took Stone from fashion newbie to a tour de force with a Louis Vuitton contract that’s reportedly worth between $6 ?million and $10 ?million. It started with a coral Calvin Klein Collection cap-sleeve gown at the 2011 Golden Globes. "This look set the tone for Emma — it was fresh, youthful and her first major nomination” for Easy A, says Flannery, who topped THR’s 25 Most Powerful Stylists list in 2015. Another Globes glam slam was Stone’s effortlessly cool Lanvin jumpsuit in 2015 (“It was daring [at that time] to wear pants on a major red carpet," says Flannery). The California native and former Elite Model agent is equally versed in classic sleek-and-strapless styles for Witherspoon and Zellweger, for whom Flannery called on Giorgio Armani, Prada and Dior to dress the Oscar winner’s awards season Judy sweep.

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR Zellweger dazzled at the Academy Awards in a white Armani Privé column that took hundreds of hours to hand embroider with paillettes and beads. “Mr. Armani’s wonderful design was fitted to perfection by three tailors over nearly a dozen fittings on two continents. It was timeless and elegant,” says Flannery.

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE Stone’s coral Calvin Klein takes the mantle, but Flannery says Saldana in lavender Givenchy Haute Couture ombré ruffles in 2010 was a defining moment. "It was the first time I dressed a client for the Oscars," she says.

  • Leslie Fremar

    WHY SHE MATTERS The former Vogue assistant, rumored to be the inspiration behind Emily Blunt’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, has a knack for scoring the best Dior, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton for her discerning clients. Her editor’s eye helped land her the top spot on THR’s list in 2013. "There is some stress because there are so many people going out on the red carpets [and all trying to wear the same runway looks]," says Fremar, who favors custom creations. "It’s ultimately about trying to get your hands on the clothes that best represent your client and their aesthetic.” The New York-based stylist loves building looks around a press tour — most recently for Theron’s Bombshell circuit, which started and ended with black Dior Haute Couture styles (a plunging suit for the premiere and a sculpted silk gown for the Oscars). "We wanted to finish in black — it was our finale. I loved how the peplum was reminiscent of a classic Dior jacket," says Fremar, who’s also renowned for her high-wattage moments in Cannes, which is where she got her start styling Salma Hayek for the film fest in 2005.

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE While she demurred to specify a top look of the past year, for a decade-best ensemble, Fremar cites "the custom Givenchy gown Julianne wore at the Golden Globes" in 2015 as "the look I personally want to wear. It was all silver paillettes and a gradation of black feathers."

  • Samantha McMillen

    WHY SHE MATTERS The L.A.-based stylist, who got her start in VIP relations at Giorgio Armani, dresses Disney princesses (Maleficent’s Fanning and Mulan’s Liu); Marvel superheroes (Captain Marvel’s Larson and Avengers: Endgame’s Hemsworth); and Star Wars’ top heroine (The Rise of Skywalker’s Ridley). Says Larson, who started working with McMillen in 2017 for A24’s Free Fire:  "Sam is very intuitive. She listens to what’s important to you creatively, aesthetically, value-wise, and then seamlessly translates it into your wardrobe. I still feel like me, even when I’m in a designer gown and heels." Both Larson and McMillen use their platforms to support female designers, including Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Chloe’s Natacha Ramsay-Levi and Edie Parker’s Brett Heyman. "I feel proud to wear their designs on my body. I’m never going to feel 100?percent comfortable with photographers shouting my name and posing, so it takes the pressure off when you reframe that moment to be about empowering other people’s work," says Larson.

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR "Brie’s Avengers: Endgame premiere gown was one of the most googled fashion items last year," says McMillen of the star’s custom lilac Celine dress that she paired with one-of-a-kind Irene Neuwirth bracelets and rings reminiscent of the film’s Infinity Gauntlet. Fanning also garnered raves in Cannes when she made Dior’s iconic 1947 "New Look" new again, stepping out in a full tulle skirt, pussy-bow blouse and macramé hat at the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiere. "If you really want to make a show of it, Cannes is the place," says McMillen, whose defining moment was dressing Ashley Judd for the De-Lovely premiere at the 2004 film fest. "Ashley wore a hot-pink organza Armani dress that got a lot of positive feedback from the fashion world."

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE "The one that makes me pause every time I see it is Elle’s Valentino couture" at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival, says McMillen of the persimmon and pale slate Grace Kelly-esque caped showstopper. "I don’t have an emotional attachment to a lot of looks, but that one is special."

     

  • Law Roach

    WHY HE MATTERS Roach first hit THR’s list on the cover alongside Zendaya and then-client Celine Dion in 2017. While the Euphoria star consistently tops best-dressed lists (e.g., her emerald Vera Wang at the Emmys), the stylist started trending when he sent Dion out the door in an oversize Titanic-themed Vetements sweatshirt and jeans in 2016. "That was the first time my work went viral and it changed the trajectory of my career. I have social media to thank for it,” says Roach. “The look was so un-Celine Dion that it was disruptive — Vetements was a new streetwear brand and it didn’t make sense. People talked about it for days." The songstress who sat front row at the Dior and Giambattista Valli couture shows in Paris became the year’s most unexpected fashion icon — with Roach as one of the most in-demand stylists. Fast forward and Roach, a Chicago native and America’s Next Top Model judge, is working with Anne Hathaway and Haddish. He recently brought Little Fires Everywhere star Washington back to the top of her game, having her step out in a daring Altuzarra at the Globes and a Cleopatra-inspired Zuhair Murad Couture two-piece with Egyptian motif jewels at the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Roach worked as creative director on September’s Tommy x Zendaya collection and styled the 23-year-old’s recent Lancôme and Bulgari campaigns. "Law knows how to use fashion to make a statement, change perceptions and tell a story," says Tommy Hilfiger. Adds Roach: "When I first started out, designers were untouchable, but social media has made them tangible. I’ve created relationships with designers by simply DM’ing?them."

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR Zendaya slayed in Tom Ford’s hot-pink "anatomical breastplate" at the Critics’ Choice Awards, which went viral. "Tom Ford actually cast the breastplate so it was a mold of her body, which was really incredible,” says Roach.

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE Says Roach about the sculpted white Stéphane Rolland gown with statement sleeves that Dion wore to the 2017 Billboard Awards: "It was the 20th anniversary of Titanic and she performed 'My Heart Will Go On.' It was magical."

  • Elizabeth Stewart

    WHY SHE MATTERS Stewart is the not-so-secret weapon of A-list actresses Blanchett and Roberts. The Santa Monica-based stylist, who topped THR’s list in 2014, is known for megawatt movie-star glamour and creating some of Hollywood’s most iconic red carpet looks. "Thank goodness for Instagram," says Stewart, a former New York Times Magazine and WWD editor. "Head-to-toe photos of the looks we style are the currency we stylists use to do our job. The photos that used to be seen in magazines are now disseminated in other ways and to have my own platform to publish is incredible." A longtime proponent of sustainable style, she was one of the first to place earrings from Chopard’s debut Green collection on Blanchett for the 2014 Golden Globes. Stewart then dressed the star for the 2018 Cannes opening ceremony in her 2014 Globes black Armani Privé lace gown. It was unheard of for an actress to re-wear a designer gown from a major awards show (or any event).

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR Deutch’s flawlessly fitted Fendi jumpsuit at the Globes was a winner. “We started out making it red, and then switched to yellow and it was just that bit of magic a great carpet look needs,” says Stewart.

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE The custom paint-by-numbers Mary Katrantzou gown that jury president Blanchett wore at Cannes in 2018 required a truck to transport to the film festival. "Elizabeth’s vision was so clear," Katrantzou told THR. Says Stewart, "The best part of my job is to be able to work with the best designers out there. I do not say ‘collaborate’ — they have the genius. We stylists are like art dealers who recognize what to do with the brilliance."

     

     

  • Ilaria Urbinati

    WHY SHE MATTERS Urbinati has dominated the men’s styling arena for the past decade with a who’s who of leading men. "Success doesn’t come overnight or, in our case, in one outfit — it’s a series of moments and working hard to keep evolving year after year. For menswear especially, it’s a slow burn,” says Urbinati, who started at No.?25 on THR’s list in 2012 and worked her way up to No.?2 in 2019. The former Silver Lake clothing store owner is responsible for many of the top men’s retail trends that have trickled down from the red carpet, including bold-colored suits (Johnson in fuchsia, Hammer in red velvet, Glover in orange); mixed-and-matched prints (James Marsden recently wore pinstripes, herringbone and Glen plaid with aplomb); or the resurgence of Hawaiian shirts (perhaps best on Joel Kinnaman). Urbinati, who has partnered with Porsche, Montblanc, Eddie Bauer and Walmart, says that showcasing elevated streetwear is on the rise. "Studios used to focus on fancy, exclusive premieres, whereas now they are more focused on fan screenings," says Urbinati, who replaced suits with sweaters, shearling jackets and trousers for Johnson’s Jumanji: The Next Level appearances. "This means stylists have a little more room to play with the dress code. It can be more interesting and creative than just another?suit."

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR Urbinati says that Johnson garnered a lot of attention in a blue and gold floral Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo at the Los Angeles Jumanji premiere. “Ilaria pushed me to step out of my fashion comfort zone. Our comfort zones are easy but nothing ever grows there,” says Johnson, whose favorite look is a custom fuchsia Ralph Lauren jacket that he wore to December’s Jumanji U.K. premiere. The star cites two things he learned from the stylist: "That sexy and cool is a vibe, an energy — don’t try, just rock the clothes and just be you." And that he can indeed pull off "silly fun socks."

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE "Donald Glover in brown velvet Gucci is the outfit that people bring up the most," says Urbinati of the 2017 Globes look. "Seeing a man in a rich color or interesting fabric is more common now, but at the time it was less expected."

  • Karla Welch

    WHY SHE MATTERS Welch masterfully mixes high fashion with statement-making accessories, whether they be blue ACLU ribbons, Planned Parenthood buttons or Time’s Up pins. The L.A.-based stylist, who topped THR’s list in 2017, uses her platform to shine a light on social ?injustices and attracts activist-minded clientele, including Black-ish star Ross (her 2018 American Music Awards hosting gig used only African American designers — 12 looks total) or Booksmart director Wilde. "She wanted to wear suits because she felt like a boss," says Welch of the star’s menswear-inspired press looks. "Before, out of insecurity of knowing nothing, I ignored fashion. But after Karla, I started to have fun with it and learn more about it,” Wilde told THR at their 2012 stylist shoot.

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR Balfe in a diaphanous bow blouse and silk bustier dress by Valentino Haute Couture at the Oscars.

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE Paulson ?made waves in neon green Prada fringe at the 2018 NYC premiere of Ocean’s 8. "Rihanna went on record expressing her jealousy over the look and a drag queen re-created it on RuPaul’s Drag Race," says Welch. Another trailblazing moment was Wilde in a fitted green sequin Gucci gown while pregnant at the Golden Globes in 2014. "No one really approached pregnancy dressing in that way on the red carpet before it,” says ?Welch.

     

     

  • Kate Young

    WHY SHE MATTERS Young’s coveted choices helped turn ingenues Williams, Johnson and Robbie into fashion "It" girls with Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel contracts, respectively. The Brooklyn-based stylist, who hit No.?1 on THR’s list in 2012, 2016 and 2018 (she holds the record), has remained one of the most in-demand stylists of the past decade, having signed with CAA when the agency launched a fashion division in 2011. (Young now does everything through The Wall Group, which was acquired by WME/IMG in 2015.) She’s worked with megabrands ranging from Target (her own capsule collection in 2013) to Macy’s and Dom Perignon. The Oxford graduate, a former assistant to Vogue’s Anna Wintour, got her start with Jennifer Connelly and Julianna Margulies,?whom she met on magazine shoots in the mid-’90s."“I’ve had clients choose me because they looked at my Instagram. It used to be more opaque — publicists would talk to agents and decide for their clients,” says Young, who had a busy awards season with Robbie ?promoting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Bombshell, and Williams making the rounds for FX’s Fosse/Verdon.

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR "I was super happy with the way Dakota looked in Brandon Maxwell," says Young of the Friend star in a white two-piece crop top and ample skirt at the Governors ?Awards. 

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE Robbie looked timelessly chic in an embellished white Chanel Haute Couture dress at the 2018 Oscars, which took Karl Lagerfeld 550 hours to create. "It was a great dress, she looked beautiful, the hair and makeup was on point, and it announced a new partnership," says Young of the look that revealed the I, Tonya star’s new role as a face of the iconic fashion house.

  • Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn

    WHY THEY MATTER The duo, who first teamed up for Rihanna’s "Umbrella" video in 2007, dress the town’s most dangerous curves, namely J.Lo, with whom they’ve worked since 2010. The Hustlers star, who at 50 fronts the Versace, Coach and Guess spring campaigns — all styled by Zangardi and Haenn — had one hell of a year with her critically acclaimed film role and Super Bowl halftime performance, for which 100?million viewers tuned in. "The biggest change [in the past decade] is that we have a lot of input with designers on custom pieces and awards-season looks for our clients,” says Haenn, who worked with Ralph Lauren’s team on the custom sparkly cropped turtleneck and voluminous taffeta skirt that Lopez wore to accept her Fashion Icon award at the 2019 CFDA Awards. "It used to be strictly the designer’s point of view. It’s exciting to see how designers now ask us to help with mood boards and inspiration, and in the end they’re able to give us something that’s incredibly flattering and exactly what our client is looking for.” Notes Haenn of the current landscape that includes dressing clients for Netflix, Hulu, Apple+ and more: "The work has almost tripled in the past?decade."

    TOP LOOK OF THE YEAR Lopez stopped traffic on the red carpet in a sweeping floral gown by rising London-based designer Richard Quinn at January’s Palm Springs Film Festival. "The fashion world has gotten much smaller because of social media," says Zangardi. "We will find someone in the Middle East or Lebanon that we would have never known about if we didn’t go digging on Instagram."

    TOP LOOK OF THE DECADE "Can we say the Super Bowl?" asks Haenn, of the duo’s collaboration with Donatella Versace on Lopez’s studded leather bodysuit, chaps and pink skirt, which took 400 hours to embellish. In addition to Lopez, the duo did wardrobe for her entire production. "No viewership is any bigger than that," says Zangardi. "We were on the field and felt that energy and excitement — it was 230 costumes in six minutes, and you blink and it’s over. It was definitely a career highlight."

    This story first appeared in the March 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.