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How important are a hairstylist and makeup artist, who comprise two-thirds (minus the stylist) of a star's glam squad? Quite, as it turns out. Nailing a look on the red carpet leads to global style press coverage, increased awareness of the film being promoted, trends that catch fire and lucrative beauty deals. "What we put out there is responsible for setting trends within the beauty business," says Keira Knightley's makeup artist, Kate Lee. Adds Lady Gaga's hairstylist Frederic Aspiras: "Creating showstopping looks helps frame that celebrity as a beauty powerhouse. It puts them on brands' radars and ultimately helps them to land deals" worth millions over time (just ask Knightley, who has one of the longest-running beauty contracts, with Chanel).
THR presents its inaugural list of the imagemakers, 29 in all (hairstylist Ben Skervin does double duty with Knightley and Claire Foy), behind 15 of the most buzzed-about stars this awards season, when the spotlight is also on the groomers. With consumers craving behind-the-scenes coverage and how-tos, brands are sponsoring hairstylists and makeup artists for their work, which can fetch the pro $1,500 for a premiere and up to $20,000 for a major awards show. "More than ever, there is an obsession with the looks created for the red carpet," says Lady Gaga's makeup artist Sarah Tanno. One thing's certain: For the next four months, the glam squads listed on these pages will be hard at work elevating the images of their star clients, whose films are driving the conversation around town right now.
The duo consistently delivers fashion-forward looks for Blunt, 35, as she promotes projects. The latest of which, Mary Poppins Returns, will see them on a worldwide press tour starting in November. For the tour, "Laini and I want to heighten her look — really go super chic," says Streicher, who like Reeves has worked with Blunt for more than a decade. Blunt tells THR that she loves "their confidence to take big swings," adding, "They can do any look I have in my head and then elevate it to something probably way cooler than what I'm explaining to them."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK At the Oscars, Blunt's Schiaparelli Haute Couture pale slate frilled gown "had a Victorian feel, so I kept the hair in that vein but also modern with a braid in it," explains Reeves of the textured, romantic updo. Streicher, who was sponsored by Laura Mercier and Vichy skin care for the Oscars, complemented the blue-gray fabric with "soft and pretty" neutrals including must-have Caviar Eye Stick in Fog that set off the gown as well as Blunt's cornflower blue eyes.
For the past decade, Davis, 53, has enlisted Wilson and Moultrie to prep her for the red carpet and the screen (Wilson worked on Widows and is her on-set hairstylist for ABC's How to Get Away With Murder). Wilson, owner of Identity Salon in Carson, aims to "create new and different looks we have not seen for the carpet." Next up? "I'm dying to try a sleek upsweep with natural hair. I know she can rock it." And for makeup? Less of it. Says Moultrie, "Viola is becoming more and more comfortable — I want to highlight her natural beauty with as little makeup as possible."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK Curls and plum lips made a powerful statement at the October Britannia Awards in L.A. Moultrie layered MAC Nightmoth lip liner and two Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks, in Glastonberry and Walk of Shame, to create "a deep contrast with the stark white dress."
This year saw the Crown star pull a fashion 180, going from prim royal to goth vigilante. "I met Claire right after she cut her hair for First Man and then The Girl in the Spider's Web," says New York-based Skervin, who also works with Keira Knightley. "We've been growing it and trying different cuts — usually sleek, but for Berlin, we also did an undercut [the hairstyle is buzzed at the back and sides, longer on top] that was pretty badass." Equally cool is the 34-year-old star's makeup, which has included "modern liner with lots of lashes" and "a smoky eye with a hint of emerald." Cornwell, who met the Emmy winner four years ago, says she feels like she can "play lots with makeup because Claire has such great features."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK A nod to mod with thickly lined eyes and slicked-back hair was the perfect accompaniment to the red caped Valentino for the First Man premiere at the Venice Film Festival in late August. Skervin used Bumble and bumble Bb.Gel for Foy's wet-hair look, while Cornwell applied Tom Ford liquid liner to "follow the eye shape, finishing with a flick at the ends."
"If there's something I want to try, I just ask her and we try it," says Tanno, Marc Jacobs Beauty global artistry ambassador, of working alongside Aspiras with the Grammy-winning singer for nearly a decade. "Most makeup artists want to kill me for saying that, but she really is a dream client for someone who loves to be creative." Aspiras agrees: "I'd love to say I'm dying to try something on her, but we end up doing it." The team had the chance to go minimal doing Ally for A Star Is Born, which was their second on-set experience with the 32-year-old, the first being 2016's American Horror Story: Hotel, for which Gaga won a Golden Globe. What will the upcoming awards season bring? "We've tried almost every hairstyle and color," says Aspiras. "Lately, I've been bringing back styles and reinterpreting them in a new way."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK Shiny blond hair pulled into an elegantly wrapped updo, defined brows and pink makeup to complement a feathery, blush Valentino gown at the Venice premiere of A Star Is Born. "I wanted to create the most timeless updo for this special day," says Aspiras. And Tanno felt the makeup should "be all about her beautiful skin with soft hues."
Take one of Hollywood's most in-demand hairstylists (a favorite of Rosamund Pike and Sofia Vergara), add a veteran makeup artist, whom A-list talent publicists book a year in advance for awards season, and what do you get? Kidman's dream team. Heath has been tending to Kidman's tresses for the past two and a half years, while Levin (Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Williams and Sandra Bullock also are clients) is going on 15 years with the Oscar winner. Kidman describes the pair to THR as "meticulous" as well as "deeply kind and nurturing." It's their exacting approach that helps keep the actress, 51, who is promoting Boy Erased and Destroyer, always looking flawless — including as a face of Neutrogena (a contract rumored to fetch somewhere in the low-multimillions annually). Levin attests that a striking awards show look can act as a visual refresher for industry players and audiences, to remind just how beautiful an actor is (especially after playing a character such as Kidman's LAPD cop Erin Bell, who wears next to no makeup). "The red carpet reminds people that this is a movie star and she was able to make you believe she's someone else — it shows their ability and range."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK With attendees donning black gowns to show solidarity with the Time's Up movement, many beauty pros added color and drama through hair and makeup at January's Golden Globes. But Kidman, with the help of Heath and Levin, stood out for her simplicity and elegance with a softly knotted updo and classic, pinky-mauve lip.
Since forming their crew 15 years ago, Chanel celebrity makeup artist Lee added Rooney Mara and Emilia Clarke as clients; Skervin now also tends to Claire Foy — and Knightley, 33, is currently vying for her third Oscar nom as the French auteur in Colette. She's held a coveted contract as the face of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle for 11 years — one of the longest-running beauty deals. One of the keys to solidifying the Brit as a beauty kingpin has been "to always refer back to Keira's signature look," says Lee of the smoky eye and romantic updo combo (though she can rock a killer red lip and sleek hair like a pro). "What we put out there definitely is responsible for setting trends within the beauty business," says Lee. The other key to their long-running success as a team: "We laugh a lot," says Knightley. "And they're always quick to order a cocktail." Quips Lee, "Being Brits, we love to have a good time."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK In October, the star wore Chanel Couture at the Colette premiere in London with a braided updo and smoky eye. "The top of the dress was almost armor-like," says Skervin. "So the softness of the braids and the sparkly hairpins really worked to offset the gown." And Lee, who relied on warm plum shadow and eyeliner, says, "She looked both elegant and cool."
While this trio only formed in May, "we have done a lot together in that short time," says Eisdell. The Westworld actress, 46, loves Eisdell's "relaxed vibe" during prep. "It's always a shock looking in the mirror at the exquisite look she's busted when it felt like we were just chilling in our jammies," says Newton. And Ward, whom the actress affectionately calls "Shezza," "has a vision and no matter what nest of hair you start with, he'll turn it into art." The next masterpiece he wants to create on the Death and Life of John F. Donovan star? "A full-on '80s Diana Ross look. Long, luscious, oversized and fluffy," says Ward, who adds that Newton is "creative and courageous when it comes to her look." And beauty goals for Eisdell? "A really cool disconnected eyeliner." Adds the in-demand makeup pro (who also works with Gwyneth Paltrow and Carey Mulligan): "Thandie has a face that can really wear anything. She's a chameleon."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK While wearing a sleek chignon and of-the-moment eye glitter, Newton took home the trophy for best supporting drama actress at the Emmys in September. Eisdell layered Pat McGrath Labs Mothership V brown, rich red and rose gold shades to match the actress' pink Brandon Maxwell gown. Ward, using Italian royalty as a reference, went for a center part and low bun: "super chic and timeless," he says.
Nyong'o scored a multiyear deal with Lancome in 2014 and Calvin Klein fragrance in July. And Francois and Barose, who have been working with the 35-year-old for nearly five years, are an important part of those endorsements — the Oscar winner's talent, beauty and enviable reach (6 million Instagram followers) coupled with consistent formative looks from her glam team make for a bankable star. Says Francois, "It's our job as artists to help show versatility and how commercial" a client can be when they hit the red carpet. This team scores an A+ for versatility, especially while promoting Disney's Black Panther. At the Los Angeles premiere, Nyong'o wore a wine-stained lip and cat eye, which Barose dubbed a "panther eye," and a sculptural hairstyle inspired by the Fula people of West Africa. "I can go to her with the craziest makeup ideas and not be afraid that she'll shoot them down," says Barose (who also does makeup for Rachel Weisz and Priyanka Chopra). Adds Francois: "There are a lot of exciting things to come." Like what? "Maybe really delicate rare feathers on the brows," teases Barose of the new awards season.
TOP RED CARPET LOOK At the Oscars, "She looked like a fierce lioness," says Barose. Francois weaved gold thread through the crescent shapes of Nyong'o's hair, inspired by traditional Rwandans, while Barose looked to Egyptian warrior goddess Sekhmet for the rich navy blue liner on the eyes — courtesy of Lancome, of course.
He's known for bombshell hairstyles on clients Charlize Theron and Gigi Hadid. She's a seasoned pro with quite the résumé: Her current awards season roster includes Robbie, Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Diane Kruger (Welcome to Marwen). It's no wonder they're the Mary Queen of Scots star's go-to team, he for two years, she for three. "They're so amazingly talented," Robbie, 28, tells THR. "No one is scared to try something different, which means we can push the boundaries and find something new that we haven't done before." It's this envelope-pushing that results in Robbie's standout looks that have helped her land a Chanel ambassadorship this year. Scarlett says the strategy is "never about doing specific hair or makeup just to do it — it's a cohesive look, inspired first by the fashion." Dubroff adds that her "ultimate goal is for beautiful skin and then a fun pop of something, even if it's extremely subtle."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK At the Critics' Choice Awards in January, Robbie picked up the statuette for best comedy actress dressed in Chanel. "Pati did an amazing winged liner and lash and Bryce did my hair in a messy top-knot accessorized with a black felt ribbon," says Robbie. The accessory kicked off a ribbon craze later seen on Millie Bobby Brown, Laura Dern and Mandy Moore, among others.
"At this stage, they are part of my family," the Ben Is Back star, 51, tells THR of her 26 years with Normant and 23 with Herr. Why has it endured? Humor, says Normant, who co-owns two NYC salons with John Frieda, has an eponymous hair-care line, counts Sarah Jessica Parker and Julianne Moore as clients, and styled Meghan Markle's wedding hair in May. "It might sound cliche, but that's the only way." Adds Roberts, who is doing press for Ben Is Back and Amazon's Homecoming: "Especially when it's 110 degrees and the trailer is not big enough for you and your dress. That's when you want your friends with you." Herr (who helps glam Katie Holmes and Jennifer Garner), adds that Roberts "makes the job fun, no matter [what]." How important are these looks to helping clients secure contracts like Roberts' Lancome deal, landed in 2010 for a reported $50 million? "Essential," says Herr. Red carpet appearances "show the client in their best light" and are one of the few "areas of our business where the clients' photos are un-retouched. What you see is what you get."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK For this glam duo, who work with the star going into awards season, Roberts' biggest style hit of all time was her cascading hair and an understated smoky eye at the Cannes premiere of Money Monster in 2016. "I went for a classical look with emphasis on eyes and skin," says Herr. And Normant "wanted something that was loose and would move" with the wind coming off the Mediterranean.
"They have an ease with each other," says Ronan, 24, of her team. "It's important for me because [red carpet events] can be so stressful and they always make me feel very calm." Adds Yoshimoto Bua of their collaborations, "We are all adventurous yet share a similar aesthetic — simplicity with a singular accent that elevates the look." This aesthetic caught the eye of Calvin Klein executives and chief creative officer Raf Simons, who rewarded Ronan with a fragrance contract, announced in July. Abergel and Yoshimoto Bua have deals of their own: He's creative director of Virtue hair care and collaborates with Lelet NY on hair accessories; she partners with Chanel and Shiseido and is the face of the latter's Aura Dew highlighter. Does their position as celebrity groomers help beauty brands' bottom lines? After Abergel used Lelet pieces — priced $98 to $668 — on clients Jessica Biel, Kristen Stewart and Vanessa Kirby, he posted the looks for his half a million Instagram followers. The line sold out in one week.
TOP RED CARPET LOOK Using David Bowie as a reference, Abergel "had Saoirse bleach her hair completely white" to keep "the focus on her beautiful features," seen at January's Critics' Choice Awards, where chocolatey-burgundy lips took center stage. Yoshimoto Bua used five Chanel products, including brown eyeliner and a brick contouring shade, to achieve a look that was futuristic, ethereal and edgy all at once.
Rather than using a different set of groomers according to location, as some stars do, Stone exclusively works with Roszak, owner of L.A.'s Mare Salon, and Goodwin, NARS' director of pro artistry. Even after 12 years together, the pros keep the Favourite star looking unstaid thanks to avant-garde makeup and classic, directional hairstyles bedecked with fresh flowers, ribbons or crystal accents. Says Stone, 30, who fronts for Louis Vuitton for a reported $6 million to $10 million, "We all decide how it will come together, and it feels like each look is a character." Adds Goodwin, "There's a beautiful trust." Case in point? Lime green eye shadow for the New York Film Festival and bleached brows for a Paul McCartney video this year.
TOP RED CARPET LOOK An oxblood lip and silver Serge Lutens eye shadow perfectly complemented the star's Louis Vuitton gown at the Favourite premiere in London. The day before, Roszak cut Stone's auburn hair into a blunt long bob, which she adorned with an Erica Elizabeth celestial headband for the red carpet.
"Making a celebrity look like the best version of themselves, giving them that X factor, is the name of our game," says Greenwald, who along with Yuen keeps the Crazy Rich Asians star looking fresh. Wu, the female lead in the Warner Bros. smash hit (it had netted $234 million globally as of Oct. 28), has become one of the most prominent Asian actors in Hollywood, even inspiring the hashtag #StarringConstanceWu to call out the lack of Asian stars on movie posters. In August, she graced the cover of Time, a shoot for which Yuen and Greenwald were on hand. "I was very teary-eyed during the shoot, thinking about how the cover would impact everyone who felt underrepresented in the world," says Yeun, a first-generation Asian-American. Why, aside from their talent, have they been Wu's go-to groomers for the past four years? "They're real," she says, "and I appreciate that."
TOP RED CARPET LOOK Wu shined at the film's Hollywood premiere in Ralph & Russo Couture, complemented by sleek strands and emphasized lashes and lips. Greenwald explains that the makeup — with pearlescent, metallic, burgundy and berry shades — was "natural but glamorous, to highlight the dress, not compete with it." Yuen concurs, "We all wanted to adorn the dress with simpler hair and makeup — but with little details, like how I cut the hair perfectly straight and blunt in the back, exactly 2 inches above the cut of the dress to mimic the line."
This story first appeared in the Nov. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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