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Every actress worth her weight in Swarovski crystal knows: An agent procures the best roles, her publicist promotes them. But the real magic happens behind the scenes, where the right stylist can turn a star into watercooler Topic A (hey, Angelina’s right leg, hope you sent stylist Jen Rade flowers). But it’s not just buzz that Hollywood’s loveliest ladies seek: A stylist can help cinch a magazine cover, win their client beauty and fashion contracts or even an actress’ next role.
Veteran stylist Deb Waknin (No. 9) enabled Sofia Vergara to skyrocket from TV actress to Golden Globes goddess in a midnight-blue Vera Wang strapless hourglass gown. Hailee Steinfeld won a Miu Miu contract after Kemal Harris and Karla Welch (No. 5) styled her as a fresh fashion force throughout 2011’s awards season. Petra Flannery (No. 3) was a major catalyst behind two prestigious contracts: client Emma Stone for Revlon and Mila Kunis for Dior. And in Octavia Spencer’s next film, the untitled Diablo Cody feature, she plays a Las Vegas casino dealer — hypothetically a full-glamour step up from the maid role for which she won an Oscar; perhaps epitomizing womanly chic on the red carpet in the draped Tadashi Shoji gowns chosen by stylists Wendi and Nicole Ferreira (No. 19) had something to do with it.
The power of the stylist doesn’t just work on celebrities; fashion brands themselves can become major beneficiaries: Leith Clark (No. 16) broke out unknown designer Mary Katrantzou by dressing client Keira Knightley in one of her wildly mixed silk prints at the Venice Film Festival, causing the “Keira dress” to sell out at Net-a-porter.com.
“The most creative stylists,” says Mitch Grossbach, who heads up CAA’s new fashion division, “are those who can impact a designer’s business with just one look.” Stylists can also become business stars on their own. Rachel Zoe (see page 66), America’s most famous stylist, now presides over a multimedia empire; No. 12 L’Wren Scott’s luxury clothing and accessories label is worn by luminaries like Michelle Obama.
And that’s just the ruffles on the gown: During awards season, in-demand stylists pull down anywhere from high-three-figures a day, picked up by studios’ promo budgets, to Zoe’s rumored $10,000-a-day fee, and their bread and butter comes from commercial work, which can pay an average of $1,500 to $5,000 a day for a minimum of three days (some star stylists earn much more).
Now, after careful evaluation of clients, visibility during awards season and breadth of influence and business, THR presents its second annual ranking of Hollywood’s most powerful stylists.
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