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Kate Young, who counts Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman among her high-profile clientele, ranks No. 1 on THR‘s list of the 25 most powerful stylists of 2012. (Update: Young also landed at No. 1 on the 2016 list.)
Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Brooklyn-based super-stylist, who makes her debut atop the roster of power dressers:
1. She doesn’t sleep before the Oscars.
“I can’t sleep for like two weeks because of nerves,” admitted Young, who was even more anxious than usual because of the bold color choice for My Week With Marilyn nominee Williams’ dress at the 2012 Academy Awards. “I told my best friend, ‘It’s orange … what do you think?’ and she was like ‘oof — really, Kate, orange?!’ ”
2. She studied at Oxford.
Young grew up in Pennsylvania with a family of intellectuals, but always dreamed of fashion. “My first word was shoe. I kept saying ‘I want to go to FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology]’ and they’d all burst out laughing — everyone in my family is a doctor, lawyer or professor,” said Young who earned a degree in English and Art History at Oxford. “Of course, my family is incredibly proud and supportive of what I’m doing now.”
3. She’s a beauty junkie.
“You can read all about my beauty control freakiness on my friend’s blog Into The Gloss,” said Young, who likes Kevin Aucoin mascara, red lipsticks by Chanel and MAC (she wears the Ruby Woo shade) and Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Oil. Pre-Oscars, she contacted Tom Ford to request nail polish color swatches in hopes of finding the perfect shade for Michelle Williams’ orange Louis Vuitton dress. “Michelle ended up wearing HIPPxRGB polish to the Oscars, which is this really cool hipster nail polish that’s totally eco. They sell it at Silver Lake’s Mohawk General Store in Los Angeles.”
4. She was Anna Wintour’s assistant at Vogue.
Young got her start assisting Vogue’s editor-in-chief and went on to work on the fashion magazine’s “People Are Talking About” pages, which spotlight up-and-coming actresses. “I’d meet all the actresses on shoots and they’d ask me to wear the dresses to their movie premieres. I’d just pull shoes or whatever else they needed to go with it,” said Young, who dressed Julianna Margulies and Jennifer Connelly early on in her red-carpet career.
5. She served as a consultant for Jason Wu.
In addition to red-carpet styling, Young has served as a consultant for designer Jason Wu’s fashion collection. “We work together all year long — in a few weeks we’ll start on his next resort line,” said Young. “The material for Michelle’s long-sleeve dress at the Globes was one that Jason had developed for his fall show. I talked to him about designing a dress for her and he’s so fast that he texted me sketches within half an hour.”
6. She had a hard time buying jewelry.
“I’m very picky about jewelry and I don’t wear a lot at a time, but I have a pretty extensive jewelry collection. I have a bunch of Cartier pieces and whenever I know that they’re going to discontinue something that I’ve had my eye on for a while I’ll go ahead and buy it,” said Young, who owns a discontinued tri-color ‘70s style gold Tank watch and a tri-color LOVE necklace both by Cartier. “It’s hard for me to part with that much money, so it’s usually like do it or you’ll never do it — when they discontinue something it pushes me to the edge.”
7. She hates double-stick tape.
While most of THR’s top 25 stylists of 2012 named double-stick tape as an essential in their styling kit, Young prefers using her tailor for a precise, wardrobe malfunction-free fit: “I will do anything to avoid using double-stick tape! I don’t think it works and you can always tell when people wear it — it gets wadded up,” she said.
8. She doesn’t think a dress should have instant crowd-appeal.
“When you see something and like it right away it’s usually too boring an hour later,” said Young, who prefers unexpected colors, silhouettes and accents such as the beaded red rose on Portman’s Viktor & Rolf pink silk dress at 2011’s Golden Globes. “I want to push the envelope just far enough that you’re not sure if you like it at first. I want people to initially say ‘oh, that’s an interesting choice’ and then hopefully say, ‘oh, but I really like it.’ “
9. She landed a Target Deal after she was named THR’s Most Powerful Stylist in 2012.
When Young was launching her Target collab in 2013, she revealed that being named THR‘s most powerful stylist in 2012 helped her score her a deal with the retailer. Said Young in a promo for the collection: “Each year after the Oscars The Hollywood Reporter does a ranking of stylists, and they listed me as number one. And because of that I was asked to be on a TV show. During the interview they asked if I had any dreams, and I talked about bringing that red carpet magic to the real woman. And my friends at Target called and said, ‘You want to do this?’ “
10. She debuted an eyewear collab with Tura in 2015.
In an interview with Vogue, Young said she wanted to create an eyewear collection “that I wanted to wear and that I thought were cool.” Priced from $295 to $350, the collab featured cat-eye, round and square options.
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