Evan Rachel Wood and Altuzarra: The Power Suit Is 'Antiquated'

Photographed by David Needleman

The 'Westworld' star and top fashion designer have reinvented the pantsuit for the red carpet: “In this sea of chiffon, people are like, ‘This person is authentic and really who she wants to be.’”

Evan Rachel Wood and designer Joseph Altuzarra both loathe the term power suit.

The very mention of it elicits a long, awkward pause. Wood, 30, tells THR, “It’s like saying power is associated with dressing like a man instead of just feeling powerful in whatever you’re wearing.” Adds Altuzarra: “It feels antiquated. You wouldn't say that about a man’s suit.” And while Altuzarra says that ’80s suiting (structured, double-breasted, shoulder-padded) was used to “replicate men’s suits” for women to be taken more seriously, that women, both on the red carpet and off, no longer need to take power style cues from men. “Women can now express themselves, their style and still be taken seriously,” he says.

The New York-based designer, 34, who teamed up almost exclusively with the Westworld actress on her awards season suit wardrobe, does believe that Wood is changing Hollywood awards-show dressing. “Evan took a huge risk [wearing only suits], and it paid off. We are getting different kinds of requests from stylists, and actresses are thinking differently about what they’re going to wear,” says Altuzarra, “Our velvet blazers from the fall-winter collection that are similar to one that Evan wore [at the Globes] have been selling out.”

Pants — both suits and jumpsuits — were prominently on display at the Primetime Emmy Awards with The Crown’s Claire Foy (in Oscar de la Renta), Oprah Winfrey (in Elizabeth Kennedy) and Wood (in Moschino by Jeremy Scott). Says Wood: “I am sure if you asked a lot of actresses, they would like to wear suits and they are too afraid to do so.”