Top Hollywood Stylists on Which Fashion Brands Refuse to Dress Their Stars
Celebrity stylists spill the beans on rejection emails from fashion brands and how to respond with just the right amount of sass at THR's first-ever Stylist Roundtable.
Who wouldn't want to dress Kristen Stewart? You'd be surprised. At THR's first-ever Stylist Roundtable, five of Hollywood's most prominent behind-the-scenes magicians shared their experiences with rejections from fashion brands and how to avoid them.
The guests were Jason Bolden, who styles director Ava DuVernay and Yara Shahidi among others; Law Roach, whose clients include Zendaya and Mudbound’s Mary J. Blige; Jeanne Yang, the woman behind Kumail Nanjiani's (The Big Sick) Oscars look; Tara Swennen, who transformed I, Tonya supporting actress Allison Janney into a fashion icon; and Ilaria Urbinati, who is responsible for Armie Hammer's (Call Me by Your Name) red velvet Oscars appearance.
"I remember with Kristen Stewart, I called Lanvin for seven years," recalled Swennen, who has been working with the star for 14 years. "They said, 'Listen, our demo to sell these clothes is closer to the 30s, so she's not what we want quite yet.' Every two months, I called and said, 'Are we ready yet?' Finally, it was like the clouds opened up, and we got it, and she was like, 'Nah.'"
How do you respond when Gucci just doesn't want to lend you that gorgeous red carpet it-piece? Bolden doesn't even bother to call back in two months — for him, a one-time "no" is a "“no" forever. "I am notorious for using the exact same email that says, 'Unfortunately, we would like to pass.' So I go back and write, 'Unfortunately, WE'D like to pass!'"
"Zendaya made it to the cover of Vogue, she had never worn Valentino, Gucci or Chanel," said Roach. "She only wore Dolce & Gabbana when she got a Dolce campaign. We built that girl's career and my career using smaller brands and emerging designers to prove a point. Now that they want to dress her, I say no. We go to Paris, you see the designers, they say, 'I love her, how come I've never dressed her?'"
Yang has a different approach: "You have to build relationships though, that's what I tell my clients." She encourages the stars she styles to go to brand events. But sometimes, no stays no, despite the shared lunches and cheered prosecco glasses. "It doesn't matter if I have the biggest A-list star in the world, it's not a match. It's a testament to you that you're able to work around it."
"As a brand, you have a certain image," Urbinati said. "If you are Gucci and you have five runway-worthy dresses that season, maybe you want to save them for the big moment."