Senin, 19 Desember 2011

Meet Hollywood's superstar stylists

Meet the women behind the red carpet looks of the world's most fashionable stars.

Hollywood stylists and their stars

Gill (above) has worked her magic on actresses such as Kate Winslet, Hilary Swank, Jane Fonda and Abbie Cornish. Born in Britain, she studied at Kingston University and landed in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, having worked for Jean Paul Gaultier and Martin Margiela in Paris and styled shoots for magazines such as The Face and Arena.

Tanya Gill and Hilary Swank
Elizabeth Stewart took a winding route to red-carpet dressing, having first honed her skills as a fashion editor for Women's Wear Daily and W magazine, in both New York and Paris, and later at the New York Times Magazine. But since segueing into styling, she has dressed a stellar cast of actresses, including Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams and Julia Roberts, as well as emerging stars such as Freida Pinto, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence.

Left: Cate Blanchett and right: Jessica Chastain, are dressed by Elizabeth Stewart

Stewart, 47, says that her time in Paris in particular influenced her style; it was there that she would visit designers' couture ateliers, seeing close up how pieces were made. 'Understanding how much work goes into one red-carpet dress makes me really careful when choosing a dress for the Oscars,' says Stewart, who is known for creating looks of a chic simplicity. 'We often have a lot of choices and I know how lucky that is, and how much [work] is behind every choice we have to hand.'

Stewart sees her role as 'channelling into' an actress's style. 'It's very important to me to incorporate that,' she says. 'I just bring my taste to it. The best way to start is to meet [an actress] to try things on and learn what works on their body and what they like. Celebrity stylists exist less because actresses need to be made over and more because it's simply physically impossible between shooting and doing press interviews for an individual to get the 30 outfits she needs for any given press tour.'

Kemal Harris and Karla Welch have spent the past six years dressing a gaggle of young Hollywood actresses, among them Olivia Wilde and Zooey Deschanel. Yet it wasn't until this year that the pair became widely known, having put the 14-year-old Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld, the star of True Grit , in a series of beautiful yet youthful gowns for her awards-season debut.

'We were very conscious that Steinfeld needed to look her age and be dressed appropriately,' says Welch, 37. She and Harris, who is 40, called in dresses from Prada, Marchesa and Prabal Gurung, an up-and-coming New York designer, and often tailored the designs to fit the actress's tiny frame.

Kemal Harris and Karla Welch
Welch acknowledges that transforming an actress for the red carpet is 'very strategic… Most of the girls we work with realise they're a product. The people in the room at the events they attend are giving them their jobs… How they look will result in what kind of business they get.'

Jessica Paster was one of the original crop of stylists to swoop on Hollywood and the awards ceremonies in the late 1990s. Her client list runs the gamut from Annette Bening and Kate Beckinsale to Dakota and Elle Fanning, Emily Blunt and Andrea Riseborough.

For Paster, 35, it's important to make sure that she and the actresses have what she calls 'fashion chemistry' . 'You're spending so much time with them - you're doing fittings, you're in their lives quite a bit once they're promoting a movie,' she says. 'You have to see if your personalities mesh. And you have to see if your style meshes with theirs. I'm lucky [as] the girls I work with have a very good fashion eye and that's very helpful.'

Left: Jessica Paster; right: Andrea Riseborough at the Venice Film Festival.

Paster is frank about the workaday aspects of the job. 'A typical day begins at seven o'clock in the morning and ends at nine at night,' she says. 'If you think it's about lunches and having a good time… no. We're pulling clothes and pulling clothes,'
she says, referring to all the appointments stylists make with designers and public-relations firms before settling on the star gown.

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