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August 23 2014

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1 posts tagged "Calista Flockhart"

Dressing for Fame: Elizabeth Stewart Talks Styling the Stars

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If celebrity status is conferred in red-carpet appearances, then no actress today can compete without the help of just the right stylist. As Kerry Washington once told Glamour after she noticeably upped the sartorial ante, “There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand careerwise—because they knew how to work that red carpet.” A carefully crafted collaboration between stylist and client, the perfect look can create an indelible impact on agents, casting directors, and those of us watching from the sidelines. Straight from the epicenter of all things celebrity, we’ve asked some of the industry’s top stylists to share their experiences and impressions from their perch above Tinseltown. With our Dressing for Fame series, we bring you an exclusive, insider look at everything it takes to create those iconic moments captured by a million photo flashes.

Elizabeth Stewart

Elizabeth StewartIf this past awards season is any indication, Elizabeth Stewart is a practiced pro who shows no signs of slowing down. The woman behind Cate Blanchett’s awe-inducing array of Armani, Sandra Bullock’s colorful body-con dressing, and Julia Roberts’ delightful menswear flourishes, Stewart continues to keep her clients at the top of best-dressed lists while sticking to their individual styles with impressive ease. Having worked at W, WWD, and The New York Times Magazine before entering styling, Stewart’s editor’s eye brings a studied approach to the pull. Here, she talks exclusively to Style.com about how the industry has changed, the role of social media, and why she likes working closely with designers.

How do you think your experience as an editor has shaped your styling career?
It really, really helped me to work in the Paris office of WWD. Spending so much time in ateliers in Paris helped me understand what goes into making a dress.

When did you know you wanted to start styling?
It happened by accident…I was writing for WWD and they needed someone to style the covers of W Europe.

Your first client was famously Calista Flockhart during her Ally McBeal run. How do you feel styling has changed since then?
I still work with Calista. Red-carpet styling is a real job now! It’s become much more of a “thing,” with so much interest in it—and much more of a business.

Does the increasing role of social media ever affect your sartorial decisions?
Social media adds a crazy and kind of fun element to what we do. It does not affect decisions usually, although we refer to it a lot in the room, especially when making a choice we know won’t be popular. I think because I’ve been a fashion editor my whole life, and fashion editors are not only opinionated but think they’re always right, the court of public opinion is not a problem for me. If the world likes a choice, I think everyone is right! And if they don’t, it’s the opposite!

When you’re working with an actress like Cate Blanchett, who is closely aligned with Armani, do you find the brand affiliation constricting? Or does it allow for more options?
It’s actually quite interesting to work so closely with a designer. I love knowing the whole design team and discovering all the resources that they have available. It’s a depth of knowledge I wouldn’t have about them if Cate didn’t have the relationship.

If you were dressing yourself for an awards show, which designers would fill your “try on” racks?
I wear a lot of Proenza Schouler and Prada dresses. So maybe I’d start with them!

Do you have an infamous fashion blunder or red-carpet mishap that has affected your process?
Not really. I always have a backup dress, which I am convinced is why I never need one. My one funny story is that Amanda Seyfried and I decided we liked a certain minidress better backward. I said, “No problem, just make sure you mention it on the red carpet so people know we did it on purpose.” She did, but the press ignored that fact and just wrote about how she had put her dress on backward!

What’s your biggest awards season indulgence?
Indulgence and awards season…oxymoron. Although this last awards season I stopped e-mailing at midnight rather than 1 a.m. And OK, I was eating chocolates the whole time. There’s the indulgence!

How do you honor the various aesthetics of different clients while still staying true to your styling ethos?
I love all kinds of fashion and love the opportunity to work with different aesthetics. That is what is great about dressing other people—I’m not limited to what just works on me. I really like to channel a client and filter her likes.

Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com