By Audrey Treon
In the realm of celebrity news, articles consistently gush over celebrities’ appearances, boasting “celebrity x at the ___”, adorned with heart-eye emojis and outfit discourse in the comments. Yet, behind the wave of love and attention stands the most essential aspect — the recognition of the stylists.
Stylists often go uncredited, and the misconception that celebrities style themselves prevails. This is harmful because the stylists, who work hard to make sure said celebrity looks and is dressed accordingly, deserve to be credited for their work which is intellectual, creative, and physical.
Though many celebrities hold an innate sense of style themselves, this isn’t true for all. Many rely heavily on the expertise of professionals to prepare them for any public event. Most celebrities, including those with a great sense of style and those with something less, rely on professional stylists to help prepare them for public events. So, crediting the stylists is vitally important.
Stylists are amazing. They have the unique task of getting into their clients’ psyches and using their history and current happenings to influence what clothes they will wear. A stylist’s decisions can influence the success of an album release or result in the success of a movie. Take Halle Bailey for The Little Mermaid. Throughout the movie’s press tour, Bailey's stylist Nichole Goodman dressed her in whimsical aquatic-themed ensembles. She was styled by various designers including custom Miss Sohee by Sohee Park. She wore a white dress embellished with crystals, and the whole look resembled an underwater fairytale.
Since Bailey’s premiere looks were so on theme, viewers got even more excited about the movie adaptation. Additionally, sourcing the clothes to bring the vision to reality requires impeccable attention to detail and vast knowledge. From archival pulls to small designers, the clothes someone wears matter, and the person who dressed them matters.
Dressing someone for an event is more than picking out a pretty dress or a nice suit. In the example of Halley Bailey and Nichole Goodman, it really did effect the success of the movie. Because of the thematic looks, the audience felt even more immersed in the world and lore of The Little Mermaid.
Laura Sophie Cox and Ayo Edebiri
Stylist Laura Sophie Cox has the ability to understand her client’s specific goals and elevate those through clothing. Most notably, she styles Ayo Edebiri. And Edebiri always credits her stylist. Recently she has been seen in Loewe and Thom Browne. These designers not only look good on Edebiri aesthetically, but they also complement her age, career, and personality. It’s clear Cox understands Edebiri’s past, present, and future, and she is able to translate those abstract concepts through clothing. Edebiri’s career has been accelerating fast, so the styling of her is vitally important. Cox styles Edebiri in both playful and serious looks, sometimes combining the two themes, to translate her career experiences into clothing.
Read here to learn more about Laura Sophie Cox.
Loewe: This Loewe by John Anderson look, which Edebiri wore for the Time 100 red carpet, perfectly captures her playfulness through the balloons, which speaks to her roots and skills as a comedian, as well as her sophistication and maturity through the stark white color and masterful draping. Loewe’s philosophies from this show were all about exploring surrealness and escapism, especially needed at the current time. This show was subdued while being avant-garde, two opposing forces that came together to create this highly memorable collection. What stylists do is purposeful and has a deeper meaning. By wearing this dress to the Time event, a dress which comes from a collection that invites us to rethink the normalities of everyday life, Edebiri and Cox are doing the same thing the Loewe was doing. They invited us to investigate the fantastical elements in daily life in a professional sphere.
Thom Browne: Thom Browne is a New York designer who reinvents classic fashion staples. Browne takes something extremely classic, like a simple suit, and completely reinvents it. He plays with proportion, fantastical elements, and gender conventions to create the iconic Thom Browne persona. One might find the most basic white button-down paired with an avant-garde box-shaped suit in Browne’s designs. You never quite know what to expect from him but you can always count on impeccable tailoring and construction with creative and inventive designs, even with something like a white button-down. Laura Sophie Cox pulling Thom Browne pieces and ensembles for Edebiri speaks to themes commonly addressed by Cox and Edebiri such as youthfulness, confronting our Americanized idea of professionalism. This trio – Brown, Cox, and Edebiri have an intimate communication between them and that is shown through the clothing and ensembles they produce together.
Harry Lambert and Emma Corrin
Another special duo is stylist Harry Lambert and actor Emma Corrin. These two are not afraid to experiment and pull avant-garde looks that are still grounded. Lambert has put Corrin in JW Anderson and Dilara Findikoglu, amongst others.
JW Anderson: Northern Irish fashion designer Jonathan Anderson, who is the creative director of both Loewe and JW Anderson, expertly designs practical yet highly conceptual garments. He is constantly challenging society’s idea of what is acceptable to wear. The goldfish dress is an eye-catching and polarizing piece that you'll either love or hate. For this show, Anderson took everyday objects, like a goldfish bowl, and transformed them into clothing. By taking the mundane and turning it into the imaginative, he lets the viewer’s imagination run wild and experience beauty in the ordinary. Emma Corrin and the goldfish dress are a match made in heaven. Harry Lambert styled Corrin in this dress because it speaks to the mundanities of something so glamorous, such as celebrity status.
Dilara Findikoglu: The Turkish-British fashion designer has grabbed the runway by storm. Her collections are almost disturbing to watch, but you can’t look away. This specific collection, titled “Not a Man’s Territory” was an uncomfortable, outraged, erotic, politically charged, feminist declaration. The final look, the Joan’s Knives dress, is just captivating. Findikoglu explains the design by saying “One of the charges of Joan of Arc’s trial was violating the divine law for dressing like a man. In my story she is back from her ashes, wearing what she desires, an Armour made by Dilara with Victorian knives”. Corrin’s personal style and Lambert’s styling of Corrin ignore gendered stereotypes as they are often seen in stereotypically men’s garments like suits and brogues and stereotypically women’s garments like dresses and heels. Corrin is non-binary, and their “dressing like a man,” just like Joan of Arc did, draws parallels between the two and their disposal of confining gender and gender presentation stereotypes.
Read more about Harry Lambert and his work.
Law Roach and Zendaya
Law Roach is one of the best stylists in the fashion landscape, constantly pulling fresh off-the-runway looks and archival/vintage pieces, Roach’s range is immense. His clientele is vast and perfectly adapts to his client’s own philosophies and values, size and proportions, and personal style. Roach has styled Zendaya in Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, and many others.
Read here to learn more about Law Roach.
Marc Jacobs: Zendaya wears fresh off-the-runway Marc Jacobs from his Autumn/Winter 2018 Ready-to-Wear. This color-blocked and strong-shouldered suit was a perfect reference to the 80s resurgence of the time (arguably still happening). This collection took the main traits of the 80s and exaggerated them even more while managing to bring them into the modern world. This look has the potential to swallow the wearer whole, but the circular hat really adds an organic aspect to this highly geometric look, creating dimension and variety.
Louis Vuitton: When Zendaya signed a contract with Louis Vuitton, people were quite worried, as Nicholas Ghesquiere’s collections for the house are, well, not loved by many. That’s why so many people are turned off by celebrities wearing Louis Vuitton. But Law Roach proved himself once again, making Louis Vuitton look amazing on Zendaya. For Resort 2015, Ghesquiere designed an eclectic and sporty collection, a soon-to-be staple for him. The ensemble was styled quite differently on the runway versus on Zendaya. On the runway – yellow strappy heels and on Zendaya – black stiletto thigh highs. The styling is too different to be unequivocally compared, as they were trying to emulate different things.
Celebrities are not exempt from having personal style – many of them do. But when it comes to professional events like the red carpet, that’s where the stylists come in.
Stylists put their hard work into creating the perfect ensemble for their clients. They need to source the designs from the designers, arrange them on the person’s body, take in their proportions and size, and think on theme. The celebrity didn’t do it on their own. Stylists deserve to be credited for their intellectual and physical work, even if it’s just a man in a tux.