LAwards season offers moviegoers a chance to celebrate the film industry’s biggest talents, but for fashionistas, the promise of a scarlet, chandelier-lit stretch of floor is what really draws.
We refer, of course, to the most glamorous place in the world: the red carpet.
Celebrities often make awards season appearances look easy, but behind the scenes there is a whole system of red carpet politics and secret deals that ensure those few screen minutes are adequate.
How do the stars prepare for a night where they may not only walk away with a gold statuette, but also raise and lower the dress code?
According to Emily Sanchez, a fashion stylist who has dressed the likes of Renee Zellweger, Glenn Close and Naomi Watts, how a red carpet moment is set up largely depends on who the celebrity is and their relationship to the celebrity. designer.
“It often makes sense for an artist to first think of a designer they have a relationship with to dress them for a big event, as it is sentimental and a way to honor that relationship for that big moment,” explains Sánchez, who adds that stylists often contact brands weeks before nominations are announced.
However, the issue of nominations can further complicate matters, as many brands reserve their decision to dress an actor until it has been revealed whether or not he is an award contender.
“With nominations it is not always clear who will be nominated or who will attend which event,” explains Sánchez.
“The presenters are usually announced the week before the awards show, so that adds another element, but brands are definitely motivated to dress the nominees and the presenters as these are bigger press opportunities.”
Like most things in the fashion and film industries, dressing an actor for an awards show appears to be mostly a business transaction, and while Sánchez remains tight-lipped about the prices involved in dressing a celebrity, reports Earlier reviews have indicated how much money is potentially at stake.
In 2017, it was revealed that Meryl Streep turned down the opportunity to wear a custom Chanel couture creation to the Oscars after the fashion house refused to pay her to wear it.
As reported Women’s Wear Daily, Chanel’s then-creative director Karl Lagerfeld lashed out at the actress, saying, “I made a sketch, and we started making the dress,” before claiming he later received a text message saying, “Don’t go on with the dress. . We have found someone who will pay us.”
According to celebrity stylist Jessica Paster, whose clients include Cate Blanchett, Miranda Kerr and Sandra Bullock, it’s considered normal for a designer to pay a celebrity to wear a certain dress.
“It’s prevalent across the board,” Paster told Business Insider. “Jewelry people are paying, shoe people are paying, tampon companies are paying, everyone is paying!”
However, she warns: “If the dress looks horrible on a client, with $250,000 or less it’s not worth wearing.”
“If it looks beautiful on her and it’s the dress we were going to choose anyway, why not get paid?”
While the financial benefit is important to some, for others the opportunity to wear, and possibly even take home, a designer creation is enough to convince them to associate with a particular brand.
In 2014, Lupita Nyong’o managed to keep the ethereal pale blue Prada gown she wore to the Oscars, while Glenn Close still has the shimmering Carolina Herrera cape dress she chose for the 2019 ceremony hanging in her closet.
But, Sánchez says keeping clothes is not a given, even for actors who win at night.
“The most special option and the greatest honor is always a custom dress made just for that event, but unless the dress is custom made, there is an understanding that the dress will be returned after the events,” says Sánchez.
“I will show up the morning or day after an event to pick up the jewelry, accessories, and dress.”
“We show up and do the fashion magic for the awards show and just as quickly, the next day everything has to be returned.”
Stylist Micaela Erlanger, who has worked with both Nyong’o and Streep, agrees, adding that when it comes to gift giving, each brand is different.
“Some brands want to keep them for their own files,” Erlanger stressed to ABC.
“The brand decides it and the customer is happy either way. I’d say it’s 50 percent. If someone wins with a dress, brands are generally more inclined to give it away because it is very sentimental.”
While red carpet events are always prime occasions for celebrities to showcase their sartorial credentials, they’re also a great opportunity to raise awareness.
Lately, awards season has been dominated by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, and the Golden Globes caused fashion and activism to collide on its red carpet in 2018.
The coordinated protest, known as the “blackout,” was an effort by Hollywood’s most famous and accomplished women, including Emma Watson and Tracee Ellis Ross, to make a bold statement against sexual harassment in their industry by choosing to wear all-black ensembles. .
In 2020, celebrities turned to the topic of sustainability and the impact the fashion industry is having on climate change.
At the 2020 SAG Awards, Jennifer Aniston defended fashion vintage in a white satin Dior spring/summer 1999 gown, while Joaquin Phoenix followed through on his promise to wear the same Stella McCartney tuxedo throughout awards season, to highlight the issue of carpet residue red.
At the 2020 BAFTAs, guests were asked to make sustainable choices on the red carpet as part of its efforts to be a carbon-neutral awards show, either by re-wearing something they already owned or by renting a set instead of buying something new.
Saoirse Ronan was one of the few celebrities to stick to the new guidelines, wearing a black Gucci gown made from discarded satin, while the Duchess of Cambridge reverted to a white and gold Alexander McQueen gown from her tour of 2012 for Malaysia.
“Sustainability is a very hot topic in fashion right now,” says Sánchez.
“Intrinsically, the idea that a VIP can borrow a sample dress is quite tenable. They borrow it, they wear it on the carpet, they return it, and then the dress goes on to be used for other photo shoots or shows.”
“The red carpet dress has the essence of sustainability, since the donated garments go on to have another life (or lives)”.
The stylist adds that the concept of tailored dresses is more difficult to manage, since they are unique pieces made for celebrities.
“Sometimes, designers use a fabric that is from their collection, so they could be reusing the leftover fabric, which is in line with sustainability,” says Sánchez.
“However, if a fabric is dyed or printed to order, it’s a bit less sustainable. I think that as an industry we are thinking about consuming less and reusing things a little more.”
“It’s about doing your part, whatever.”
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