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LOS ANGELES — Come Monday, the nominations for the 62nd Golden Globes — honoring the best in television and cinema — will be announced here, sparking a chorus of telephone rings as stars, publicists and fashion designers try to reach Hollywood’s power players of the moment: the stylists.
Here, profiles of the key clothing and beauty stylists working with A-listers are featured. Some are new, others beyond experienced, and all are contributing to the way celebrities dress, wear their hair and get made up — and how consumers might react at store registers.
The avalanche of Oscar contenders out now has meant overtime for these stylists and artists, as they prep their glamorous clients for press junkets and premieres worldwide. With awards season just around the corner — the Globes kick off Jan. 23, the Grammys follow on Feb. 13 and the Oscars wrap it up on Feb. 27 — it’s only about to get busier.
Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig
Agent: Margaret Maldonado Agency
Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig admits to many favorite red-carpet moments that she was behind: Salma Hayek in Loris Azzaro at the “After Sunset” premiere, Cameron Diaz in white Louis Vuitton at Cannes, Brittany Murphy in the mint Dolce & Gabbana for the Golden Globes, a pregnant Kate Hudson at the premiere of “Le Divorce” in Chanel couture.
But it’s one off the red path that elicits a giggle: “We were at a major resort before a big event, and I had to change my client from one look to another. We had to grab this 500-pound security guard to block off the public and the paparazzi from getting in.”
The New York native has become among the busiest of the pack, with Jennifer Garner, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson and, occasionally, Mischa Barton among the cadre of Hollywood beauties she dresses. Her signature Seventies glamour of vintage Halston, YSL and Karl Lagerfeld-designed Chloé has rubbed off on a few — particularly her affinity for vintage. “I’m a huge fan of mixing current designers with vintage. It’s the way to maintain individual style.”
Rosenzweig, now a full-time Angeleno, developed her own sense of style from her “total fashionista mom.” So right after earning her degrees in sociology and psychology, she decided to sow her own fashion oats by taking a job assisting at YM. She left four years later as senior fashion editor and turned to freelance styling for editorial and celebrities.
“It’s been a marathon,” she admitted. “I haven’t taken a vacation in two years. It’s a lot of work and a lot of drama. But if you’re working with great girls, then it’s fine. I know this sounds sappy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Estee Stanley and Cristina Ehrlich
Agent: Magnet LA
Somewhere in the stylist handbook, it insists success means going above and beyond. Tag-team Estee Stanley and Cristina Ehrlich did just that in September when they squired clients Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Mandy Moore, Eva Mendez and Rosario Dawson as a group to five shows during New York Fashion Week. Each time it involved dressing them in the designers they were seeing, including Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren and Narcisco Rodriguez, and ensuring they made it backstage for a meet-’n’-greet and photo op.
“We tried to make it a positive thing about girls being together and into fashion and having fun,” said Ehrlich, who grew up between her native New York and Beverly Hills before shifting from dance to styling.
“We have hot girls,” admitted Newport Beach, Calif.-born Stanley, who met her future partner when Ehrlich pulled samples from Stanley’s long-defunct streetwear line. “It’s a heavy load, but we love doing what we’re doing and everyone’s so different, style-wise, that it’s fun to experiment.”
In recent weeks, they tended to the press junkets and premiers for Sarah Michelle Gellar for “The Grudge,” Rosario Dawson for “Alexander” and Penélope Cruz for “Don’t Move” and “Noel.” Upcoming events are on tap for Jessica Biel in “Blade” and Moore’s “Cigarettes and Romance.”
As if life wasn’t jam-packed enough, the pair also design costumes for film and TV, and they’ve expanded into home interiors for a client or two. And they recently introduced a line of skirts and dresses cut from vintage silks called Miss Robinson. It begins selling at Fred Segal in January.
Agent: In Clover
“I like dressing models, but the idea of working one-on-one with a person who has her own sense of style is more appealing,” said Brooklyn, N.Y.-based stylist Liz McLean, who works with locals Maggie Gyllenhaal and Drea de Matteo.
“It started out with loving films and loving personalities,” she said of her career, which, like many wardrobe stylists, ranges from print editorials to commercials. “It’s not like I am telling them what to wear. It’s more that I understand what they like.”
McLean also put her FIT design degree to use and started her own ballerina-inspired clothing line, Some Odd Rubies, which she sells in New York boutiques and hopes to concentrate more on next season.
So does she heed the fashion police and those endless best- and worst-dressed lists? “Half the time I think the ‘misses’ are great. I don’t think I would be offended if someone I worked with was on that list.”
Agent: Avant Groupe
There are a number of “don’ts” on Alexandra Keeling’s list, but two stand out for the Mobile, Ala., transplant:
“I don’t want to style everyone in Hollywood. That’s not my goal. I want two, three A-list people I can devote my time to. It’s about their entire image.”
And two: “I don’t want to send my assistant to dress somebody. I want to be hands-on.”
This, and a policy where she guards the identity of her clients who request it, has put the mild-mannered Keeling in demand. She’s the go-to stylist for Alicia Silverstone, among a couple of other A-plus actors, who appreciate her self-made role as facilitator more than fashion dictator. “A lot of actors are getting sick of stylists being so demanding and pushing certain things and then taking credit. I don’t have a hidden agenda.”
The former preschool teacher dabbled in designing dresses before moving to Los Angeles in 1997. The manic travel schedule working on costumes for films, however, lead her to a brief apprenticeship with celebrity stylist Kithe Brewster before she split off on her own. Over the years, she’s seen to Kirsten Dunst, Amy Smart, George Clooney and, most recently, Hilary Duff.
In between the promos and premieres for her clients, Keeling continues to collaborate on music videos and magazine editorials, and she recently styled Louis Verdad’s presentation at Los Angeles Fashion Week.
“My only goal,” she said, “[is] for my client to get great press and for both of us to walk away happy.”
Every stylist tells tales of their brushes with disaster, but Annabel Tollman can’t seem to pinpoint one.
“My life is a string of fashion emergencies,” sighed Tollman, fashion director of Interview magazine and stylist for Scarlett Johansson. “But I’m happy to limp from one to the next.”
Tollman appears to have always had good timing: The Central St. Martins grad was one of the founding editors at Wallpaper, where she worked for six years. In 2002, she moved to New York and began freelance styling Johansson for the cover of Interview. She eventually joined the magazine full-time. But she relishes balancing the two worlds.
“Celebrity styling is more about the person and less about pushing your agenda. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t adore that person.”
She calls Johansson “a mini Liz Taylor” and says her favorite outfits include the Imitation of Christ shorts and Proenza Schouler tank top that Johansson wore to the MTV Awards, a brown lace Dolce & Gabbana dress for the Venice Film Festival and a champagne Prada dress from last year’s “Lost in Translation” premiere.
She does admit to sometimes being surprised at how Johansson wears the pieces when left to her own devices. “She puts things together in a totally different way, which I find charming. The real star comes from within,” she said. “You can’t buy it.”
Agent: Avant Groupe
The leap from designer to stylist was short for Cher Coulter, who studied men’s fashion design at Central St. Martins, where she graduated in 1996 (she and Tollman were classmates).
Coulter designed a line called FAA, but stopped after six years because selling to a handful of boutiques like Colette in Paris wasn’t profitable. Instead, she began to channel her creativity into dressing natty blokes like Richard Ashcroft of The Verve and Hugh Grant.
“But London is a very clique-y scene,” she observed.
So she moved to L.A. two years ago, ran into old friend Orlando Bloom and ended up styling him for a Flaunt magazine cover. That led to covers for Val Kilmer and Jude Law. “I credit Flaunt for getting me started,” she said.
Today, her clients include Bloom, Jared Leto and Diane Kruger, “the more indie characters,” as she calls them. “I’m quite picky. The people I choose to work with are quite into fashion, even if they don’t admit it. I just clean them up slightly.”
She specializes in mixing less glitzy designers like Helmut Lang and Costume National with such local brands as surf-skate Volcom. The key, she said, is keeping it real: “If there’s anything you don’t want, it’s to be ‘Look Number 27’ from a catwalk catalogue.”
Agent: In Clover
Amber Tamblyn’s trajectory from soap opera unknown to prime-time red-carpet princess had a little help from a pal she met before her “Joan of Arcadia” star rose — though stylist Tod Hallman demurs at the suggestion.
For this year’s Golden Globes, he dressed the 21-year-old in Reem Acra, then for the Emmys brought on one-time award king Randolph Duke for a collaboration that put her on best-dressed lists.
So, too, was Portia de Rossi, who went to TV’s biggest award show in Givenchy. “People dressed differently at one time in this town,” said Hallman, who styled Kevan Hall’s recent runway show here. “The studios ensured they look groomed, elegant. When women have the opportunity to look that way, I want to help get them there.”
Men, too, are part of his repertoire, and Hallman worked on Owen Wilson for the cover of new men’s magazine Giant. He also recently finished styling Artful Living, a new American Express magazine.
If it’s grace and poise he encourages of his clients, it might have to do with his dancing days. A “country boy” who grew up in the small town of Dickerson, Md., he took off for college in Pittsburgh to study theater and dance. He moved to L.A. in 1985 and discovered visual display. Under celeb publicist Kelly Bush, Hallman got his first taste in producing shoots, which he segued into assisting stylist Deborah Waknin.
“You have to work very hard at this. I don’t know if everyone understands this is a business,” he noted. “But I keep doing it because it’s the only thing I found that I love as much as I love dance.”
Agent: Margaret Maldonado Agency
Few stylists arrive at the Oscars with Busta Rhymes, but Jennifer Rade launched her career seven years ago working on videos for Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Bel Biv DeVoe. “I was known as the Jewish girl who did rap,” she laughed. That is “until Paul Hunter was cool enough to give me a Marilyn Manson job. Then I became the rock girl.”
Last year, when Angelina Jolie guest-starred in a Korn video, she forged a relationship with the Oscar winner. “She wanted someone with a rock background and we hit it off,” Rade said.
Rade felt enormous pressure to pull every available gown, “But I guarantee no other stylist would have called Marc Bouwer for the Oscars. They get very snobby about labels. Luckily, Angie is the polar opposite.” In addition to Bouwer’s white draped gown, she’s gotten Jolie to try new looks — such as a Michael Kors minidress and a sparkly Jill Stuart slip. She’s also working on her first feature film, “Wannabe,” starring Ashlee Simpson, and has styled TV spots for Apple’s iPod and Target.
What’s more, Rade is finding herself in front of the camera, too, hosting FOX’s “Dress Like a Star” and E’s “How Do I Look?” Despite all this, she’s hunting for more clients. “I need more to be neurotic about. It’s my nature.”
Lisa Michelle Boyd
Agent: Magnet LA
Dressing an Oscar winner is probably the easiest way to become one of the most sought-after people in town, at least by fashion standards. Lisa Michelle Boyd’s client, Charlize Theron, was hardly unpopular before her win for “Monster,” but the massive press campaign and the international flurry of festivals and premieres gave designers even more reason to pursue the actress, and in turn, Boyd.
“I think I’ve had about five days off in the past year,” said the Shaker Heights, Ohio, native, who took off the last year to travel around the world with Theron for her various appearances and ad campaigns for L’Oréal and Christian Dior. “My phone never stops ringing and I’m never home.”
It’s hard to go wrong when you’re dressing someone tall, slim and gorgeous, but Boyd’s keen eye knows what’s best for Theron, whether it’s a Giorgio Armani slip dress, a Christian Dior corset or a YSL gown. “A lot of people think she’s very Old Hollywood, but she doesn’t have one style,” she said. Nor does Boyd have a favorite type of job. “I like to touch everything, whether it’s a commercial or an album.”