CULVER CITY, Calif. — “Oh, gosh. Nobody cares what I wear,” said costume designer Lyn Paolo before she allowed, “No, I’m wearing Max Mara and only because I was at work this morning and this happened to be in the cupboard.”
The costume designer said she borrowed the day’s ensemble as she rushed to Smashbox Studios for the inaugural Stylemakers luncheon, put on by WWD and sister publication Variety, to honor seven innovators in the worlds of fashion, style and beauty.
“I was at work at 6 this morning and I have to go right back afterward, so I was actually in my jeans and a T-shirt earlier, so that’s what I do,” Paolo said.
While Paolo shied from the spotlight, the increased recognition of the costume designer and her peers in the industry — the talent behind the talent in many cases — has come to symbolize the growing relationship between fashion and entertainment.
“Kerry [Washington] and I feel like the juxtaposition between fashion and film is crossing over and it’s sort of symbiotic now,” Paolo said. “This is just a great event to attend because we need that world to continue. I think it’s good for both worlds, for fashion and for film when we combine.”
“There’s literally no way I could get up and play Olivia Pope everyday without Lyn Paolo,” Washington said. “She helps me define this character. She helps me be this character. She helps me understand this character.”
Even with the accolades, most of the honorees seemed to be battling with a wave of emotions that ranged from embarrassment — for actress Freida Pinto — to a bit of shock for makeup artist Lisa Eldridge as they paraded down the red carpet.
“It’s quite surreal and amazing,” said Eldridge, who was honored for her work. “I’m just doing what I love. I’ve done it for years. I feel like I kind of never really worked because I’m always excited about each day.”
Stylist Elizabeth Stewart said the first thought that ran through her head when she heard of her accolade was terror, albeit mixed with gratitude.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Stewart said. “I feel like we belong behind the scenes, but it’s really nice and generous of Women’s Wear Daily and Variety to sort of bring us to the forefront for today and hopefully today only.”