By and  on January 3, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Fasten your seat belts. The countdown has begun for the 2007 awards season.

The entertainment industry will anoint actresses, actors, directors, singers, composers and costume designers, among others. The stakes are high, as well, for designers who will dress the elite gliding down the red carpet and retailers seeking to bask in the glow.

The linchpins are the stylists who pick the gowns and accessories and the hair and makeup professionals who concoct just the right look.

The festivities begin with the Golden Globes on Jan. 15, followed by the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Jan. 28; the Grammys, Feb. 11, and the Oscars, Feb. 25.

Here are some of the emerging behind-the-scenes stars:

Stylists

BRITT BARDO
Agency: Magnet
Clients: Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Growing up in Ohio and Indiana, Bardo wasn't exactly exposed to a range of careers available in fashion. She studied fashion photography, but traveling with a boyfriend to London and Paris broadened her horizons. While assisting uberstylist Andrea Lieberman for three years, she met Kate Hudson, as well as Jennifer Lopez, a Lieberman client who hired Bardo to be her full-time stylist for six months. Once she was a free agent, Hudson called and said, "‘Are you still styling? I hope so, because I need someone,''' Bardo recalled. Her approach to all her clients is "super-relaxed and effortless. I don't want anyone to look like they are trying too hard."

NICOLE CHAVEZ
Agency: Urban Siren
Clients: Rachel Bilson, Jamie King, Kristen Bell.

She has a degree in photography from Cal Polytech University, but Chavez ended up riding an "O.C." wave to her present vocation. After interning in the costume department of a Disney movie, Chavez landed a gig for the pilot season of "The O.C.," where she was in charge of Rachel Bilson's wardrobe. The two soon realized they had the same taste and began working together on the red carpet. While she's fond of putting her petite pals in Brian Reyes, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs and J. Mendel, she indulges her avant-garde side with model-turned-actress Jamie King. "With her, I have height on my side so we can go really fashion forward."

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