A group of fashion-forward celebrities, including Olivia Munn, January Jones, Alison Brie, Serayah and Lea Michele gathered at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on an unseasonably chilly Tuesday afternoon for an alfresco affair featuring a conversation with Vera Wang on Oscar fashion to mark the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s “Runway to Red Carpet” initiative in conjunction with WWD and Variety.
“Every woman here is calling me brave,” laughed Munn, who wore a look by Veronica Beard. “Of course, I picked a really sunny, bright outfit because we’re in L.A., but people keep saying, ‘You’re so brave,’ because they’re all bundled up in sweaters. I’m like, ‘I’m not brave. I’m cold.’”
Jones made a last-minute switch in honor of the weather. “I’m wearing sweats on the red carpet,” she laughed, referencing her outfit by Virgil Abloh’s Off-White. “I was going to wear a dress, but I added the hoodie because I was freezing. I was like, ‘Legs or arms?’ So I decided to show my legs and cover my arms.”
Jones attended in honor of her stylist Elizabeth Stewart, who was also on hand as a member of the host committee. Jones was eager to learn more about the talent featured in the “Runway to Red Carpet” showcase. “I like supporting new, fresh, inspired people — anyone who has a new voice — like Virgil who does Off-White,” she said. “I love watching up-and-coming designers. I put a lot of thought into each look I wear. I don’t ever want to bore myself. I really don’t care what other people think. I like feeling excited about what I’m wearing or what look I’m trying to embody. I don’t ever want to do anything twice.”
Munn agreed with Jones’ sentiment, adding, “It’s great to be part of something where they’re shining a light on up-and-coming designers,” she said, adding that she could relate as an actress. “We’ve all been in that place where you’re trying to get your work noticed. You’re trying to get these opportunities and chances. It’s great that the CFDA — for so many years now — really brings up unknown artists who’ve been working for a long time trying to make it. It’s always great to be a part of things where we’re helping break new artists and giving them that chance.”
Munn’s favorite recent discoveries include designers Tanya Taylor and Chloe Gosselin, the latter of whom attended the event in honor of her participation with the initiative. “I love her shoes,” Munn said of Gosselin. “I can wear her shoes with my cutoff jean shorts or a pretty dress. She makes these bows that are so thin and dainty. I love the detail and the delicacy in her shoes.”
Meanwhile, Alison Brie kept close to her stylist Cristina Ehrlich, who also hosted the event. “She always does right by me,” Brie said, clad in Giambattista Valli, while discussing what goes into creating the perfect red-carpet moment.
“I’m always looking to showcase something a little different from outfit to outfit. The first thing we always talk about is, ‘What moment did we just have and where do we want to go from there?’ We build upon that to the next thing. For me, it’s about getting into a different character for each look and really making it an entire cohesive story from top to toe. It’s about having fun, being myself, and trying new things.”
Other guests on hand for the Karma Automative-sponsored affair included celebrity stylists and co-hosts Ehrlich, Stewart, Karla Welch and Law Roach as well as Hong Chau, Jaime King, Nikki Reed, Alexandra Daddario, Angela Sarafyan, Aurora James, Ashley Madekwe, Brad Goreski, Carly Cushnie, Chloe Gosselin, Daya, Diane von Furstenberg, Elaine Irwin, Elizabeth Chambers, Irene Neuwirth, Jaime King, Jennifer Fisher, Jennifer Meyer, Jonathan Simkhai, Kacy Hill, Olivia Holt, Serayah, Shay Mitchell and Sophia Bush.
Sarafyan had a fan-girl moment upon spotting von Furstenberg. “I love her,” Sarafyan said, before pausing to introduce herself to the designer. “It’s so nice to meet you,” she gushed.
“We’re a family of designers,” reflected von Furstenberg. “We do everything we can to promote designers. This was a great opportunity for young designers to bring their clothes and hopefully be selected to go on the red carpet.”
Guests tucked into a lunch featuring beetroot salads, wild salmon and chicken paillard while listening to a question-and-answer between WWD’s Marcy Medina and fellow host Vera Wang, who alluded to the current climate in fashion, and beyond, while walking the red carpet earlier. “I think it’s been a significant time for all of us,” she said, referring to Time’s Up and the various sexual harassment allegations surrounding both industries. “When we all come together, it shows how powerful we can all be and that we’re not just there in some superficial sense.”
Wang discussed her experience with the Golden Globes. “I think what’s great about it is that it called attention [to an issue] and made a statement,” she said. “We were universally on board. All our worlds came together that one night and I think that’s so incredibly powerful and valuable.” Wang added, “I’m known for wearing black and dressing in black, so that wasn’t difficult for the Golden Globes — and to get the opportunity to dress Meryl Streep is a dream for any designer. She’s Hollywood royalty.”
Beyond the red carpet, Wang was also recently responsible for creating custom looks for Olympian Nathan Chen. “Nathan represents a new culture, a new era, a new style,” she said. “He’s a pretty groovy kid. I feel like in some way I brought some sophistication in the beginning of the evolution of Nathan Chen. He’s not going to go away.”
Meanwhile, Brie admitted she was already looking at her day ahead. “I’m probably going to go for a hike after this,” she laughed. “I’m going to try and get some exercise in, but I don’t want to ruin my hair and makeup, so that I can keep it for dinner later. I’m having a night on the town with friends because who wants to waste this amazing hair and makeup?”
Stewart, Ehrlich and Roach were all looking ahead as well in preparation for the upcoming Oscars and every event in between. “We’ve got options,” Roach said of pulling pieces for his Oscar nominated client Mary J Blige. “We’ll have a fitting next week. We’ve worked with a few really amazing designers that have done custom dresses. We’re excited to see them and try them on. Mary’s been doing tour days and dieting, so she’s ready.”
Chambers, who will be attending the Oscars with her husband Armie Hammer and his nominated film “Call Me by Your Name,” shared, “We’re looking at sketches and colors and gowns. We’re down to three designers. It’s always fun to see those sketches come to life. We’re getting there. It’s so much fun.”
Stewart confessed that her afternoon involved multitasking. “I can’t even believe I’m here,” she laughed. “I was working in the car on the way here and I’m going to work in the car on the way back.”