THE PLAYER

Byline: Merle Ginsberg

Los Angeles publicist Marilyn Heston is testament to how big the awards fashion game has become.
Handbag designer Lulu Guinness, plus Christian Dior Couture women’s, men’s and jewelry, recently joined her growing stellar roster, already studded with Jimmy Choo, Vidal Sassoon, Nicole Miller and MAC.
What she and her clients both understand in having West Coast representation is how valuable the red carpet has become to branding.
Heston, a former film and celebrity publicist, broke into beauty and fashion four years ago when she met Tamara Mellen (then Yeardye), managing director of Jimmy Choo. Mellen soon after hired Heston to shine the Hollywood spotlight on the now-famous strappy stilettos.
The partnership launched the British brand into celebrities’ — and the public’s — consciousness. Editorial exposure and sales shot up, and “Choo’s” joined “Manolo’s” in the fashionista lexicon.
While Heston maintains a busy schedule given the number — and popularity — of her clients, she uses the quantity in a synergistic way.
“All these clients fit together,” observed Heston, an energetic blonde who can be regularly spotted religiously making the rounds, in spiky Choo’s, of course, at the city’s premiers and parties through her friendships with entertainment industry figures.
“No one’s in conflict. I respect each of their ambitions,” she said, noting her team is “proactive. You have to be imaginative. You have to pitch. You can’t be waiting around. It’s work.”
Heston is well aware that some actresses use stylists, some use publicists or their costume designers to get them clothes, and a very few skip the middle man completely.
Each type works differently, she noted.
“The celebrity publicists mostly work with one key client and call in clothes from just a few specific designers. They want lookbooks and visuals for their clients, and they make decisions quickly. The show’s costume designers are even faster. They started doing Golden Globe fittings the first week of January. They’re used to turning out weekly shows,” she shared.
“But celeb stylists are often pulling for more than one client. Sometimes they’re doing editorial shoots as well as dressing people for the red carpet. They linger over dresses. And you don’t know if your dress is being worn until the actress gets out of the limo.”

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