Gazing at Halle Berry’s flawless body in a sheer, body-hugging couture gown may well inspire envy — and pledges of more trips to the gym. But many of the world’s most beautiful celebrities need help to look that way.

This story first appeared in the July 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For star stylists, choosing a red-carpet gown is only part of the job. Just as much work goes into making sure those famous bodies look as close to perfect as possible in front of unforgiving flashbulbs and cameras.

“Even actresses don’t have perfect figures,” said Jessica Paster, who styles Elle and Dakota Fanning, Emily Blunt and Diane Lane, among others. “All those shapers and helpers work beautifully and are so important.”

Among Paster’s go-to items — her studio is full of bins and buckets organized by color and style — are Commando nude-colored thongs that “make you look like you are wearing nothing. You don’t see a line,” and CK’s Perfect Fit Convertible Bra.

“It goes strapless, halter, one-shoulder,” said Paster, who often adds low back strap bra extenders for bare-backed gowns. She also swears by Wacoal’s waist cincher, adding, “It takes away four to five inches.”

Rob Zangardi, who with partner Mariel Haenn dresses Jennifer Lopez and Rachel McAdams, calls Wacoal’s iBra “one of the softest bras with just the right amount of push-up.…It’s great with your favorite dress or a T-shirt because it doesn’t cut into the back too much.”

George Kotsiopulous, who dresses Freida Pinto, relies on Maidenform’s Easy Up Pull On Waistnipper.

“A well-defined midsection guarantees a great photo on or off the red carpet, so I’m pretty much waist-obsessed,” he said. “This perfect modern corset gives an incredible hourglass shape for those with or without curves.”

As Paster put it, “You could have the most beautiful dress but if you don’t have the right undergarments, it can ruin everything.”

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