In recent candid roundtable at The Hollywood Reporter, stylists for stars like Zendaya, Allison Janney, and Mary J. Blige talk about the misconceptions outsiders have of their industry.
The stylists —which include Jason Bolden, Law Roach, Tara Swennen, Ilaria Urbinati, and Jeanne Yang—talk about what it was like to find out that actresses were only doing black dresses for the Golden Globes in solidarity with Time’s Up:
SWENNEN: We were all in panic mode.
YANG: We were all on text chains.
BOLDEN: It was the first time everyone banded together.
URBINATI: I had a custom tux made for one of my clients for the BAFTA Awards that we couldn’t end up using because we had to do black at the last minute. For the BAFTAs, they made an announcement. But with the Globes, I had publicists calling me, “Are the men wearing black? Do you have to wear a black tux shirt?”
SWENNEN: It was a decision that was made very late in the game. Allison Janney’s Mario Dice dress had a little white beading, and she was very fearful. In the end, I said that I didn’t want that to impede our creativity. So we did it, and it was one thing that set her apart at the Globes.
They also talk about how most people don’t really understand what stylists do or how they make money (some say they actually lose money on the job, because they may only get $1,000 per look from a studio that doesn’t factor in alterations, shipping, assistant salaries, etc.) And god forbid you have a client who is bigger than a sample size. Here’s the group on the biggest misconceptions about what their job entails:
SWENNEN [That we] just shop.
URBINATI Thinking we just show up and put clothes on people, that we snap our fingers and there are our favorite looks. They don’t understand the item you see go down the runway is the only one in the world.
BOLDEN And it’s circulating …
URBINATI … at trunk shows, to editorial shoots at Vogue or Elle. It really has almost nothing to do with what dress you think is best. The dress has to be available at the time you need it, the fashion house has to want to lend it to that particular client, then it has to come, it has to fit, and they have to like it.
The full-length roundtable is illuminating, especially as celebrity styling is beginning to transition into more off the carpet jobs. As highlighted in a recent New York Times story, the red carpet walk has been replaced by the walk from the car to Starbucks, with jobs for day stylists on the rise, something that gets touched on in the roundtable, too. “Those samples could all be going to the airport on a Jenner and it’s game over,” Swennen says.