24 Feb 19
The Scottish Sun
THEY will be playing best supporting roles at the Oscars tonight – but you won’t see any of them on screen.
A host of frantic stylists are putting the final touches to gowns for potential gong winners including Lady Gaga, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman.
It took 1,700 man-hours to sew beads on Emma Stone’s 2017 gown
Four leading film fashionistas today lift the lid on the tantrums, last-minute dramas and tricks that keep actresses at the Academy Awards looking . . . well, like movie stars.
Elizabeth Saltzman, who has dressed huge names including Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman for the big night, said: “You frequently have to sew them back into a dress or cut off the train because they’ve stepped through it.
“But there’s always a fix and the world will never know.
“When something goes wrong, whatever it is, we can fix it. I’ve had a make-up artist drop a red lipstick on a pale pink dress, but what are you going to do?
Cate Blanchett in the heavy chain mail that left her skin red in 2007
“Scream about it? Will that help? No. You just go get some baby powder and you work on it until you don’t see it.
“Stuff happens. No matter how stressful it is, I never let clients see it in me because it will feel ten times worse for them. I’m there to make it work.”
At tonight’s 91st Academy Awards — where Brit Olivia Colman, 45, is a frontrunner for Best Actress — the total cost of all the outfits and styling is expected to be £55million.
But cash does not always help — as in the case of Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior gown in 2013.
This cape made Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2012 look an instant classic
Worth £3million, it was the most expensive dress in Oscars history — but was not designed for its wearer to climb stairs.
Jennifer ended up tripping on it as she headed up on stage to collect her Best Actress award.
Other infamous fashion moments include Gwyneth, 46, arriving in a see-through top with no bra in 2002.
And in 2017, a gown slashed to the waist showed photographers far too much of embarrassed starlet Blanca Blanco.
Pregnancy did not cramp Natalie Portman’s style in 2011
Unsurprisingly, stress levels among actresses over their looks ahead of big awards can be sky-high, prompting diva meltdowns.
Kate Young, who was voted Hollywood’s most influential stylist last year and whose clients include Rachel Weisz and Margot Robbie, remembers one star in particular.
She said: “A former client kicked a tailor who was pinning the hem of her dress — just because she thought she could. I don’t work with her any more.”
The stylist, who has 416,000 Instagram followers, also told how she almost had her own meltdown when she decided Michelle Williams should wear an orange outfit in 2012.
Michelle Williams was bold in this orange dress at the 2012 ceremony
Kate said: “I didn’t sleep for, like, two weeks because of nerves. I told my best friend, ‘It’s orange, what do you think?’
“And she said: ‘Oof! Really, Kate? Orange?!’ ” The look ended up winning Michelle a spot on best-dressed lists.
Kate also revealed that some designers refuse to give dresses to Oscar nominees who they feel do not match their style.
She said: “I have taken on clients who maybe haven’t looked the way brands see as their ideal. Brands have an approved list. When I ask for clothes with a new client, I often get a quick ‘No’.
Olivia Colman is up for Best Actress at the Oscars
“That’s when I get on the phone or take them to lunch and say, ‘This is what I’m doing with her. This is my vision. You can trust me not to misuse the clothes’.
“Sometimes it works — and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Kate, who started out as assistant to Vogue editor Anna Wintour, says the key to a top Oscars outfit is good underwear.
She explained: “I like using undergarments to build a body, for example hip pads, good bras, bodysuits and shoulder pads.”
Lady Gaga is nominated for her smash hit film A Star Is Born
One grateful recipient of her styling tips is Natalie Portman, who won praise for the purple Rodarte maternity gown Kate chose for her at the 2011 Oscars.
Kate had also steered her through her fashion decisions for the whole awards season.
Natalie, 37, said later: “It’s very lucky to have someone who curates those choices for you, so we actresses can do our full-time jobs — act.
“It’s especially lucky to have a stylist who has taste as excellent as Kate’s.”
Glenn Close is the most nominated actress without a win
Meanwhile, Petra Flannery had the honour of dressing La La Land star Emma Stone, 30, in 2017 — but needed some help.
She said: “The entire dress was hand-beaded on to lace. It took more than 1,700 hours and a team of 11 from the Givenchy Atelier. It’s a beaded wonder. When you see it up close it’s a marvel of various golden colours, shapes and sizes.”
But the elaborate style meant epic fitting sessions, which Petra tried to keep fun by speaking to Emma in the style of stars of Hollywood’s golden age.
She said: “I love to speak as if we are from the Forties.
Regina King is favourite to win Supporting Actress
“It’s a take on Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant’s transatlantic accents.”
Elizabeth Stewart has styled actresses at 18 Oscar ceremonies — including Gwyneth Paltrow in 2012 when her caped white Tom Ford gown was hailed as one of the best looks in red-carpet history.
She says planning a dress for a big awards night — including the various parties — begins months in advance.
Elizabeth explained: “The amount of events is kind of astonishing. It’s a bit chaotic, so I try to be a bastion of organisation and calm for my clients.
Amy Adams is also nominated at this years Oscar’s
“Prep is hugely important — we need to send a client off with all of their looks ready.
“We have a look and a back- up look for every single event, accessorise it head to toe, tailor it to the nines and, often in high-pressure situations, I just have to make it work.
“I recently had to fit a client on set. She was shooting and it turned out she had 15 minutes and we had to get her fit for two awards shows. Somehow we got it done.”
Elizabeth dressed Cate Blanchett, 49, in her 2007 metal mesh Armani gown — which was far heavier than the stylist realised.
Rachel Weisz is nominated alongside Emma Stone for The Favourite
She said: “The day after the Oscars, the year she wore the silver chain mail Armani, Cate’s skin was bright red.
“We weighed the dress on the bathroom scale and it was 40lb!
“But you would never have known it by the way she carried the dress.”
Elizabeth says all actresses know the gown — and how they wear it — is crucial.
She said: “For the talent, a great dress keeps them relevant.”
Above, the four stylists reveal their rules for making sure their clients look like winners.
[boxout headline=”Regina tipped as victorious” intro=”FIVE women are up for Best Supporting Actress – these are the odds for the favourites”]REGINA KING – 1/3: 48-year-old already has a Golden Globe for role in If Beale Street Could Talk.
AMY ADAMS – 4/1: The 44-year-old plays Dick Cheney’s wife in political comedy-drama Vice.
RACHEL WEISZ – 11/2: In The Favourite the 48-year-old Brit plays Queen Anne’s close friend.
Elizabeth Stewart believes good tailoring makes a good outfit
GOOD tailoring is everything. “Proper tailoring and under-pinnings are critical. It depends on a person’s needs. Some need to be cinched in at the waist, others need bust support, some have different proportions.”
Stick to one-of-a-kind dresses. “Particularly for the Oscars, I use custom gowns so no one will turn up in the same dress.
“Stylists speak to one another to exchange information behind the scenes. You know who you can talk to.”
Petra thinks good fashion means taking risks
DON’T be scared. “I’m always that person who takes a bit of a risk if I feel it looks good and my client is 100 per cent OK with it.
“You’re putting a stamp on something. It should be talked about.
“A big red carpet no-no is putting someone in a dress that has already been worn.”
Get the shoes right. “My red-carpet tricks include perfect tailoring and finding the right heel. When it comes to heels, it’s about finding a shoe that gives confidence.”
Kate Young wants everyone to avoid turqoise
AVOID turquoise. “My big no-nos are a dress someone has worn before – and turquoise, because I have an illogical hatred of the colour!
“And I don’t like an asymmetrical hem.”
Always try on the dress before doing the client’s hair and make-up. “One time we found a dress didn’t fit, as the tailoring was badly done.
“So now we make sure we try on the dress before doing hair and make-up so there is time to fix any problems.”
Elizabeth Saltzman has dressed huge names including Gwyneth Paltrow
FASHION does not dictate the look – instead, the actress does. “The client always comes before the gown.
“You have to think about the person, their body, their level of confidence, their colouring, their wishes and needs – what will be successful for them.”
Stay calm. “No matter how stressful an occasion gets, I never let my clients see the stress come out in me.
“It will feel ten times worse for them. I’m there to make it work.”
[boxout headline=”Glenn Close to win at last” intro=”THESE are the three favourites in the running for Best Actress, with odds from William Hill.”]GLENN CLOSE – 1/12: Up for The Wife, the 71-year-old star is the most nominated actress without a win.
OLIVIA COLMAN – 6/1: Norfolk lass, 45, wowed fans as Queen Anne in dark comedy The Favourite.
LADY GAGA – 12/1: A Star Is Born sees the 32-year-old play a singer whose career overtakes her lover’s.
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