Behind the Scenes: Styling Celebrities for the Academy Awards &
My Predictions for Hot Red-Carpet Looks
Douglas Hannant Photos: Jemal Countess from Wire Image
Celebrity Stylist’s Dream: Creating a Red-Carpet Look for the Academy Awards
I’ve been a huge fan of the Oscars’ Red Carpet since I was a teenager. Now, 17 years later, I’m fortunate to dress actresses and presenters for a variety of award shows, including the Academy Awards, the most prestigious of them all. I’ve created awards-show red-carpet looks for celebs like Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei, Sienna Miller, Tyra Banks, Claudia Schiffer, Kristin Chenoweth, and Michelle Monaghan. What’s it like getting a celebrity ready for the
In a Celebrity’s Hotel Room: Pulling the Oscar Fashion Together
Oscar day is so exciting. I spend hours sitting in celebrities’ hotel rooms with the dress, the jewelry, the Spanx, the shoes, and the bag neatly laid out . . . anxiously waiting for them to slip into their red-carpet gown. After all, it takes 4 hours of hair and makeup to create the red-carpet look. The most anticipated item of the night, the Oscar dress, is the final step in the process. Everyone in the room holds their breath as the actress steps into it.
What to Do When Your A-Lister Decides Against Her Oscar Dress?
It is a nerve-racking day for everyone involved. What happens, and yes it does happen, when a celebrity decides not to wear the dress designed for her to wear on Oscar night? Panic happens! The jewelry, the shoes, the bag—they all have to be changed. As a stylist, you always need to be prepared with multiple selections for your celebrity client.
My Favorite Moment: Nominated Actress Exits Hotel—Happy
Once the actress is happily dressed, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Now, I put the lipstick and compact in her bag and exit the hotel room holding the train of her Oscar dress in my hands—making sure it doesn’t touch the floor. I love this moment!
Knowing My Oscar Fashion Really Is Picture Perfect
It really is a high when you see one of your clients step out of a limousine to begin her walk down the red carpet full of paparazzi. You know this photo will be seen around the world.
While Celebrities Walk the Red Carpet, I Catch the Red-Eye
Often, I stay in the car and go directly to LAX to take the red-eye back to NYC. I want to be there in the morning for my 2 kids. As soon as I land, I log on to my computer and get the 411 on all the actresses’ ensembles. It still excites me after all these years.
And the Academy Award for Best-Dressed Actress on the Red Carpet Goes To . . .
This is the night that transforms nominees and presenters into Hollywood starlets. Who will stand out on February 27th? No one can definitively predict what celebrities will wear on the red carpet—but I can try!
Predictions for the Oscar-Winning Red-Carpet Looks You’ll See at the
1. Red-Carpet Trend: Plunging Necklines
Designers: Armani Privé, Ralph Lauren (pictured above)
Celebrity: Expect to see host Anne Hathaway in sexy, yet sophisticated, jaw-dropping looks by Armani, one of her perennial favorites.
2. Red-Carpet Trend: Bold Color
We might see some pops of color, especially red. Perhaps on some of the more mature nominees.
Designers: Donna Karan, Naeem Khan, Venexiana (pictured above)
Celebrities: Melissa Leo is going to be wearing Marc Bouwer. . . something glamorous. I could also see Annette Bening or Helena Bonham Carter in red.
3. Red-Carpet Trend: Muted Palette
A sense of nostalgia is sure to prevail on Oscar night with the recessionista spirit of the 1930s and ’40s aptly lending itself to the styles of today. Expect a natural waistline and muted tones.
Designers: Michael Kors, Gucci, Valentino, Rodarte, Donna Karan, Douglas Hannant
Celebrities: Presenters and former Academy Award winners like Sandra Bullock are sure to favor looks that hark back to a bygone era, in subdued but stylish frocks. Scarlett Johansson, who will also be presenting, tends to embrace the neutrals in a retro silhouette.
4. Red-Carpet Trend: Belle of the Ball
Designers: Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa, Christian Dior, Reem Acra, Elie Saab, Douglas Hannant (pictured above)
Celebrities: Stars like Natalie Portman and Amy Adams will favor the feminine frills, even if they transform their innocent confections with a bit of edge.
5. Red-Carpet Trend: Winter White
Designers: Prada, L’Wren Scott, Yves Saint Laurent, Georges Chakra (pictured above)
Celebrity: Nicole Kidman—the minimalist queen is sure to favor this simple and sleek aesthetic.
6. Red-Carpet Trend: Metallic Details
Designers: Marchesa, Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Armani Privé, Jason Wu, Zuhair Murad (pictured above)
Celebrity: All that glitters is perfect for Oscar gold. Jennifer Lawrence may have preferred color in the past, but come Oscar night, look out for elegance and ease with a bit of sparkle.
7. Red-Carpet Trend: Old Hollywood Glamour
Designers: Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Zac Posen, Valentino, Badgley Mischka
Celebrity: Michelle Williams—Old Hollywood Glamour is perfect for the girl with curves and sex appeal. Expect layers of tulle, lace, sequins, and embroidered details.
Sought-After Celebrity Stylist & Fashion Trendsetter
Jill Swid is one of the most sought-after celebrity and fashion stylists working in the entertainment industry today, with a client roster that boasts the biggest names in Hollywood, music, advertising, fashion, and media. She appears on television as a style and beauty expert, and has been featured in top-rated programs on NBC, ABC, VH1, and the E! Network. In 2005, Entertainment Weekly’s annual “Must Have” issue ranked her number 9 on a list of more than 100 Hollywood stars and leading trendsetters for her powerful influence on American style.
Personal Stylist Clients? From Tyra Banks to Real Women
Her personal clients include Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet, Tyra Banks, Brooke Shields, Claudia Schiffer, and Michelle Monaghan. She’s also styled a wildly diverse mix of international icons—including Angelina Jolie, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Gwen Stefani, Kurt Cobain, Paris Hilton, and Public Enemy—for dozens of publications. And, she is a personal stylist for “real” women and men.
Setting Fashion Trends as a Magazine Fashion Director & Contributor
At Talk, Spin, Mirabella, and Radar magazines, Swid served as the fashion director, and she’s brought her fashion and beauty expertise to styling photo shoots, covering trends, and performing makeovers on the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Condé Nast Traveler, People, Good Housekeeping, and O: The Oprah Magazine.
Fashion Consulting Crossover into Music & Advertising
In the worlds of advertising, music, and fashion, her work is well-known. Swid has directed looks for designer Michael Kors and styled music videos, album covers, and artists for Columbia Records. Her work has appeared in dozens of TV and print ads, including campaigns for Victoria’s Secret, Levis, Macy’s, and Colgate. Legendary music video director Paul Hunter tapped Swid for the “Got Milk” television campaign, and Hanes called upon her for TV ads in which Swid performed a dramatic makeover on Marisa Tomei.
Fashion Stylist Jill Swid Takes a Turn in Front of the Camera
On television, Swid has appeared as a fashion, style, and beauty expert on Oprah, NBC’s Today Show, E!’s Live Oscar Countdown, The View, Extra, VH1, HSN, and the BBC’s Fashion Avenue With Jodie Kidd. In 2002, she starred as herself on the ABC reality series The Family, in which she dispensed fashion, beauty, and style advice, and performed makeovers on the show’s contestants.
It All Started in High School Working for Donna Karan
Swid began her career in fashion before she even received her high school diploma, working for fashion legend Donna Karan. She currently resides in downtown Manhattan with her husband and 2 children, Jack and Julia. To contact Jill Swid about her styling services, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trying to Find a Unique Oscar Party Idea
Thinking about the Academy Awards and the Oscar party I might have around watching the awards show, I couldn’t come up with one original idea that you couldn’t just google. I mean, gold Oscar statue cookies, red carpet leading to front door, goodie bags of crap, reproduce Wolfgang’s menu—whatev. But also bore, snore, chore . . .
Watching the Oscars: Who Wore What—and Who Makes Too Much
So, here’s my take on the only Oscar party worth throwing this year. It’s the Academy Awards, THE Oscars. Yes, it’s “the biggie,” but honestly, after a month of nominations and awards to superstars, actors, singers, wannabes we watch and obsess about, I’m sort of over it. We like to separate the gorg from the overstyled, underdressed, overexposed, and those who are just tremendously overpaid. Let’s call me OSCAR (the) GROUCH this year.
Go Sweet or Go Home: Dessert-Themed Oscar Party
Let’s flip this party on its head and honor each of our inner grouches for this Oscar party. Since I only ever really watch the Academy Awards preshow and just try to watch the awards, I’m always with my girlfriends, and we start drinking Champagne when the way-early stars show up. Being true to my “eat dessert first” self, I’m going to do an all-dessert-inspired party. If my guests can’t find sustenance in booze and sugar, hey, go to someone else’s house.
Oscar Party Food? Desserts to Match the Best Picture Nominees
• Black Swan: Easy! Black-and-white cookies.
• The Fighter: Boston cream pie.
• Inception: Chocolate dream dessert, or cookies and milk?
• The Kids Are All Right: Gotta go with cupcakes.
• The King’s Speech: Sticky toffee pudding or shortbread cookies.
• 127 Hours: Lord, this one’s hard . . . Gorp? . . . Cliff Bars?
• The Social Network: Nerds candy, or Smart Food or Pirate’s Booty snacks (while that’s not dessert, we need something salty in the mix).
• Toy Story 3: Pez, or gummy candy in cute shapes.
• True Grit: Smores.
• Winter’s Bone: Middle America—Twinkies? Ring Dings?
Award Your Inner Oscar the Grouch
And for extra-snarky topping on your Oscar party, have discussions and award prizes for: worst outfit (or the OH MY GOD WHAT ARE THEY WEARING PRIZE), bad hair, too much makeup, bad panty lines, ugliest date, and rudest losing nominee. Who gets the award for the fakest “oh, I’m so happy for you that you beat me” smile or hug?
Make a grid with each category of horridness and vote each section, then announce who the Green Oscar goes to (and yes, we all have a bit of envy over the most beautiful women, so green is fitting).
As I always say, if you want a different answer, ask a different girl.
By Katrina Caspelich