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July 2022

Behind the Scenes: Styling Celebrities for the Academy Awards &
My Predictions for Hot Red-Carpet Looks

By Jill Swid, Guest Editor


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
Academy Awards?

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
Academy Awards

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
(pictured above)
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
(pictured above)
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.

Related Links
Go Sweet or Go Home! The Other Oscar Party
Wines & Best Movie Nominees: Pairings for the Academy Awards
From Mad Men to Gossip Girl to Glee: TV-Inspired Fashion

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4 Responses to “Behind the Scenes: Styling Celebrities for the Academy Awards &
My Predictions for Hot Red-Carpet Looks”
  1. Debbie Glade says:

    This is a great read! Now I can’t wait to watch the Oscars!

  2. Shelley Rosen says:

    WOW, I wish I could hear more of these great “behind the scenes’ stories on the triumphs of fashion and “pullling it all together”. It’s so exciting. This is America’s Royal evening. Way to go Jill

  3. Tyler Tichelaar says:

    What a fascinating article and an amazing career. I so admire your talent, Jill, not to mention how much stress you must have to deal with to finish your work.


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