IN the second instalment of our exclusive awards-season series, Secrets of a Celebrity Stylist, we meet one of Hollywood's most sought-after names in the business: Elizabeth Stewart. As the sartorial confidante of some of our favourite celebrity red-carpet stars - including Viola Davis, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts and Jessica Chastain - she has cemented her credentials as a stylist who knows how to make her clients stand out from a sea of other stars. Here, she tells Vogue about her tricks and tips, infamous "fashion stories", and how she "gets someone down".
How do you approach a new client and what questions do you ask them?
"After researching their pictures, I get them in a room with lots of clothes and say, 'Strip down!' I don’t like talking about style, I prefer a hands-on approach as I need to see for myself - especially because people can get stuck in a rut with certain style rules they have set for themselves."
Who are stars that you work with repeatedly and why?
"I’ve worked with Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Chastain and Viola Davis for years. Once I 'get someone down', it becomes second nature to dress them. It’s also fun to work with new clients who love to explore and be daring, like Zoey Deutch and Annabelle Wallis. And Rebel Wilson, who asks me for things like cutaway police uniforms and angel wings!"
How do you stay on top of all the designers?
"Fashion shows, Vogue online, word of mouth, and sometimes they approach me!"
Do you have designers who you rely on for certain occasions?
"Riccardo Tisci moving on from Givenchy is very bittersweet as I’ve had countless incredible red-carpet moments with him. I’ve also loved working with Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen for many an Oscar moment."
What are your red-carpet tricks to enhance stars’ appearance?
"It’s all about underpinnings and tailoring once we get the right dress."
Do you embark on a planned campaign with stars, as in plan out the entire season ahead?
"That is exactly what I do. I like to put a plan in place, and then make changes. A client who shall not be named makes fun of me for my 'fashion stories', which comes from my magazine days."
Who have been the most style-savvy stars you have worked with?
"Cate Blanchett, Jessica Chastain and Zoey Deutch."
Can you tell us about an experience with a star you would rather forget?
"I worked with someone one time who not only could not make a decision, but had two friends on hand to make the decisions. She was perfectly lovely, but I could not work that way!"
What is a big no-no when it comes to dressing stars for the red carpet?
"Forcing them into something. They have to love it, and I have to love it!"
Do you ever give advice to stars you dress?
"Yes! We often discuss how to pose in a particular dress, for example."
Have there ever been any disasters and what have you learnt from them?
"Amanda Seyfried and I decided a dress looked better backwards once. I said, no problem, just tell everyone you liked it better that way! All the press the next day was how she wore her dress backwards by accident. I learnt that the picture tells the story and there should not be an addendum required to explain it!"
What has been your favourite outfit of all time?
"It’s always the next one! But I really love two of Cate’s: her 2011 Oscar Givenchy gown, and her black lace Armani at the 2015 Golden Globes."Secrets Of A Celebrity Stylist: Kate Young