Summer is almost here, and for major movie stars, that means one thing: Blockbuster season.
While we line up at the box office to see movies like The Great Gatsby or Star Trek: Into Darkness, starlets run a worldwide marathon of premieres, interviews, and even film festivals like Cannes, each one requiring a different outfit. It is undoubtedly glamorous–but it’s also a lot of hard work for their stylist.
We wanted to know just what kind of work goes into planning a celebrity’s wardrobe for a media tour, so we caught up with Cher Coulter–stylist to Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Kate Bosworth and Sienna Miller, just to name a few–to get all the behind-the-scenes details on press prep.
Fashionista: What kind of work goes into planning for a major press tour?
Coulter: A lot of planning goes into a major press tour. First of all, a stylist has to consider the movie–Who is the audience? Where will it be showing? If the movie is a huge blockbuster, your client’s styling needs to be palatable and appealing to a larger audience, while still remaining true to their own personality.
Weeks of research must be done before pulling looks and trips to showrooms even begin. A stylist must look into the trends of the moment while still keeping in mind their clients tastes. Weeding through show-after-show-after-show on Style.com is a must. Personally, I love finding a “gem” within a collection I wouldn’t normally consider.
Once you’ve decided on options, it’s time for the first fitting where, ideally, looks are confirmed. This is usually followed by a second fitting to lock in shoes and accessories. The last step is photographing each look, labeling items, bagging and cleaning everything before it goes into a case and off with the client.
Are all the outfits planned in advance? Are there “extras” in case one doesn’t work?
All the outfits are planned in advance; often these tours sweep through many cities and your client has back-to-back interviews, every day, all day. It’s part of the job as a stylist to make sure the client doesn’t even have to think about what they’ll wear each day. They should be able to get dressed in the provided outfit, feel confident and go.
In regards to the extras, I will throw them in just in case. Often, I’ll include little dresses and jackets that work with multiple pieces. I try not to overpack shoes as they tend to take up a lot of space.
Is there an effort to coordinate outfits with those of co-stars?
I think it is great to know what co-stars are wearing so they don’t look too similar standing side-by-side–that’s worse than two co-stars in clashing outfits. I believe clashing shows each person’s style personality, and that’s good!
There is always an individual fashion “story” or “narrative” to be told, but coordinating co-stars’ outfits is very atypical. Most of the time girls will wear what they like.
What kind of difficulties come with planning a long press tour?
Coordinating dresses is quite challenging and making sure they arrive to the client in time and in one piece is often stressful. Dresses are in such high demand worldwide, and often times there’s only one sample to be had. A dress a stylist selects for a client’s press tour might be tailored in Los Angeles, but then, last minute, gets called back to the Public Relations firm for an editorial shoot in Paris and then sent directly to a client in, say, Brazil.
What is the worst thing that can happen, style wise, while the celebrity is on tour?
The worst thing that can occur is when the hair and make-up contradict the look. The stylist is not always able to be present the day of the event and although they’ve undoubtedly had conversations with hair and makeup beforehand, things can get changed due to weather, mood, or new opinions.
What kind of input does the celebrity have in picking outfits?
My clients all have a great sense of fashion, so it tends to be a very collaborative process–countless back and forth conversations, trading inspiration images from fashion magazines and Style.com. That’s the fun part–it’s playing dress up with your friends!
Are there events or locations where you try to be more adventurous or more conservative?
I always get excited about a red carpet event in Paris, Japan or London. Events abroad are where you can really amp it up a bit and experiment.
How do you stay on top of all the looks?
My iPhone camera is my lifesaver. It records everything I pull, looks I put together and items that have been returned. I take immense pride in teaching assistants to document and file every single thing that passes through my studio. Staying on top of pulls and returns ensures that things don’t fall through the cracks and are returned on time.
What have been some of your favorite looks/celebrities to dress?
All my clients are amazing to dress. I loved Kate Bosworth, her McQueen look for the 2009 Vanity Fair Party. Her hair, make-up and shoes all came together and the overall look was astounding. With Rosie [Huntington-Whitely], it was a Gucci mustard and black gown she wore in Moscow for the 2011 Moscow Film Festival. My favorite look with Elizabeth [Olsen] was the black Dior gown she wore to the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar After Party. I loved Nicole Richie in the amazing cut-away, black Anthony Vacarello dress that she wore to the 9th Annual Style Awards in New York City. I also loved Sienna Miller in YSL for the Los Angeles premiere of GI Joe.
One of my all time favorite was a dress I designed for Emily Mortimer to wear to the New York of The Pink Panther. I was so pleased with the outcome. I remember taking my sketch and the fabric to a tailor in West Los Angeles and begging him to make it which he did. I loved it.
Check out some of Coulter’s favorite press tour looks: