7 Dirty Secrets Behind Red Carpet Dressing, Revealed by Celebrity Stylists

The Oscars are just a couple days away. The red carpet has been rolled out, voting has been closed and stylists are in the midst of perfecting their clients’ looks.

While the awards show is regarded as Hollywood’s biggest night, fashion is still a main focus. Nominated stars dress their best for what could be their Oscar-winning moment, and designers sit back and just hope that their creations hit the red carpet.

And although these celebrities look glamorous, the process to get there is far from it.

Here, stylists reveal the biggest secrets and misconceptions behind red carpet dressing.

1. First, the Fit

Celebrities have multiple fittings before choosing a final look. For stylist Krista Roser, whose clients include Kelsea Ballerini and Florida Georgia Line, it can take up to three meetings.

2. Too Much Is Never Enough

Stylists typically offer 10 to 30 dress options, and 20 pairs of shoes. “We can go through a whole room of options to achieve that red carpet choice — sometimes up to six rolling racks full of options,” said Roser. “[And there is] every color of shoes. It’s usually a rainbow when all set up.”

Stylist Andrew Gelwicks said that you can never have too many options. He explained, “I may have a vision in mind for what we want, but that can — and often does — change midway through when we try something else entirely that really sparks.”

While some stylists like to keep a tight edit, it is not unusual to pull at least two full racks of clothes for an event with 12 to 20 pairs of shoes per look, according to Christina Pacelli. Her clients include actors Laverne Cox, Danielle Brooks and Britney Young.

3. So Much to Do, So Little Time

Celebrities get ready hours before an event. Between hair and makeup, and putting on the final touches, stars normally start getting ready three to five hours before the red carpet. As for stylists, they tend to reserve one to two hours to set up, steam and prepare the celebrity.

4. It’s a Worldwide Search

Clothes are shipped in from around the world. “I gain inspiration from all over the place, including current and vintage fashion editorials, high-gloss campaigns, new and archive runway shows from designers such as Thierry Mugler, Alexander McQueen, John Paul Gaultier and Balenciaga,” Pacelli said. “I research collections from everywhere. Then I will request certain looks to arrive in time for my fitting, often being mailed to me from other parts of the world.”

5. Competition Is Fierce

It’s not easy to get product from certain designers and brands. Said Patricia Clarkson’s stylist, Victor Blanco, “Some collections are so unique that the designers only have one sample to be shared by all media outlets, celebrities, campaigns and production. It is not always as easy as you think to find what you want, when you want it.”

6. All in Good Time

The creation of a single look can take days, and on occasion, stylists may only have a few hours to pull together an entire outfit before an event. Blanco explained that he may have the look more than a month prior, however, there have been times when he has only had two days notice.

Added Gelwicks, “I like to have as much time as possible, at least one or two weeks, but that rarely ever happens. A lot of times it is one or two days notice. I’ve had some instances where I only have a few hours to pull everything together.”

7. It’s a Collaboration

Celebrities always have a say and it’s certainly a team effort to nail the perfect ensemble.

“There is so much more that goes behind every look the most people wouldn’t realize,” said Gelwicks. “My clients and I are constantly texting about inspirations and things we would like to try. Especially when it gets closer to the day of the carpet, we are sending photos back-and-forth of jewelry, hair and make up inspiration, and small details.”

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