Jennifer Lawrence at the 5th Annual Academy Awards Oscars, Los Angeles, 2013.
Awards season comes to a glittering climax with the 88th Academy Awards, or 2016 Oscars, taking place in Hollywood at the end of this month. We’re already giddy with anticipation as we prepare ourselves for all the gorgeous ball gowns and evening dresses that will be parading down the red carpet. And with Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence up for awards, we know we’re going to be in for a treat.
Just how do Tinseltown’s finest always manage to look so utterly perfect in their red-carpet attire? In the final part of our Awards Season Special we asked the brilliant A-list stylist Ali Levine to reveal her top ten tips for emulating red carpet style. Ali began her styling career on-set for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Carey Mulligan and Shia LaBeouf, In Time with Justin Timberlake, New Girl with Zooey Deschanel and Kanye West’s World Throne Tour. She now dresses actresses for the red carpet including Breeda Wool, Renee Olstead and Taylor Hasselhoff.
Stylist Ali Levine
1. Start with a budget and stick to it. Whatever look you’re recreating, know what you’re going to want to create. A cocktail dress, a gown etc, know your budget.
2. Choose the kind of look you are going for (sexy, glam, funky, neutral, clean cut/ classic) and stick to that. Aspire to who you want to be and channel them. Pick an outfit that you will be comfortable in and plan on wearing it in advance. Celebrities may decide sometimes last-minute what to wear, but they still had racks on racks of clothing to go through beforehand. This way your heart and mind is set in it.
3. Push your colour scope: Everyone wants to wear black, it’s a go-to, it’s easy and it doesn’t take much effort. My job as a stylist is to push you out of your comfort zone. So when you create your own red-carpet look, remember the stars pushed the envelope too! Find colours that work well with your skin and pop your natural beauty. Match nail polish to accessories, not the dress.
Sarah Hyland at the SAG Awards, California, 2015.
4. If wearing a flashy outfit, keep accessories simple so they don’t clash.
5. Choose a hairstyle that flows with the rest of the outfit.
6. Wear shoes that you can walk comfortably in. Unless you’re a pro in heels, find something that you can walk in, even if it’s a platform so you have some comfort.
7. Selfie Time! Lights, Camera, Action…take a picture of yourself! I always take photos from many angles to see what looks best. When you recreate that red carpet moment you want to feel beautiful. I always say that confidence is your best accessory. See how it looks from the front, back and side. Which is most flattering?
8. Cutlets are your best friend and I don’t mean chicken! Cutlets have helped many of my clients less fortunate in that area to have a chest – and a perky one! Of course if you already have that department covered, you’re one step ahead of the rest of us! Also, going braless is definitely a red carpet thing to do and can sometimes make life easier, if you use stickies and cups etc.
9. Let me tell you, who’s your best friend? Well for stylists, celebrities and now you! – A TAILOR. This is truly my secret weapon! You can tailor any dress to look that much more expensive because it will fit you like a custom gown. This is something that should be in everyone’s budget.
10. Many of us ladies sweat from nerves and everything else; well guess what, so do my clients and many celebs! Sweat protectors are the best for this! Throw them on while you’re getting ready or throw on in the car, and just remember to take them off before you get to your special event.
For more insider secrets, see top Hollywood stylist Anita Patrickson’s guide to red carpet dresses, and find out how to create the perfect red-carpet look by costume designer and celebrity dresser Maeve Reilly. Or for some A-list inspiration, enjoy Team LBD’s round-up of the most iconic red carpet dresses of all time.