Estee Stanley has been creating some of the most stylish and iconic looks for red carpets around the world for the past 15 years. The globally renowned stylist counts some of the biggest fashion icons as her clients including Lea Michele, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Jessica Biel, Amy Adams and Christina Hendricks, and her looks are responsible for some serious column inches.
With awards season in full swing we caught up with (a very busy!) Estee Stanley to find out what goes in to those A-list looks and the good, the bad, and the ugly of being one of Hollywood’s most revered awards show stylists…
You’re a huge name in the world of red carpet styling. How did it all begin?
I needed a job and I was always dressing up and dressing my friends. I knew I was good at putting clothes together so styling seemed like the obvious choice. It really was that simple!
Who was your first client?
You’ll be surprised by this. I did a music video for Sugar Ray. It was their first music video. Funky-fresh is how I styled them and it went down really well.
When did you first realise that you had ‘made it’?
When people started copying the way Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen dressed.
Who have you styled for the red carpet?
To name a few, Jessica Biel, Ashley Olsen, Penelope Cruz, Lea Michelle. It is very important to build a relationship with them because every person is a unique individual and I need to know who they are before I start putting clothes on them. It’s about the person more than it’s about the dress.
Who has been your favourite person to style for the red carpet?
All of my clients are really amazing people and I love working with all of them. This season I’ve dressed Lea Michele, Jessica Biel, Minka Kelly and Portia De Rossi.
And which of those has been your favourite?
I don’t have favourites, I love them all and they’re all so unique. The pink Valentino gown I dressed Lea (Michele) in for the SAG Awards has received a lot of attention though! It’s so much fun working with Lea, she’s such a great girl.
Who would you like to style?
I would like to style Larry David. Only because I think he needs a lot of help!
Who has got it really right this awards season?
Naomi Watts. She is seamless.
Do you have a signature ‘look’ you give to your clients?
I try to keep it sexy and classic so no one looks back in 10 years and hates what they are wearing. Over the years I have created a niche for myself, and I think you could describe the style I give to my clients as chic, effortless and eclectic.
Do you have a red carpet style motto?
Always make sure you feel beautiful and sexy in what you are wearing, otherwise it will show.
Who are your go-to designers for awards season styling?
John Betista Valley, Oscar de la Renta, Channel and Chloe.
What is the best bit about your job?
Meeting really interesting people and being able to have the most beautiful clothes and accessories in my possession before they hit the stores. Also, having people trust me with how to look is such an honour.
And the worst bit about your job?
Begging for dresses. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing this it’s still part and parcel of the job.
Have you had any fashion nightmares in your job?
Only in my dreams.
What does the little black dress mean to you?
It means simplicity, elegance and effortlessness.
How do you wear your LBD?
I style it differently every time; it’s so versatile.
How would you style a black dress for the red carpet?
I don’t usually use black dresses on the red carpet because they don’t photograph that well. But my favourite black dress I’ve styled is, again, for Lea Michele at the Golden Globes. I used a dramatic Oscar de la Renta gown and teamed it with a Fendi purse and Chopard jewels.
Who are your fashion icons?
Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen, Grace Kelly and Kate Moss.
What/who inspires you?
Travelling, and my family.
You can keep up to date with Estee Stanley’s latest red carpet adventures by following her on Twitter or visiting her website.
And for more awards show fashion check out the LBD Magazine here.