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02-06-2008
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What REALLY Goes Into Red Carpet Attire Selection?
I was watching one of those entertainment news programs and they were discussing the Sarah Jessica Parker/Nina Ricci fiasco. The anchor said something along the lines of "a lot more goes into the selection of a red carpet dress than just the star's taste," which got me thinking; what all does go into the selection of a red carpet look?

I know that some celebrities, particularly stars like Kate Bosworth and Halle Berry who do/did advertisments are obliged to wear the designer, but how often? Are there reprecussions if they don't? Do celebrities who don't pledge alligance to a certain brand paid to wear the dresses they don?

Articles, opinions, stories from experiences, etc, are all welcome!



[I did a serach, so I hope this hasn't been posted]

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02-06-2008
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here's an article from the guardian.co.uk...
it's specific to the oscars, but could be applied to all red carpet events...

Quote:
In the beginning it was, "Can I borrow the dress? I'll bring it back dry-cleaned." Then it was, "Can I keep it?" Then, "Come shopping and pick out whatever you want." And soon it became, "We'll pay you." Now people are paying from $500,000 to $1 million for A-list actresses.'

This is Kelly Cutrone, the founder of the fashion PR firm the People's Revolution, on the arranged marriage between fashion and film at tonight's Oscars.

As Charlize, Reese and Keira teeter along the red carpet, showing off a year's worth of preening, primping and no-carbing, there will be an audible sigh of relief from their stylists and fashion designers. Where lesser mortals might resort to an extra splurge for a special night out, retouching their highlights and having a manicure, for the starlets and their stylists, choosing an Oscar outfit can mean months of negotiations, brokering deals with jewellers and fashion houses, and drawing up complicated contracts.

And for the designers behind the actresses' creations, it is an event for which they will do anything to get their dresses and jewels on the right stars and stiff the competition.

Affiliating their wares with celebrities translates into direct sales for designers. Around the world 800 million people watch the Oscars. According to Nielsen Media Research statistics, 63 per cent of American women between the ages of 18 and 49 who are watching television that night tune into the ceremony. It is the ultimate product-placement opportunity.

As Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino's business partner, noted after Julia Roberts wore a vintage black and white Valentino gown to the 2001 Oscars, interest in the brand increased significantly: 'It's an example of how one dress can make a real impact. The return from celebrities wearing your clothes is huge.'

So when the designers' gentle wooing, haggling and haranguing doesn't work, one-off payments, modelling contracts, five-star trips, use of private villas and jets are dangled. 'Everyone hears about it,' says Mary Alice Stephenson, Liv Tyler's stylist and CNN's fashion commentator. 'It is the dark secret of the industry.' Jean Paul Gaultier's press spokeswoman, Lisa Lawrence, is more direct: 'You are the celebrity. We all know you are making more money than us, and then you are taking yet more money to wear someone's dress. It's tacky.'

Fashion designers begin serious campaigning with the stars after Golden Globe nominations in December. Actresses are jetted to the haute couture collections in January and are often paid to sit in the front row. 'When you are flown first-class to Paris for a show, put up at the Ritz, with your every whim met, of course you are going to want to wear their clothes,' says Stephenson.

Once the Oscar nominations are announced at the end of January the courtship intensifies. Stars and their stylists are sent flowers and handwritten notes from the designers and jewellers. And not just any old flowers. The bouquets cost between £500 and £2,000. All of this effort, of course, can be for nothing. The stylist whittles down the options to three or four looks by the weekend of the Oscars, but a final decision is often not made until a few hours before the awards. Designers and their PRs are left on tenterhooks, knowing they could have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Which is why some designers choose to guarantee their place on the red carpet with one-off deals or long-term advertising contracts, a complicated affair involving lawyers, managers and agents. 'The contract states very clearly, and I mean very clearly, what is to be expected,' says Kelly Cutrone. 'For example, if a girl were to wear a Calvin Klein dress, she would not be able to wear Marc Jacobs shoes.

She wouldn't be able to wear any other competitor's products, with the exception of jewellery. With jewellery, if it is a certain style of earring, the wording of the contract will be, "You will agree to wear your hair up, so the jewellery can clearly be seen." In 2000 Cate Blanchett wore an open-backed gown and chose to put the brooch on her back. The jewellery house freaked out: 98 per cent of the pictures didn't show her brooch. So now it's very specific: "You agree to wear the earrings on your ears. You agree to wear the necklace on the neck, and it will not be covered by any clothing. You agree to mention the design house X number of times on camera."'

'There was a big uproar last year when Hilary Swank didn't wear Calvin Klein,' says Mary Alice Stephenson. 'Swank was the face of Calvin Klein lingerie and was nominated for Million Dollar Baby [which she won]. She hadn't been in a film for a while after Boys Don't Cry, and Calvin Klein went out on a limb to give her this contract. So many people expected her to wear Calvin Klein - as did the house - because if someone is loyal to you, you are loyal to them. And she wore Guy Laroche.' Needless to say, Calvin Klein didn't renew her contract.

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02-06-2008
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continued...

Quote:
In 1993 Sharon Stone got into a spat with Harry Winston over a £230,000 necklace she had worn. Winston asked for it back but Stone claimed it was a gift for wearing it in public. Winston took legal action and Stone returned the necklace but filed a £7-million breach of contract and defamation suit against Winston. The company settled out of court, giving a large amount to charity.

Harry Winston suffered another blow when Chopard swiped Charlize Theron and Hilary Swank from under its nose at last year's Golden Globes just 24 hours before the ceremony. The actresses were said to have received six-figure sums to defect. This kind of thing is no surprise to Kelly Cutrone who, before setting up her own PR company, worked for Bulgari. In 1999 she was trying to persuade Winona Ryder to wear a pair of diamond earrings to the ceremony, but was getting nowhere until she was told there was 'well over $100,000 available to help with celebrity procurement'. Ryder duly trotted down the red carpet in said earrings.

For actresses, wearing the 'right' jewels and designer dress is, increasingly, a savvy career move as well as a chance to make it on to the best-dressed pages. 'Most actresses are not actually that amazing-looking,' says Lisa Lawrence. 'They do their best to get in what we call model shape, but they're not 5ft 10in and size eight. The Oscars are the Super Bowl of fashion. Which designer an actress wears and how she looks can make or break her career for the next year.'

This explains the rise and the rise of the celebrity stylist, now as indispensable as the publicist, agent, trainer and manager. He or she charges accordingly - at least £3,000 a day, and £6,000 to find that Oscars dress. And many of this increasingly powerful cabal are on their way to becoming celebrities in their own right.

'Most of the stylists have worked in the industry for years,' says Mary Alice Stephenson, who as well as advising Liv Tyler is a contributing fashion editor at American Harper's Bazaar. 'Actresses are sent by their publicists. These stylists are known for their red-carpet looks. It's not, "Oh, be my friend. You look cool. Will you work with me?" You need a reputation behind you. You become one of the team that helps the actress's brand, because she is no longer just an actress - she is a brand name.'

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02-06-2008
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last part...

Quote:
Stylists source their Oscars dresses in one of four ways. These days the most popular approach is to create a one-off dress with a designer. Sarah Jessica Parker's black strapless dress at this year's Golden Globes was a collaboration between Olivier Theyskens of Rochas and Parker's stylist, L'Wren Scott.

The second route to the red carpet is vintage. Ever since Julia Roberts did her twirl in that Valentino, it has become increasingly popular. The third is haute couture. Nicole Kidman started the revival of actresses wearing haute couture to the Oscars, as opposed to ready to wear, when she donned Dior in 1997. And lastly stylists will also look at the finale pieces in the New York, Milan and Paris autumn/winter collections that are shown immediately before the Oscars.

It is the stylist who acts as negotiator when trying to secure the perfect dress, a powerful position they are often rumoured to exploit. 'Stylists have been known to ask for sick things like plastic surgery as a "thank you",' says one fashion PR. 'They will hold three or four dresses,' says another, 'and make it difficult for other stylists to get near the brand. It's what we call gridlock.'

The most famous feud was between two of the first celebrity stylists, Phillip Bloch and Jessica Paster. 'Phillip and Jessica were the most amazing rivals,' the PR continues. 'They would go to fashion houses and say, "I'm going to dress so and so in this designer, but if I hear you are working with [Jessica/Phillip], I'll pull all of my girls from all of your brands and we'll never work together again."'

In fact, all of a sudden this demand for exclusive access to a designer has become the norm. Charlize Theron insisted she was the only actress that Gucci dressed for the 2004 Oscars - and Gucci agreed. She was a sure bet for the Best Actress award.

'During the Oscars I have had some experiences with a stylist who will go unnamed,' says Lisa Lawrence of Jean Paul Gaultier. 'We were sure of one actress, so we were considering another. We didn't feel it necessary to say that we had worked with the first actress because it was none of their business. They were not telling us which other designers they were considering. All of a sudden it got into this nasty confrontation. The stylist was trying to bully us into working with them alone, without any guarantee they would wear us.'

If jewellers, fashion houses, actresses and stylists admitted what was going on, perhaps the rumour mill would be silenced. But it remains a touchy subject for many. When Joan Rivers asked Nicole Kidman about her role as 'representative' of Chanel, Kidman gave a glacial stare and delivered the line, 'I chose to wear this because I liked it.'

Far better to do what Ziyi Zhang, the star of Crouching Tiger, did last year when her deal with Bulgari came to media attention. She just kept smiling - all the way to the bank.

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03-06-2008
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This is quite funny to me. Does anyone else see the irony in this?You look at all this work going in to choose a dress, and then you look at the Oscars, where 98% of the actresses attending look like a snooze fest. For the several past years, the fashion at Oscars and GG have been BORINGGG.

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Last edited by eternitygoddess; 03-06-2008 at 12:06 AM.
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03-06-2008
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I'm sure alot of tfs-ers could pick their own dresses and look loads more exciting than these actresses with months of help.

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03-06-2008
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That was a really interesting read. Thanks kimair!

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03-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eternitygoddess View Post
I'm sure alot of tfs-ers could pick their own dresses and look loads more exciting than these actresses with months of help.

I was thinking the same thing... the idea of someone being soo style perplexed- particularly someone as creative as most musicians and actors are- not being able to simply choose something that is aesthetically pleasing on them is really interesting to me.

That Charlize Theron/Gucci demand made me laugh a little. I certainly understand an entertainer not wanting to see a similar pattern or design on the red carpet to the one that they are wearing, but designer? C'mon!

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03-06-2008
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I think this is a great and really interesting thread...most of us revere certain celebrities for their style, but it seems to be much more complicated than one would think. Like in the 'Sarah Jessica Parker/Nina Ricci fiasco', you'd think she's just wear a dress that she likes. It all just seems more contrived than I'd ever imagine.


Last edited by cosmocat; 03-06-2008 at 09:17 AM.
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03-06-2008
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I agree with Eternity Goddess. I'm not exactly excited about what people are going to wear during award season especially thanks to the television and magazine "Fashion Police". I think people spend too much time worrying about ending up as "worst dressed". There are few people who don't end up disappointing me with boring looks...which for some reason the Fashion Police love. It would be more fun if there an actual personality behind what people wear and if people stopped caring so much about having to be the only one to be seen wearing something.

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03-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KhaoticKharma View Post

That Charlize Theron/Gucci demand made me laugh a little. I certainly understand an entertainer not wanting to see a similar pattern or design on the red carpet to the one that they are wearing, but designer? C'mon!
having designer exclusivity isn't new at the oscars or the golden globes...
a few years ago, cate blanchett had an armani exclusive, at the oscars i believe...

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