Rising Fashion Stars Walk the Awards Season Red Carpet

Another round of red carpets means another round of gorgeous gowns, and a golden opportunity for up-and-coming fashion designers to savor a coveted moment in the spotlight. Hot on the heels of the Golden Globes nominations, we asked stylists Cristina Ehrlich (who’s dressing nominees Alison Brie, Allison Williams, Greta Gerwig and Laura Dern), Micaela Erlanger (Meryl Streep) and Elizabeth Stewart (Jessica Chastain) to share which rising stars they’re eyeing this awards season.

Michael Halpern

“He’s fearless — he’s not afraid of sparkle, he’s not afraid of drama, and he likes to go for silhouettes that are very daring,” says Ehrlich of London-based New Yorker Halpern, whose 1-year-old label has fast become a red-carpet favorite. “It’s divine, it’s exciting and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.” Erlanger recently chose Halpern for clients Lupita Nyong’o and Diane Kruger. “You get this underlying sense that he loves a woman’s body,” says Ehrlich. “He looks at a woman like a canvas, and he drapes her, and the more unpredictable,
the better.”

Simon Porte Jacquemus 

“He plays with shape and volume in a very interesting way, but it never compromises a woman’s figure,” says Erlanger of Paris-based Jacquemus, whom she discovered on Instagram. She then “ordered a bunch of his stuff” online in order to try it for herself. “His shapes are very unique, but they were very flattering,” she says of the 27-year-old designer. “He’s taking the woman as a feminine template, and saying that she can be so many different things now,” says Ehrlich, “and that you can go out of the comfort and the confines of classic dressing to look really, really beautiful.”

Gabriela Hearst

“She’s a woman, and she designs for a woman,” says Erlanger of the Uruguay-born, New York-based designer whose namesake label is just 2 years old. “Her tailoring is impeccably done and her workmanship is divine. There’s something really important about understanding shape and fit and structure, and she nails it. Her work isn’t overly complicated; it’s not trying to be anything more than what it is, and it’s so beautifully done. You want to wear her clothes — women want to wear her clothes.”

Yacine Aouadi

“His work is unique, fresh, interesting and beautiful,” says Stewart, who was so taken by Marseille-born, Paris-based designer Aouadi’s debut couture collection, she plucked a dress from the runway for Cate Blanchett. “He had a show OUTSIDE the Chanel show in Paris to grab the editors who would stop by — I stopped by!” says Stewart of how she discovered the then-unknown designer. “Cate has a great eye for design and a willingness to take risks, I knew she would be up for it,” says Stewart of the “tattoo” dress Blanchett wore to a premiere in
New York.

Guy Laroche

Recently appointed creative director Richard René has breathed new life into the storied French label founded in 1957. “What he offers is this clean, sleek, very feminine, but very sophisticated and smart sensibility,” says Ehrlich of René’s new-look Laroche. “This is for the woman who likes clean classics, and is obsessed with tailoring. It’s sexy, but just the right amount of sexy. To me, if Helmut Newton had a uniform, they would all be wearing Guy Laroche. I have a silhouette lined up for one of my girls, which she’ll be wearing soon.”

Prabal Gurung

“I’ve always liked his twist on things,” says Stewart of the New York-based, Nepal-born designer whose star has been steadily rising. “I connect with him on a personal level, his politics are mine, he operates like I do.” Gurung’s been using his growing platform to advocate for change. Some of Stewart’s favorite Gurung moments include Gal Gadot at the VMAs (pictured above), “many moments with Jessica Chastain” and January Jones at the Emmys in 2014. “They are such a good match,” notes Stewart of Gurung and Jones, “both a little off the beaten path.”

Y/Project 

“What I love about Y/Project is that it’s unpredictable,” says Ehrlich of the Parisian label helmed by Belgian Glenn Martens. “It’s about showing sexy, but sexy in a very unpredictable way. There’s an intelligence to it. It’s about very clean, very specific lines, and it’s about layers, and it’s about being daring. These are pieces for a woman who really knows who she is. When you wear a brand like Y/Project, you’re not looking to enter a room and disappear; you want to really stand out.”

Vivetta Ponti

“Vivetta is phenomenal; she has the couture craftsmanship and point of view,” says Erlanger of Milan-based Ponti. “It’s really fun and out there and sometimes that’s what you need — a good dose of fearless fashion.” The label founded in 2009 only recently garnered international attention. “I haven’t even had a chance to request it yet because it’s just come on my radar in the last couple of months. But I’m happy to have discovered her work.”

Esteban Cortázar

Since relaunching in 2012, the Bogotá-born, Paris-based designer has attracted a legion of A-list fans, including Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett. Of the look Blanchett wore to the premiere of “Carol” in London, Stewart says she has “an unabiding love for how Cate looked in that dress.” Cortázar, who was the youngest designer to show at New York fashion week, at 18, is enjoying a renaissance. “I have a moment coming up I’m very excited for, kicking off award season.” Stewart says she and Cortázar “bonded over a mutual love of donuts.”

Attico

“I’m so drawn to the shapes, and the use of materials and sequins and patterns,” says Erlanger of Attico, launched by Italian street-style stars Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio last year. Though just a year old, the Milanese “It” girls are fast become “It” designers. “It’s a very interesting take on women’s wear,” says Erlanger, who hasn’t yet had an opportunity to dress her clients in Attico. “Not for lack of trying, that’s for sure. They’re in such high demand, and there’s one sample set to go around!”

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