From Cannes to Palm Springs, Golden Globes to premieres overseas, the multitude of events comprising an award contender’s social calendar are all different in nature, and deserving of distinct attire. Two of Hollywood’s top celebrity stylists — Elizabeth Stewart, who works with “Carol” best actress nominee Cate Blanchett, and Evet Sanchez, who styles “The Revenant’s” best actor contender Leonardo DiCaprio — provide insight into how and why each intricate awards season ensemble came to be.
Leonardo DiCaprio, styled by Evet Sanchez
While in the past, the duo — whose successful relationship Sanchez attributes to trust — has collaborated with a medley of designers, she considers this season to be different due to their close work with Armani. How do they up their game when it comes to tuxes? “For Leonardo in particular, it comes down to the details with subtlety,” explains Sanchez. “The shirt studs, using grosgrain versus satin, choosing a peaked lapel or notched, choosing a single button or double, and textures all make a difference.” As for the awards season’s anticipated grand finale, she hints, “His Oscar suit will be the most special, and it is being sewn as we speak.”
“The Revenant” New York Premiere
The pair went for a relaxed look for New York, a black Armani suit with white shirt, which Sanchez considers “a casual take on premiere dressing.” “He felt good in the way this suit fit him,” she says, noting that he went sans tie because it was a more casual affair than some of the other premieres to come.
“The Revenant” London Premiere
Sanchez has a penchant for polka-dot neck ties and felt that a town like London would appreciate the effort. The city also calls for a coat, so she picked a midnight blue cashmere Armani one, which she paired with a gray suit and white shirt. “I love that he embodies elegance,” she says of this dapper look. “There is a sense of this particular style feeling natural to his person.”
“The Revenant” Paris Premiere
“I felt like the suit, light in its color, and shirt, strong in its structure, were suitable for a city with such history, strength and beauty,” says Sanchez of the Armani notched lapel suit she chose specifically for the Paris stop of DiCaprio’s worldly premiere tour. “I love the strong collar and French cuff. I also like the weightless light gray suit and how it works with a striped neck tie.”
For the black-tie event, Sanchez chose a midnight blue Giorgio Armani tuxedo with satin lapels, and a midnight blue grosgrain bow tie “for a subtle contrast,” along with Martin Katz shirt studs and cufflinks. “I loved mixing satin with grosgrain in a delicate way, while adding a touch of personality with the sparkly blue sapphire accessories,” she explains, also noting that she prefers a bow tie over a neck tie for these sorts of affairs.
Oscar Nominee Luncheon
Sanchez wanted to make a smart selection for the chichi luncheon held during an unseasonable Los Angeles heat wave, so she picked a mid-tone gray Armani suit with white button-down shirt. “I figured a color of mid-tone would give the 80-degree weather during the winter balance,” she says. She also added a gray polka-dot tie. “I feel that Leo looks good with subtle details, and the tie is making this happen.”
Cate Blanchett, styled by Elizabeth Stewart
Blanchett and Stewart — a former fashion editor, who’s been styling A-listers like Julia Roberts, Jessica Chastain and Viola Davis for more than 15 years — are no Oscars novices. “It’s always an organic approach — whatever is appealing at a particular moment in time,” explains Stewart of their infamous Academy Awards choices, which include a lavender Givenchy gown from 2011 that Stewart cites as one of her favorites. While Blanchett’s four kids and busy agenda don’t leave her with a lot of free time (Stewart will dress the fashion-savvy star for about 15 events in 15 minutes), their selection process is easier than one might think. “(It’s) just a gown that is so special that there’s no decision, really. It’s just a feeling that ‘this is the one.’”
Cannes Film Festival
“The Giles Deacon dress is just another great example of Cate’s ability to pull off interesting,” says Stewart of the voluminous theatrical number by the playful British designer and illustrator, which wowed onlookers at the world premiere of “Carol.” “Cannes is the most ‘anything goes,’ and (on the) Oscars we go for the most special.”
BFI London Film Festival
In a look hot off the runway, Blanchett sashayed down the carpet at the U.K. “Carol” screening in a navy cape dress from Esteban Cortazar’s spring 2016 collection. “The drama of the Esteban dress made it perfect for a big London premiere,” says Stewart of the shimmery ruffled crowd-pleaser. “It’s a great example of Cate’s eye for new young designers and willingness to support them.”
Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival
“Palm Springs is low key, but the first event (of the year), so we like to have something great,” says Stewart of the light-blue long-sleeved Marc Jacobs dress Blanchett wore to the starry early-January gala. “It’s such a pretty color and (has a) hint of ’40s vibe — just seemed right for a cold Palm Springs night.”
Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominees Brunch
The artsy annual brunch at Boa celebrates the Spirit Award nominees in advance of the tented late-February ceremony on the beach. Since “Carol” is leading the pack (with six nominations), it called for something more eccentric. “Delpozo is just a very interesting collection and a good match for Cate,” Stewart says of the bold blue, black, beige and hot orange design. “It’s just a sweater and pants, Delpozo-style.”
Golden Globe Awards
“Sometimes Cate just sees a dress and it’s instant,” Stewart says of the ornate fringed Givenchy gown — which Blanchett first spotted in a yellow version on the runway. “We wanted to make it special and chose this pink, so the unusual design of the dress contrasted with a really soft pretty color.” She added the dangling Tiffany earrings from 1915. “We love to open the season with a splash at the Globes,” she says.