Olivia Wilde’s ‘Booksmart’ Red Carpet Style Reflects Powerful P.O.V.

For filmmaker Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart” events, stylist Karla Welch sought “more powerful looks that still feel very much ‘her.’ “

Oct. 27

“Olivia was my first client ever, so we’ve been together over a decade,” says Welch. “And now that she is a director, we have a different approach. … She’s super strong, she’s obviously beautiful, and so we went for more powerful looks.” Welch knew this sequined Ralph Lauren dress was for Wilde as soon as she saw it. “We love a shoulder, a sleeve. I was like, ‘That is an Olivia dress if I’ve ever seen it,’” she says of Wilde’s Governors Awards look. “We tend to not try on a lot of things; we’re really quite edited. Also because she’s a director, she’s busy. We just know the dress is right and we put it on, and that’s what happened.”

Jan. 4

Wilde received a best first feature Spirit Awards nomination. “We’re in a real different place in her career — we’ve evolved together, which I think is so special, especially as women,” says Welch. “When we first started she was like an ingenue, and we had these big red-carpet moments and we still have them, it’s just gone to a different place.” For the brunch, Wilde wore a Saint Laurent striped suit with a polka-dot blouse. “I always love a suit, and it’s been a real transition into suits with her being a director. Olivia really loves that ’40s Katharine Hepburn silhouette, and the shirt and blazer both had amazing shoulder pads. It was a fun combination.”

Jan. 9

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“What I love about that dress is that it’s very much an Olivia dress,” says Welch of Wilde’s look for the Hollywood Critics Assn. Awards. “Olivia’s got a bohemian spirit to her, and so I know when I see a dress like that, it’s Olivia to a T.” They paired the custom gold floral-print Etro gown with a striking black opal necklace and matching earrings by Lisa Eisner. “Lisa’s jewelry is so beautiful, and we love supporting women designers,” Welch says. Wearing gold proved propitious for the “Booksmart” helmer, who took the stage three times — winning trailblazer, best female director and best comedy/musical awards.

Jan. 12

“That’s another one of those dresses we’ve had for a while and were just waiting for the right place to put it,” says Welch of the deep-V Valentino dress Wilde wore to the Critics’ Choice Awards. She accessorized with a Messika diamond ear cuff. “I love it when she wears her hair up. I just thought she looked so glamorous and beautiful, and it had pockets — it was really comfortable.” Welch likes to tell a story over the course of a film run. “But I think it’s more about telling the story of who my clients are.” For Wilde, it comes down to comfort — “and feeling strong and confident.” “Attributes she already has,” Welch notes.

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