With fewer designer gowns to choose from during the pandemic, celebrity stylists were forced to broaden their horizons when it came to dressing clients for the red carpet. That meant mining vintage stores and designer archives, searching out new talent or a combination of both.
“I love mixing pieces from rising designers with vintage brands,” says Tara Swennen, stylist to Kris – ten Stewart and Allison Janney.
Stylist Kevin Ericson also relishes the challenge of post-pandemic dressing. “I’ve been loving working with vintage pieces again,” says Ericson, who dressed Isabel May in a vintage Jean Paul Gaultier three-piece suit while promoting “1883.”
“After the past couple of years, houses are so much more limited in what they have to offer for red carpet, and so going back and look – ing at vintage pieces and working with designers’ archives has been really inspiring,” Ericson says.
Another trend gaining ground is sustainability. “In the past two years, I think designers had a moment to step back and reassess their process,” says Swennen, who adds that it’s always top of mind when sourcing new creatives. “I try to be a champion for sustainability whenever I can. Whether it’s resourceful packaging, nontoxic dyes, anything they do is welcomed in this effort.”
As awards season nears its glamorous end, celebrity stylists spotlight eight new — and renewed — labels worth watching long after red carpets roll up.
With a slew of stars including Viola Davis, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Chastain, Julia Roberts and Elizabeth Olsen photographed in their suiting, design duo Brian Wolk and Claude Morais are tapping into a trend for both tailoring and sustainability. “Their environmental responsibility is extraordinary as they have been using only found and repurposed fabrics for their very unique twist on suiting,” says Elizabeth Stew – art, stylist to the aforementioned stars. The duo, who shuttered their label Ruffian upon moving from New York to Los Angeles before relaunching as Wolk Morais, focus on small collections. Everything is locally made and textiles are upcycled and found within 12 miles of their West Hollywood studio.
Another name on Stewart’s radar is Haitian-Italian designer Stella Novarino of Stella Jean. “It’s a great BIPOC brand with very fresh and fun looks, like this amazing crushed velvet dress on Sandra Bullock,” says Stewart of the look the actor wore while promoting “The Lost City.” The brand’s goal is to make ethically sound clothes by helping less advantaged women around the world. Each season, Novarino partners with female artisans from a developing country in order to both promote and preserve their ancestral arts and traditions. The self-taught designer, and her multicultural philosophy, has been embraced by Rihanna, Beyoncé, Zendaya, Viola Davis and Selena Gomez.
The label just launched this month, but Swennen has already pulled Finney’s luxe silk shirts and trousers for clients Stewart and Sam Corlett. “It’s one of my favorites,” says Swennen. “All-natural fabrics like silk, cashmere and cotton, no plastics. They believe what comes from the earth goes to the earth — all the way from the factory to paying people a proper living wage.” The brand, founded by London and L.A.-based fashion brand builder Phillip Bodenham, has caught the eye of Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner. “Everything is super well made, to last, so people can buy better and buy less,” Bodenham says. Of the trend toward trouser suits on the red carpet, Bodenham adds, “People are ready to dress up again but perhaps don’t want to be gussied up in a tight gown. Mannish tailoring on a woman is always sexy, empowering, and when it’s comfortable that’s a bonus.
With designer Guillaume Henry at the helm, storied French fashion house Jean Patou, reimagined as Patou, caught the eye of stylist Laura Sophie Cox for its Parisian chic, voluminous silhouettes and Peter Pan collars. Says Cox: “I love the proportions within their clothes, with ballooning colorful shapes here, gigantic collars there and of course the flower power prints.” The brand is also embracing sustainability. “Patou’s beautiful clothes are constructed from eco-friendly materials. They don’t use any fur or leather within their collections.” Cox adds that it’s been “adored and worn with love” by clients Kimiko Glenn and Janicza Bravo.
Ericson found Elleme on Instagram after one of his “very chic Parisian friends” carried a bag from the brand. After reaching out, says the stylist, “they sent me a huge collection that I have been playing around with and mixing into looks for various clients.” Founder Jingjing Fan first enjoyed huge success with her shoulder bags — seen on Kendall Jenner and Beyoncé — before conceiving a ready-to-wear collection during the first lockdown in Paris. “It has the sensibility of a very modern, French brand without seeming fussy,” says Ericson, who’s dressed “Vikings: Valhalla” actor Frida Gustavsson in their “really incredible suiting.” Adds Ericson, “The pieces are cool and when looking at the range of brands I choose for my clients, I always like to mix in pieces that are attainable for the more price conscious consumer as well.”
Daniel Roseberry for Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli, another iconic French fashion house wooing a new generation of stars, was chosen by Beyoncé for the Grammys and Lady Gaga at the presidential inauguration. “I have loved watching Daniel Roseberry’s evolution at the house,” says Ericson of the designer famous for becoming the first American to lead a French couture house.
“As Schiaparelli moves more into a ready-to-wear market, it’s been amazing to be able to use his collection pieces, which were before only limited to haute couture.” Ericson recently dressed Mandy Moore in a Schiaparelli look that’s one of his “favorite dresses ever.” The label has also been worn by Regina King, Adele and Emma Corrin. “Daniel is inspiring the sort of energy we had lost in the fashion industry over the past couple years since the pandemic started.”
Walter Van Beirendonck
Although not a new name in fashion, the avant-garde Belgian designer is a new discovery for Cox, who has been dressing singer Grace Gaustad in fashion-forward looks from the “menswear genius.” One of the “Antwerp Six,” the irreverent designer is known for strong graphics, innovative cuts and unexpected color combinations. Says Cox: “Walter’s designs are cutting-edge. His collections are bold and exciting.” Gaustad recently wore two of Van Beirendonck’s iconic cartoon inspired looks in Flaunt Magazine. “After the last two years, I want to be injecting a sense of fun into my clients’ choices on the red carpet,” says Cox, who’s seeing a rising trend in “cartoon and nursery rhyme themes.”
Another sustainable brand Swennen has her eye on right now is Roni Helou, a line of androgynous ready-to-wear pieces by the Lebanese designer. “I just put Sam [Corlett] in this knit top,” says Swennen of the “Vikings: Valhalla” star. “It’s very streetwear-inspired. Really unique denim pieces. I love how edgy it is.” Apart from the designer, the business is women-led and sources materials from vintage and dead-stock fabrics found in old factories and shops in Beirut. The label also supports the local Lebanese community by producing and working exclusively with tailors and artisans from all over the country.