High-Fashion Celebrity Stylists Reveal Their Red Carpet Secrets

Celebrities are known to wear gorgeous attire to red carpet events, but there are a few secrets the public probably does not know. First off, the dresses, jewelry, and even shoes are on loan, and the stylist a star receives is dependent on where they fall on the event’s hierarchy — nominees get the first pick.

That’s not all! Straight from the red carpet, keep reading to learn secrets that celebrity stylists use for big events like the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmys and more.

Tricky Zippers Call For A Bar Of Soap, Crayon, Or Banana Peel

92nd Annual Academy Awards - Press Room
Bettmann/getty Images
Bettmann/getty Images

Sadly, zippers on formal wear are notoriously delicate and finicky. Stylists and designers have to be very careful when zipping up their clients. Thankfully, they have a little fashion hack that makes the process go a bit smoother.

Kate Hudson’s stylist Sophie Lopez says, “When the zipper is really tight, and you can’t get it over a seam, you can rub a bar of soap onto the area where the friction is.” Apparently, a crayon or banana peel does the job, too!

Designers Go Off A List Of Pre-Approved Celebrities

2021 InStyle Awards At The Getty Center
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for InStyle
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for InStyle

When stylists reach out to designers on behalf of their clients, they might be turned down. This is because designers go off a pre-approved list of stars they are willing to work with for big events.

If a celebrity isn’t on their list, they either turn them down or have them come in for a meeting.

Stars Tend To Wear Designers They’ve Worn Before

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Mike Coppola/VF19/Getty Images for VF
Mike Coppola/VF19/Getty Images for VF

When celebrities make their way up the ranks of Hollywood, they begin to garner relationships with designers. They often chose to wear those designers’ attire during red carpet events.

According to actresses Naomi Watts and Glenn Close’s stylist Emily Sanchez, “It’s sentimental and a way of honoring that relationship for that big moment.”

Last-Minute Hiccups Do Happen

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images/Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images/Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Even with all of the planning stylists and designers go through for the star they are working with, hiccups and wardrobe malfunctions happen, have it be sewing or learning another celebrity is wearing the same outfit.

Model and actress Emily Ratajkowski’s stylist Marissa Joye Peden remembers having to rush her client to the Armani office the day of an event because the garment had to be sewn directly onto her body!

To Deter Tripping, Sandpaper Is Affixed To The Bottom Of Shoes

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VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images
VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

It is no secret that some stars wear mile-high shoes during red carpet events. While it is a fantastic shoe choice for a fancy event, they have a higher risk of tripping on something.

To prevent any mishaps on the red carpet, stylists will affix sandpaper to the bottom of their shoes, giving them more of a grip.

Celebrities Are Paid To Wear Designers

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David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Having an A-list celebrity wear a design during a red carpet event is major PR for that designer. Because of this, some stars are actually paid to wear specific designs.

In fact, some celebrities have been paid upwards of $250,000 just so a designer can get their outfits in front of a camera during a major event.

Stylists Will Collaborate With Designers

Opening Ceremony &
Venturelli/WireImage
Venturelli/WireImage

On behalf of their client, sometimes stylists will meet with designers and collaborate on the star’s look. This doesn’t just include the garment, either. They will collaborate on everything, from custom jewelry pieces to shoes.

Meryl Streep and Lupita Nyong’o’s stylist Micaela Erlanger said, “We know what the dress will be like, based on the sketch, then we can fine-tune accessories.”

Sometimes Designers Will Gift Their Work

2018 CMT Music Awards - Red Carpet
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

While it is very rare, there are some occasions where designers will gift their work to the star wearing it, especially if the garment happens to be custom-made.

If it is not a custom dress or outfit, there is a general understanding that it will be returned after the event.

Outfits Are Tailored To Perfection

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Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

There is a reason celebrities look flawless during red carpet events. Their clothing is tailored to perfection before the event, whether it be a temporary or permanent alteration.

According to Alessandra Ambrosio and Olivia Culpo’s stylist Jennifer Mazur, “if it’s temporary, he [the tailor] will alter it to look like it was done perfectly, but it’s all folded and pleated, and there are all of these darts and secret things that you can’t see.”

Jewelry Is Flown In From Around The World

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ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

While the dress is the main focus for many people, there is something that ties everything together — the jewelry pieces. During major events, such as the Academy Awards, jewelry is flown in from all around the world.

When the pieces land at their respective locations, they are then escorted by private guards until they reach their final destination.

A Scarf Is Used To Ensure No Makeup Gets On The Clothing

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MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

The last thing anyone wants to deal with on event day is makeup staining the clothing. Foundation, rouge, bronzer, literally nothing ever comes out correctly unless professionally cleaned.

To ensure that disaster does not happen, stylists will put a scarf over their clients’ faces, ensuring makeup gets nowhere near the clothing.

There Is A Hierarchy

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Taylor Jewell/Getty Images for Vogue
Taylor Jewell/Getty Images for Vogue

When designers loan out their outfits, it is not on a first-come-first-serve basis. There is actually a hierarchy involved, with nominees getting the first pick, then presenters, and then everyone else.

The process can get a bit interesting, with designers holding off on outfits if they think someone else would look better in a piece than the celebrity requesting it for the event.

Brand Partnerships Require Designs At The Oscars

88th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Dan MacMedan/WireImage
Dan MacMedan/WireImage

Many celebrities enter brand partnerships with specific designers, becoming the face of the label. While the star is allowed to wear other designers at events, they must wear their partner’s brand on the Academy Award’s red carpet.

For example, Jennifer Lawrence, a brand ambassador for Dior, wore one of their gowns at the 2016 Oscars before changing into an Alexander Wang ensemble for the afterparty.

Designers Photograph Stars From Every Angle Pre-Event

91st Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

For designers, it is all about getting their outfits out there for the world to see and, hopefully, purchase. This has stylists working meticulously to ensure the star they’re dressing looks fantastic from every single angle.

According to stylists, they will take photos of the celebrity dressed up from every angle imaginable before an event. Some people even go as far as using Polaroid cameras because it “gives you the best idea of what the light is going to be.”

From 1920 To 1950, Stars Bought Their Own Red Carpet Attire

Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews with Oscar
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Before the time of big-name designers and eccentric gowns, celebrities would actually purchase their own attire for big awards shows, including the Academy Awards. This was the norm from 1920 until 1950, smack dab in the middle of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Even after designers and stylists began dressing stars, there were still those who opted to purchase their own outfits, including Audrey Hepburn.

Accessories Are A Last-Minute Addition

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Mike Coppola/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Mike Coppola/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

Stylists are very busy collaborating with the designer, getting the star ready for the big event, and ensuring everything is in perfect working order. Because of everything they have on their plate, the accessories are the last thing on their mind.

In fact, actress D’Arcy Carden’s stylist Erica Cloud has stated that, sometimes, accessories aren’t finalized until the day of the event!

Spray-On Deodorant Helps Shoes Fit Better

Red Carpet - 27th 'Jose Maria Forque' Awards
Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage
Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage

Swelling and sweating feet wedged into too-small shoes are normal on the red carpet. So, stylists will coat their feet with spray-on deodorant so that their client is as comfortable as possible and not limping and tripping down the carpet.

According to stylist Marissa Joye Peden, “they [the deodorant] actually help shoes fit better.”

Garments Are On Loan From The Designer

People's Choice Awards 2017 - Red Carpet
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards

The gorgeous gowns stars wear to red carpet events are, more often than not, not theirs. Each garment is on loan from a fashion designer, typically one they’ve worked with before.

Then, after the event, such as the Golden Globes or the Oscars, comes to an end, the celebrity is expected to give back the design (and quickly!).

Some Stylists Are Dressing Clients 24-7

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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

If a stylist’s client is an A-list celebrity who gets photographed right when they walk out the door, chances are they don’t only dress them for big red carpet events but also their day-to-day lives.

According to Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner’s stylist Monica Rose, “I do both depending on how much my clients have going on.”

Always Follow The “Two-Tug” Rule

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Taylor Jewell/Getty Images for Vogue
Taylor Jewell/Getty Images for Vogue

According to stylists’, they send their clients off with a list of rules to follow when they get the red carpet events. One of these rules is called the “two-tug” rule and is for anyone who sits down before making their appearance on the carpet.

Kate Hudson’s stylist Sophie Lopez says, “When they get out of the car, I tell them to do two strong tugs down.” This helps move and smooth any fabric back down to where it is supposed to be.