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The Pros & Cons of Virtual Red Carpets

According to 4 celebrity stylists.

virtual red carpet styling
There are two types of people in this world: those who tune into awards shows to see which of their favorite films or shows scored big, and those who find themselves much more excited about what happens before the show—the red carpet. This is one realm where the inability to hold an in-person event is felt severely, because what could induce our escapist fantasies more right now than watching beautiful celebrities prance around in billowing ball gowns and crisply tailored suits? While at first glance it seems a lose-lose situation, there are a few benefits that have arisen, like more creative freedom and, you guessed it, a new emphasis on comfort. That said, we tapped four of our favorite celebrity stylists to give us the scoop on their shift in approach from in-person to virtual red carpets.

How the Approach Has Changed

“Dressing a client virtually is quite different, but we have found our way of making it just as enjoyable as in-person press. First, we focus on nailing the balance between comfort and style, as we already know silhouettes that our clients feel confident in. Then we want to make sure what they’re wearing can still pop on a Zoom interview, whether it’s through color, print, or texture. Finally, we still want to bring fun and exciting energy to each dressing, especially because they are at home.” Wayman and Micah, stylists to Regina King, Tessa Thompson, and Kiki Layne

“It’s sort of the same, depending on the event, which is actually pretty weird because you’re doing the same actions, but the results are so different. For the Golden Globes, we are making a beautiful custom suit for my client who is nominated, and it’s the same amount of effort going into it, but he’s just going to be on a computer. The whole thing is sort of surreal, and we are just figuring it out as we go along. Until just about a week ago we didn’t even know if the ‘ceremony’ attire would be black tie or cocktail (it’s cocktail).”Ilaria Urbinati, stylist to Sacha Baron Cohen, Rami Malek, Donald Glover, Dwayne Johnson, Chris Evans, Charlie Puth, and founder of LEO


“It’s a challenge to find the right tone. The ceremonies have changed due to the circumstances surrounding them, and I think both the individual and their stylist need to work through what feels right to them at that moment.” Rose Forde, stylist to Paul Mescal, Josh O’Connor, Joe Alwyn, and Chiwetel Ejiofor

“For the most part it is the same. The main difference I have found is timelines have changed. Some award shows are pre-taped, so that makes for a faster turnaround. Brands are asking for as much coverage as possible, so the process and BTS has almost an equal importance as the red-carpet day.” Tiffany Briseno, stylist to Shawn Mendes


Control Over the Setting

“There are absolutely benefits. Because we have control over the space, we are able to manipulate angles, lighting, and perspectives to our advantage. Even having a say in the background is great for us compared to a red carpet with a background we don’t see until a client arrives at an event.”  —W + M

A New and Exciting Challenge

It’s been good to be challenged and evolve techniques with color and silhouette so talent is more visible in the frame. We have all been forced to appreciate a good collar more.” —RF

You Set Your Own Rules

“There is definitely a surprising amount of freedom in the virtual space that we weren’t expecting. We’ve had fun adapting and learning to the new process, and it has allowed us and our clients to be more creative. Ultimately, we never like to abide by rules in the first place…just because there is a dress code, doesn’t mean we will always follow. We still like to bring the drama!” —W + M

More Comfort

“My clients are probably more comfortable since most of the time you are focusing on the waist up—did someone say ‘slippers with that cocktail dress’? We always want to put our best foot forward no matter what the medium. However, there is an overall comfort in the process since most take place at the client’s home.” —TB


Blurred Dress Codes

“As stylists, it’s all about the overall look, the head-to-toe, the story of the outfit. With men’s clothes especially, it’s all in the details. All that kind of goes out the window with a virtual ceremony. We definitely are styling people way more relaxed for some of the events than we would otherwise. The main thing it changes is the attire. Normally something that would be a black-tie event, like [the Golden] Globes, is now more of a suit, no-tie vibe. You don’t want your client to look like they’re trying too hard to sit in their living room. We got word that Critics’ Choice are black tie...but let’s be honest, a tux in your living room feels pretty ridiculous. We’re not doing that.” —IU

Lack of Major Fashion Moments

There is still a desire for fashion moments and, definitely from my side, the desire to create those moments. For me, tailoring has been more of a side note to elevating the more casual looks. It feels fresh.” —RF

Clothes, and Therefore, Designers, Don’t Always Get the Credit They Deserve

I have been asking clients to take full photos that we can have to run on social channels or to give to the brand. It’s a nice thing to do for the brands who made these beautiful clothes. And it’s a nice thing for us stylists to be able to still show off our work. And it’s good promotion for the client and the film.” —IU

Top photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@waymanandmicah

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