Here’s How Hollywood Stars Really End Up In Their Red Carpet Frocks
The Debrief: Because no, they don’t always just see the dress on the catwalk and request it for themselves
Let’s start by stating the obvious: red carpet outfits are the best bit of any awards show, right? Jennifer Lawrence in Dior. Angelina Jolie’s right leg saying ‘hiya’ from beneath her Versace gown. Bjork dressed as a swan you swear you just walked past in Regent’s Park. But, while we’re gearing up for the biggest fashion show of the season – soz, Karl, we mean the Oscars, not Chanel – there are a whole bunch of secret deals going on behind the scenes between designers, stylists and even the celebs themselves.
What, you didn’t really think the nominees end up in their chosen frock just because they think it’ll land them on the best-dressed list, did you? These monetary exchanges usually go down quietly – or are at least contained within their tight celebrity circles – but recent years have seen more stylists opening up about the less organic ways in which their girls end up paired with a dress.
One of the most outspoken image makers is Jessica Paster, whose clients include Emily Blunt and Miranda Kerr. 'It’s prevalent across the board,' she said, during her appearance on a panel at Vulture Festival in 2015. 'Jewellery people are paying, shoe people are paying, tampon companies are paying, everyone is paying!' We’d be quite happy with some free tampons, thanks.
However, Paster positioned the techniques as less of a bribe and more of the start of a beautiful working relationship between designer and their chosen celebrity. 'They're ambassadorships and you start relationships with [the brand], and then eventually the actress often does get a campaign from them because they have a relationship with her. I don't seek these things out, but I think you put the most beautiful dress on the girl and if you get paid that's a plus.'
But just how much cash are we talking here? 'It could be just paying the stylist and we get anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000,' spilled Paster. 'Or it's paying the actress something between $100,000 and $250,000.' When you consider that every time an actress answers the question 'who are you wearing?' she could be pocketing that kind of additional income, it kind of shits all over movements like #askhermore, which encourages red carpet journalists to quiz female celebrities questions beyond their appearance.
More recently, Elizabeth Saltzman – celebrity stylist and contributing editor of Vanity Fair – told Business Of Fashion, 'Whenever a brand says, "We don’t pay stylists," most of the time that’s just a load of B.S. Somebody pays somewhere.' Of course, Saltzman mentions that she would never put a client in a dress just because she was being paid, but that brokering deals can be beneficial to everyone involved.
'Sometimes, if there’s no [studio] budget for my girl, I’ll approach a brand I have a relationship with and say, "Hey I have this person in this film and it’s tiny but it’s got a big nomination but no money — are you interested in being part of it?"' she explained. 'I would always try to get most for the client and then just make sure that all my bases were covered with some income.'
So, with it transpiring that the Oscars red carpet is just another business deal between the worlds of fashion and celebrity, why the secrecy that surrounds these deals? We all know Kristen Stewart gets paid for Chanel campaigns, so what difference does it make if she also gets paid to rep them on the red carpet?
Aside from further ruining the magic of Hollywood for us mere mortals, Fashion Police’s Brad Goreski - also speaking at Vulture Festival in 2015 - sums it up pretty well. 'Why do any of us need to know how they're making their money? It's not like they're trafficking drugs, they're being paid to wear a dress. So what?
'If someone offered me $150,000 to show up in a beautiful custom made gown by X designer, I'd be like, "Where do I sign?!"' Now that we’d pay to see.
Like this? Then you might also be interested in:
Follow Jennifer on Twitter @barbiewrites
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating