It's a pretty good bet that when stars arrive on the Oscar red carpet Sunday they'll be wearing clothes, jewelry and accessories selected with the help of a fashion stylist. And fans are more aware than ever that their idols don't create their looks alone.
It's been only half a decade since celebrity stylists really began stepping out from behind the camera to claim a piece of the spotlight generally reserved for their clients. In the short time since
"As long as celebrities are front and center [the power of stylists] won't go away," says Susan Kaufman, editor of People StyleWatch, a publication that regularly features celebrity stylists in fashion stories and as expert voices. "People know that so much of what celebrities are wearing
starts with the stylist's eye. They've become sort of the cool girls."
In addition to Zoe, who now has her own contemporary clothing, shoe and jewelry lines, stylists Cristina Ehrlich (who works with Penélope Cruz) and Jen Rade (who dresses
"We've been seeing celebrity stylists moving into the spotlight for some time now," says Christene Barberich, editor in chief of Refinery29.com. "It's great to see Kate Young, who is such a major influence on the industry, bring her signature aesthetic to life on a much bigger scale. I think this is just more evidence that real women with really cool lives and careers are just as influential — or even more so — to other real women as a celebrity. This is a new brand of accessible luxury that's really appealing."
Nicole Chavez, who styles
The trend shows no signs of stopping as stylists continue to influence fashion and pop culture, with reality television, clothing lines and major retailers continuing to catapult them into the mainstream. Here's a look at the new generation of stylists, soon to be at the helm of growing empires, collaborations, endorsements and memorable celebrity fashion moments.
Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio, and New York, respectively
Signature look: Eclectic. "It definitely depends on who we are dressing," Zangardi says. "We draw inspiration from so many different mediums — everything from classic mob movies to military history to '90s music videos." The duo documents its visual inspiration on Tumblr.
Career highlights: Creating the look for music videos, most notably for
Hometown: La Cañada Flintridge
Clients: Rachel Bilson,
Signature look: Feminine with a high-low twist
Career highlights: She is responsible for helping actress Rachel Bilson become a designer darling and appeared alongside the actress in a commercial for their ShoeMint collection. A standout look Chavez created was Bilson in an all-black
Clients: Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman
Signature look: Edgy classic
Career highlights: Her upcoming Kate Young for Target collection. She has also collaborated on a line for
Hometown: Powell River, Canada
Signature look: Elegant, unfussy and never over-styled
Career highlights: Being seated next to journalist Tim Blanks, whom she calls her "fashion idol," at an
Signature look: Effortless, bold, eclectic. "I love creating big moments with lesser-known designers," Coulter says.
Career highlights: A recent collaboration with AG Jeans for the latter's Stylist Series of denim. Coulter also co-designs the JewelMint jewelry collection with longtime client Kate Bosworth. As the stylist to some of the world's most sought after fashion plates, Coulter has put together many memorable looks. Among the most head turning: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a chartreuse and sheer black
Signature look: Elegant with an edge.
Career highlights: "My career in and of itself has been the highlight," says Swennen, who orchestrated Kristen Stewart's attention-getting, skin-baring looks at the L.A. and London premieres of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2" last fall.
Signature look: Edgy, modern.
Career highlights: Dressing Rose Byrne in a striking white
Hometown: San Francisco
Signature look: Modern, fresh, sophisticated
Career highlights: Dressing Zoe Saldana in