It's no secret there's a lot of work that goes into red carpet gowns, but surviving a blizzard? That's above and beyond.
Two years ago, Hollywood stylist Hellin Kay packed her Prius with a stack of red carpet-worthy gowns (and all the shoes and clutches to match) and went on a solo four-day road trip from New York City to Los Angeles just in time for awards season. And this cross-country endeavor has been a tradition of hers ever since. She was hooked.
Cut to this year after Kay just survived her second "road trip to the red carpet" on behalf of her celebrity client Laura Prepon, Orange Is the New Black star (and author of Stash Plan—available March 1). "This year's was a bit more dramatic—I had to sit with my weather maps trying to figure out which roads to take so I wouldn't die," Kay regales. "There were blizzards, floods, tornados, torrential downpours—it was apocalyptic. But I white-knuckled it and survived."
She survived—as did all 30 of the potential red carpet gowns that Kay had pulled for Prepon, including designs from Carmen Marc Valvo, Dennis Basso, Erin Fetherston, Marissa Webb, Blumarine, Sophie Theallet, Philipp Plein, and Tracy Reese, with each safeguarded by a garment bag and heaped on top of another in the back of her car's trunk. And about 15 pairs of shoes. And 15 clutches.
"I could have easily hopped on a flight and had all the clothes shipped to me in Los Angeles, not a problem. But this is an adventure. I find these five days alone on the road meditative. It's a vision quest but without the drugs," Kay laughs. "It allows me a moment to breathe and refocus. We spend so much time in between these two major cities that I like to see the rest of the country."
And she's the first to find humor in the whole situation. "Some of these gowns are from Paris and they're in the trunk of my car," she laughs. "They travel from Paris to New York, through blizzards, and they land on the red carpet in Los Angeles."
The top contender for Prepon's first major red carpet look of the season was a burgundy version of a pretty pink Carmen Marc Valvo dress that Kay fell in love with at a shoot, so much so that she had the dress made specially for Prepon. But the night before the SAG Awards, there was a change of heart and the winning choice was a white ethereal Carmen Marc Valvo gown that had endured Kay's coast-to-coast journey.
We had to know: Will these nightmarish weather conditions deter you from future road trips?
"Never—I love my road trips, it clears your head, clears your mind, and it reminds you that hey, you can do anything," Kay adamantly says. "And it's completely badass."