What’s it like to style one of the most photographed women in the world? In a word, busy.
“With Jennifer, it’s like a fashion show all year round,” says Rob Zangardi, who along with Mariel Haenn styles Lopez. And with the star’s packed summer schedule (World of Dance, Gucci-clad #baecations with Alex Rodriguez), let’s just say the pace keeps her stylists on their toes.
It also pushes them to constantly top themselves, putting together outfit after outfit that always seem to land Lopez on the best-dressed list. “She’s a musician, an actress, and involved in so many different things, so for the red carpet, we have a lot of opportunities to experiment,” says Zangardi. “One day she’ll wear something cool and sexy that pushes the envelope, and the next she’ll go classic Old Hollywood glam.”
The one constant? “Every dress has to have that J. Lo wow factor,” says Haenn. Then, the two turn their attention to her makeup and hair, which they say is just as important to Lopez as the dress.
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“For Jennifer, it’s always a head-to-toe concept. The hair. The makeup. The nails. In fact, she often changes her manicure when she changes her outfit,” adds Zangardi. “And sometimes after her hair and makeup is done, we will change her outfit to work better with the beauty look. It’s usually a last minute decision on the dress, even for something major like the Oscars. Mariel and I always like to say ‘the best dress wins.’”
Keep scrolling to see Lopez’s most iconic red carpet looks ever. And for more stories like this, check out the August issue of InStyle Magazine available on newsstands and for digital download on July 7.
1. In VALENTINO HAUTE COUTURE at the Met Gala in N.Y.C. (2017)
“It took about three months to bring this one to life,” says Zangardi. “[Valentino designer] Pierpaolo’s last collection was very ethereal and soft, so we wanted to keep that feeling, but do the J.Lo version of it. We spent weeks sending sketches and swatches back and forth, then there were three fittings where we would tweak things. At one point, it had a large bow on the back, but Jennifer felt that it would look more couture with fabric-covered buttons at the neck. It’s fun for her to be involved in the process. On the day of the Met Gala, couture sewers from Europe flew over to hand sew her into the dress.”
2. In GUCCI at the Met Gala in N.Y.C. (2011)
"Picking a favorite J.Lo look is like picking a favorite child," says Haenn. "But this Gucci one really popped on her. It felt really romantic and sexy, even though she didn't show a lot of skin. The flower shrug was actually a separate piece and it had the most beautiful hand-cut detailing."
3. In DOLCE & GABBANA at a CFDA event in N.Y.C (2005)
“No matter what, she always puts her own spin on something,” says Zangardi. “Even when she’s wearing something classic there’s always a J.Lo hoop earring, or cool, layered jewelry, or a great shoe.”
4. In VALENTINO at the Academy Awards in L.A. (2003)
“Jennifer makes dresses come alive. They never wear her,” says Zangardi. “She has been doing red carpets for so long, she just knows how to turn it on and work her angles. It’s second nature to her at this point.”
5. In ZUHAIR MURAD at the Golden Globe Awards in L.A. (2011)
“Jennifer knows fashion. She knows her couture tailoring. And the way she feels in a Zuhair Murad dress is just different than any other type of dress she tries on,” says Zangardi. “They always look spectacular on her.”
6. In MICHAEL KORS at the Golden Globe Awards in L.A. (2004)
“Because of her skin color, she can make any shade pop,” says Haenn. “I don’t think there has ever been a time that we’ve been in a fitting and someone says that a color wasn’t working on her. She likes to experiment with it.”
7. In JULIEN MACDONALD at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami (2017)
“Jennifer was excited about this one because she felt like it was a completely new version of a beaded dress,” says Zangardi. “And since the award show was in Miami we knew we could go really sexy.” So with this many cut-outs, do they ever worry about a wardrobe malfunction? "We use an amazing tailor and we know all the tricks, so there is no chance of her falling out of something. Plus, she just knows how to work a dress like this."
8. In EMILIO PUCCI at the BAFTA Brits to Watch event in L.A. (2011)
“Jennifer likes to push the envelope with her choices,” says Haenn. “Because she has already worn so many amazing things, the challenge for us is to find a new silhouette or designer or color to always make her look fresh.”
9. In GIAMBATTISTA VALLI HAUTE COUTURE at the Golden Globe Awards in L.A. (2016)
"This is the perfect example of how she can make any dress look amazing,” says Zangardi. “Marigold is not an easy color to pull off. And this silhouette isn’t the easiest to wear either. The original dress has a Swarovski crystal tie around the neck, so we found a Harry Winston version, which made it feel extra special. It’s one of my favorite looks that she has worn.”
10. In ANTHONY VACCARELLO at the Grammy Awards in L.A. (2013)
“Jennifer doesn’t really wear a lot of black, so this one was different for her,” says Haenn. “We loved it because it was super chic. And then we loaded her up with jewelry. The goal is always to look cool and a little bit rock and roll at the Grammys.”
11. In VALENTINO at Variety’s Power of Women luncheon in L.A. (2014)
“Every look is a collaboration between Jennifer, Mariel, and I, as well as her hair stylist, makeup artist, and manicurist,” says Zangardi. “We usually narrow it down to a handful of dresses and then it’s a game time decision before she walks out of the door. Often we don’t know until the last minute what she’ll choose, so we always prep a lot of jewelry and shoe options.”
12. In MARCHESA at a Golden Globes after-party in L.A. (2011)
“This had a fun ‘60s feel,” says Zangardi. “Both her dress and her makeup used the same soft baby pink color. It’s a shade she really gravitates toward. And the feathers kept it sexy and cute—perfect for an after party.”
13. In VERSACE at the Grammy Awards in L.A. (2000)
“The common thread in all of Jennifer’s looks is the wow factor,” says Haenn. “Whatever she puts on needs to be strong and, of course, needs to make a statement.”