Rihanna’s outrageous Guo Pei yellow dress at the 2015 Met Gala and both Lupita Nyongo’o and Kendall Jenner’s twirling gowns at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival are among the most outrageous red carpet arrivals recently. Sure, it takes a tremendous amount of confidence to pull off these frocks, but behind each look is an unassuming fashion wizard: the stylist.
Yesterday, top Hollywood image-makers Brad Goreski, Jessica Paster, Erin Walsh, and Brandon Maxwell participated in a panel at the 2015 Vulture Festival in New York. The stylists, who collectively work with Sarah Hyland, Emily Blunt, Kerry Washington, and Lady Gaga revealed what’s most frustrating about their job, why they love what they do, and some of their unforgettable red carpet mishaps. Below, a few of our favorite moments.
Jessica Paster does not consider styling easy at all.
"I usually am up in my office every morning at 7 in the morning and I end at 9 o’clock at night non-stop. Non-stop. Because, I’m like jewelry! Purses! And shoes! And this and that and underwear or nipple covers. I mean, it’s just everything. I always tell my assistants, ‘you’re going to have to work for this.’ The gratification is when you do finally see them on the red carpet. That’s when it doesn’t matter how much money they’re paying us. It is when we’re finally seeing them on the red carpet that we do get our goose pimples if we did a beautiful job…It is a lot of work. It’s not easy, breezy at all.”
Despite how difficult the job is they consider their roles a dream come true.
"Everyone here was 11 years old watching the Oscars and remembers every single thing and to be able to have the opportunity to do that with a girl feels amazing and you, it’s a childhood dream come true,” said Brandon Maxwell, while Brad Goreski shared similar sentiments: "And it is about that childhood fantasy, too. I was exactly the same way. I used to tape, cause I’m going to be 38, I would like tape the red carpets on VHS and literally watch them over and over again."
Brandon Maxwell did not enjoy working with Lady Gaga’s now infamous meat dress from the 2010 MTV VMAs.
“She came to me and said, ‘I want to do a meat dress.’ I’m like, ‘OK, fine,’ This is the most grade-A beef you can get. I was vegan at that time and I literally was crying with gloves. I had a SARS mask on. I was like, ‘this is disgusting,’ and she’s like, ‘but isn’t it amazing? It feels incredible.’ And I was like ‘this is the grossest thing I’ve ever done.’ It also got preserved and it looks like beef jerky.”
Sarah Hyland has changed Brad Goreski’s career.
“She’s super decisive about how she wants to look and we collaborate together…she’s actually changed my career in so many ways. I have so many young girls now because of her…I love seeing her and it’s so much fun…I go dress her and we hang out and it’s great. It’s such a fun thing to be a part of.”
Jessica Paster practically begged Emily Blunt to work with her.
“I was at the Chateau Marmont, she walked out, and I said, ‘I love you, I need to work with you’…I said, ‘you’re going to get nominated for a Golden Globe and you’re going to win.’ And I told her that at the Chateau…and she’s like ‘are you a psychic?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m a stylist.’ She did get nominated so she hired me. This was our first look together, she did win, and we’ve been together ever since."
Zippers are the most unreliable piece of a dress, according to Jessica Paster.
"If anybody could invent a zipper that does not break for a price that they’re selling zippers for they would be a billionaire. It doesn’t matter if it’s a couture dress. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small little line. Zippers, for some reason, always bust. And all of a sudden you’re putting it up, you’re putting it up, and you see the thing just rip. Just open. Your stomach falls to the floor.”
Brad Goreski has also had his fair share of zipper conundrums.
"I had a client once all done. Hair and make up done. Late for her time to be on the carpet at the Vanity Fair party, bent over to pick up her clutch, literally going to the door, bent over to pick up her clutch and I watched the zipper go boom, like that. So, I grabbed some, it was a really heavily embroiled gown. I grabbed some black safety pins I had in my kit and then I kind of made it look like embroidery going up the back of the zipper and she wore it on the carpet and it was like nobody noticed. You have to MacGyver stuff all the time."
Erin Walsh doesn’t always have much time to make styling decisions.
"The Golden Globes nominations and Emmys are announced super late and are announced after the holidays...a lot of times you’re doing it very last minute so as much as we’d like to have an extensive reference library handy, a lot of times it’s super crunch time and you’re planning it as much as you can."
Jessica Paster knew that Cate Blanchett would win her first Oscar in 2004.
“We went to Mr. Valentino and I said ‘Mr. Valentino, can you make Cate’s dress for me?’ And he goes, ‘of course,’ and so Cate and I went through all the look books and we picked the color of the dress we wanted and you know, she ended up wearing this beautiful yellow dress with like burgundy around…and I remember when she got on that red carpet…she stood there and her hair, the wind blew, and I knew right then that she was going to win. To me, that was the most amazing moment in my career thus far, to see somebody that I had been working with for 12 years and it was magical and beautiful and it was perfect. That’s why I do what I do.”
The right dress always wins.
“The best dress always ends up on the right girl all the time. It always happens within the first five, if not three dresses. You know which dress it’s going to be, or which gown it’s going to be,” said Brad Goreski.