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Stylist Tara Swennen gave InStyle some hints about what to expect on the (virtual) red carpet, and revealed why Pandora earrings are actually the best.

By Samantha Sutton
Feb 25, 2021 @ 6:15 pm
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Golden Globes
Credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

By now, you're probably well aware that award shows during a global pandemic are a bit...different. But, while this year's Golden Globes is going virtual, just like last year's Emmys, the change in plans doesn't mean we'll have to miss out on all that over-the-top fashion. In fact, we're expecting the ensembles to be even more extravagant and as glamorous as ever — especially since people are starting to groan at the sight of stretchy waistbands and are craving the poufy, sparkly, colorful looks the world is currently lacking.

While the exact looks are kept under wraps (and some aren't even finalized until moments before the red carpet), stylist Tara Swennen, who works with stars such as Jane Levy, Lana Condor, and Matthew McConaughey, did share a few hints, as well as what she hopes to see. Ahead, the fashion pro tells us all about the typical red carpet trend she wants actresses and actors to avoid this time around, how the pandemic is changing the fashion world, and why Pandora has become her go-to place to buy jewelry.

What has the styling process been like for the Golden Globes?

"It's definitely been unique. Normally I get my fittings in person, in my studio. [My client] Jane Levy, from Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, is actually stuck in Vancouver right now, which is where her whole cast is. They're all quarantining and shooting together. So, I sent her images of about, I would say, probably 40 dresses. We narrowed it down to four, and then after those four, we did a sort of virtual fitting, and now we're in the process of accessorizing. So, it was definitely a very different and unique way of doing it this year. But, it was kind of fun actually and in a lot of ways, and simplified the process. As an environmentalist, I actually thought it was great because I wasn't shipping in hundreds of gowns from around the country and the world. So it was kind of lovely. She's wearing a beautiful dress and we're very excited."

Are there certain styles you're hoping to see at the virtual Golden Globes this year?

"I hope we see some color. I hope we see some fun. I hope people avoid boring and I hope they avoid black, just because it feels a bit morose. People really want to enjoy fashion again and really give others some inspiration. That being said, even though it's virtual and there are sort of some constraints —for instance, sitting in a corset or in some insane architectural piece might be difficult — I do hope that people take a few risks this year."

Is there a specific color you think we'll see a lot of at this awards show?

"I've seen a lot of pastels recently, and lavender is everywhere right now. Either that or some type of orangey, citrusy hues. Pink is always popular, but I also am just hopeful that people will go really, really bold. I'd love to see some beautiful primary colors out there. I just hope it's not black."

Do you think there will be a big focus on accessories?

"I do. I think that it's going to be a really nice highlight this year, because it is one of the things that everyone can really play with. And, it obviously adds something unique to watch on screen or in photos."

How do you plan to show off the full look?

"In this case, I think everyone is prepared to take full length photos in their homes or wherever they're shooting. I know Jane is, for instance. She's going to utilize her boyfriend, and I think everyone just uses whoever they can to help. I know some people are hiring private photographers, but I think it just depends on the client. But, we've been doing that all of 2020. I just dressed Lana Condor for her press tour [for To All the Boys: Always and Forever], and we were taking photos, she was taking photos. I think it's par for the course at this point."

Lana Condor Premiere Look
Credit: Courtesy of Netflix/Anthony De La Torre

In 2021, fashion can be confusing. How do you think the pandemic has impacted fashion trends?

"The world of athleisure is booming, but I think in the realm of ready-to-wear, couture — all that sort of high-end fashion — the whole business has taken a huge hit. I also think, though, that there are a lot of silver linings. A lot of people have had to pause and re-assess how they want to run their business, how they want to diversify their business, how they want to make their businesses maybe more environmentally and socio-economically friendly. But, even myself, as a stylist, I've been living in pretty casual clothing for a year. That is one of the reasons I think these 'carpets' are so important.

When we did Lana Condor's press tour, we decided to really go for it. We were in the fitting room trying to figure out where we wanted to land and we decided to put her in a very glamorous, over-the-top, fully beaded Julien MacDonald dress, and then beautiful round Pandora Sparkle Stud earrings. Just go full, full glam, because we thought everyone needed something sophisticated, elegant, and inspirational to look at. I think everyone's been yearning for it. So, it was kind of the perfect opportunity to do something really extravagant in a way."

At the same time, do you think people are also rethinking their purchasing habits?

"I know there's that whole idea of everyone's going to come out of this and it's going to be like the roaring '20s, where everyone's going to want to do it up. But, at the same time, people are being super wary and conservative about how they want to spend their money, especially because a lot of people have had a really tough year. So, I think that's something really important to look at.

A brand like Pandora offers that timeless elegance, while also being super fun and fashion-forward with a lot of their jewelry. And, while you can still celebrate all the elements of high-fashion, it's also extremely affordable and attainable. And, as most people who sort of follow me and my brand knows, they carry the same ethos as well as far as environmentalism. I think a lot of people are looking to shop a bit more responsibly now, and really ensure that human rights and the planet are respected. These are things that the consumer is going to be thinking a lot more about post-pandemic. So, yeah, Pandora earrings have always been a go-to for me. I just think that everyone's going to be a bit more conscientious with their purchases."

What are your thoughts on creating more of a capsule wardrobe?

"As an environmentalist and as a stylist who always condones this, I think it's important to always have your staples — the things that you know are definitely your personality, show who you are, show your timeless look. But also grab a few pieces that are fun. Trends are not happening at warp speed the way they used to. I am a true believer in repurposing your closet, and making very specific choices that are impactful. For instance, with Pandora, I think definitely getting a great square or round stud is a good classic. If you're going to do, let's say, a heel, black or nude, very simple, pumps are a good classic. Those types of pieces should essentially be these staples of your wardrobe. The base of your wardrobe is the most important part, and then you throw in one or two trendy things here or there. But at this point, I have to be a champion of sustainability. I think that it's more important to spend on the staples and then, every once in a while, if you have to throw in something else, great. But try and repurpose and cherish the pieces you have, for sure."