"The real magic happens behind the scenes, where the right stylist can turn a star into watercooler Topic A (hey, Angelina’s right leg, hope you sent stylist Jen Rade flowers). But it’s not just buzz that Hollywood’s loveliest ladies seek: A stylist can help cinch a magazine cover, win their client beauty and fashion contracts or even an actress’ next role.
Veteran stylist Deb Waknin (No. 9) enabledSofia Vergara to skyrocket from TV actress to Golden Globes goddess in a midnight-blue Vera Wang strapless hourglass gown. Hailee Steinfeld won a Miu Miu contract afterKemal Harris and Karla Welch (No. 5) styled her as a fresh fashion force throughout 2011’s awards season. Petra Flannery (No. 3) was a major catalyst behind two prestigious contracts: client Emma Stone for Revlon and Mila Kunis for Dior. And in Octavia Spencer’s next film, the untitled Diablo Cody feature, she plays a Las Vegas casino dealer — hypothetically a full-glamour step up from the maid role for which she won an Oscar; perhaps epitomizing womanly chic on the red carpet in the draped Tadashi Shoji gowns chosen by stylists Wendi and Nicole Ferreira (No. 19) had something to do with it.
The power of the stylist doesn’t just work on celebrities; fashion brands themselves can become major beneficiaries: Leith Clark (No. 16) broke out unknown designer Mary Katrantzou by dressing client Keira Knightley in one of her wildly mixed silk prints at the Venice Film Festival, causing the “Keira dress” to sell out at Net-a-porter.com.
“The most creative stylists,” says Mitch Grossbach, who heads up CAA’s new fashion division, “are those who can impact a designer’s business with just one look.” Stylists can also become business stars on their own. Rachel Zoe (see page 66), America’s most famous stylist, now presides over a multimedia empire; No. 12 L’Wren Scott’s luxury clothing and accessories label is worn by luminaries like Michelle Obama.
And that’s just the ruffles on the gown: During awards season, in-demand stylists pull down anywhere from high-three-figures a day, picked up by studios’ promo budgets, to Zoe’s rumored $10,000-a-day fee, and their bread and butter comes from commercial work, which can pay an average of $1,500 to $5,000 a day for a minimum of three days (some star stylists earn much more).
Now, after careful evaluation of clients, visibility during awards season and breadth of influence and business, THR presents its second annual ranking of Hollywood’s most powerful stylists.
- 1Kate YoungClients: Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman, Rachel WeiszREAD MORE
- 2Leslie FremarClients: Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett...
- 3Petra FlanneryClients: Emma Stone, Claire Danes, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Megan Fox...
- 4Elizabeth StewartClients: Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Freida Pinto, Jennifer Lawren...
- 5Kemal Harris and Karla WelchClients: Olivia Wilde, Hailee Steinfeld, Zooey Deschanel, Stacy Keibl...
- 6Jen RadeClients: Angelina Jolie, Pink, Katharine McPhee
- 7Ryan HastingsClients: Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson
- 8Samantha McMillenClients: Carey Mulligan, Evan Rachel Wood, Dakota and Elle Fanning, D...
- 9Deb WakninClients: Sofia Vergara, Sandra Bullock, Diane Keaton, Halle Berry
10!``11``1Clients: Penelope Cruz, Amy Adams, Amber Heard, Tina Fey, Julianna Ma...
- 11Jeanne YangClients: Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, Andrew Garfield, Christian Bale, M...
- 12L’Wren ScottClients: Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker
- 13Rob Zangardi and Mariel HaennClients: Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Rachel McAdams, Lily Collins
- 14Elizabeth SaltzmanClient: Gwyneth Paltrow
- 15Cher CoulterClients: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kate Bosworth, Elizabeth Olsen, S..
- 16Leith ClarkClients: Keira Knightley, Kirsten Dunst
- 17Jessica PasterClients: Emily Blunt, Felicity Jones, Andrea Riseborough, Ellie Kempe..
- 18Penny LovellClients: Rose Byrne, Ginnifer Goodwin
- 19Wendi and Nicole FerreiraClients: Octavia Spencer, Elizabeth Banks, Channing Tatum, Josh Hutch..
- 20Brad GoreskiClients: Jessica Alba, Rashida Jones, Maya Rudolph, Demi Moore, Noomi..
- 21Nicole ChavezClients: Rachel Bilson, Kristen Bell, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Katherine...
- 22Johnny WujekClients: Katy Perry, Kate Mara, Nicki Minaj
- 23George KotsiopoulosClients: Janet McTeer, Alice Eve
- 24Arianne PhillipsClient: Madonna
- 25Ilaria UrbantiClients: Nina Dobrev, Krysten Ritter, Bradley Cooper, Armie Hammer, C...
- 21Nicole Chavez
- 11Jeanne Yang
Why Rachel Zoe Isn't Number One on the 25 Most Powerful Stylists List
The Bravo star (last year's No. 1) has become too big to rank thanks to a hot runway show, multimillion-dollar fashion empire, TV show (whose future is uncertain) and -- watch out toddlers -- a possible new kids' line.
Rachel Zoe has seen many milestone moments during her 15-year run as a star stylist. There was 2003, when Jennifer Garner, her first truly A-list client, wore Narciso Rodriguez to the Emmys and instantly put the Jersey girl formerly known as Rachel Rosenzweig on the red-carpet map. Five years later, Zoe was the belle of the Bravo ball, debuting her Rachel Zoe Project reality show chronicling the daily travails of Rachel Zoe Inc. (RZI) as the company navigated celebrity clientele (Kate Hudson andAnne Hathaway are among Zoe's loyalists) and its colorful staff (now 27 employees and counting).
On season four -- which averaged nearly 1.4 million viewers, up 2 percent from the previous season -- she documented the launch of her eponymous fashion label and fulfilled a lifelong dream. Bravo and Zoe are in talks about a new and freshened-up concept for a fifth season, sources say. An announcement could come at the network's April upfront in New York.
Because her success has been so beyond what anyone thought a stylist could achieve, THR decided to recuse her from this year's list (though her presence on the red carpet has been less in the past year, with Hudson and Garner having kids). But to hear Zoe tell the story of her own success, these accomplishments pale next to a singular event in 2011: the birth of her own son, Skyler -- or Sky Sky as Zoe has dubbed the 11-month-old -- her and husband (and RZI president) Rodger Berman's first child. "It's a paralyzing love," she says clenching hand to heart. "He's so blinding, I can't see straight most of the time."
Even turning 40 doesn't seem to faze Zoe, who celebrated her birthday with 60 friends at Chateau Marmont in September and, in a scene that could have come straight out of Benny Hill, witnessed her chocolate espresso cake (featuring an image of Zoe as a little girl) fall to the floor when a server slipped. Today, she laughs off the mortifying snafu: "I'm so happy with where I am now, that I'm in a permanent good mood. Things that used to get me down don't stress me out anymore. … Instead of being terrified at 40, it's like my life is complete.
Zoe readily admits, "I'm a living cliché. All those things they say about a baby changing your perspective -- it does! I stare at my 500 racks of clothes, and I'm like, 'When am I wearing it?' I went through this thing where I thought, 'I'll sell everything.' Then I was like, 'Wait, I'm having a momentary lapse of sanity.'"
Another shocker in the new Zoe world order: The fanatic vintage collector admits she hasn't bought anything for herself "in so long." Instead, she's splurging on $230 Gucci booties for Skyler (with plans to encase them in bronze) along with anything baby by Burberry and Ralph Lauren. "It's all so freakin' cute," Zoe yelps. "Listen, I know it's excessive. It's disgusting, and I'm embarrassed. My only excuse is that I didn't have a girl. I have a living doll with no opinion right now."
Naturally, her interest in apparel for crawlers and toddlers has prompted speculation as to whether she'll launch a baby line. "I think it would be really fun," says Zoe. "There are incredible baby clothes out there -- I go into Baby Gap and want to buy one of everything! -- but I definitely think there could be more."
But first there's the matter of her women's line, which has expanded to jewelry ("You can buy a cocktail ring for $150 or a necklace for $600 -- it's all in a contemporary price point"), winter accessories ("It's part of the head-to-toe complete look"), bags (“I'm obsessed with them -- playing with different fabrics, styles and shapes”), shoes and even hats (“we can use someone else's hats … or we can make my own”). At her fall runway show at New York Fashion Week in February, Zoe rolled out '60s- and '70s-inspired downtown London looks. Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were her muses for a collection that screams rock-star chic. "When Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger were dating, it was fashion history. So it's very tailored suits and ruffles and tunics," says Zoe, who started out as a magazine fashion assistant (later becoming tabloid fodder herself when clients Lindsay Lohan andNicole Richie got painted as members of some size-zero harem).
The Rachel Zoe collection, which is carried in 210 high-end department stores including Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, has been a resounding success, with retailers like Neiman Marcus boasting an 85 percent sell-through. And though there are plans to enter Asia and other regions, it has the essence of niche appeal. Indeed, Zoe, who also designed a successful and more affordable QVC line last year -- which, when it debuted, netted $35,000 in sales a minute -- isn't looking for mass. "I'd rather tread a little lighter. I'm superstitious."
She applies a similar philosophy to Skyler's approaching first birthday, which the family will celebrate in the backyard of their Beverly Hills home picnic blanket-style. It flies in the face of the many ostentatious birthdays Bravo has broadcast on its Real Housewives series, none of which Zoe has seen. "I don't deal in pretentious kids' parties," she says, flabbergasted that a friend imagined her renting Versailles for Skyler. "It sets a bad precedent."
Another show she's never watched? Bravo's It's a Brad, Brad World starring former assistant Brad Goreski, with whom Zoe had an acrimonious 2010 parting and whom she is said to have snubbed at a recent Marchesa runway show. "I won't ever see it," she says, squashing the notion of curiosity for curiosity's sake. "I don't think it matters enough to me, to be honest. He should live his life how he wants. He's not in my life and won't be. People move on. All that matters is having good people around me." Goreski, whose show premiered with 1.1 million viewers, declined comment.
And will Zoe see another season of The Rachel Zoe Project? "I don't know," she says. "We're in talks with Bravo. We have to figure out what we want and find that place where everybody is happy. It takes a long time to film, and I give 100 percent of myself as executive producer. I do love being on television and in peoples' homes. I'm not an actor, so there is a connection that's real. … But I also think, 'Are people sick of it? Is it time to do something new?'"
One idea: a scripted TV show in the vein of Gossip Girl that she'd produce. Zoe also has a second book in the works, an "I've grown up" version of 2008's Style: A to Zoe. But there are moments, like when her cell phone rings to the tune of The Beatles' "Let It Be," when Zoe appreciates slowing down. "For 20 years, we've been on this constant treadmill and never stopped to take a breath," she says of herself and her husband (they plan to renew their vows next year for their 15th wedding anniversary). "People tell you everything changes when you have a kid, but what nobody says is you don't mind."