Magazine article Newsweek

We're Glorified Schleppers: Behind Every Gorgeous Superstar Is Another Kind of Celebrity: The Stylist

Magazine article Newsweek

We're Glorified Schleppers: Behind Every Gorgeous Superstar Is Another Kind of Celebrity: The Stylist

Article excerpt

Byline: Susannah Meadows

In Hollywood a career can be made with a single dress. Three weeks before the Academy Awards, designers were frantically sewing one-of-a-kind gowns. Some actresses had stopped eating altogether. And on a Thursday in early March, stylist Susan Moses, who dresses best-supporting-actress nominees Queen Latifah and Kathy Bates, pulled up to Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store in the Queen's limo. She headed straight for the plus-size department, Salon Z. In less than half an hour, she found what she needed--a bronze taffeta blouse, a white lace shirt and an ivory silk-chiffon pantsuit for Bates--for the Oscar-nominee luncheon and the SAG awards that weekend. "We're glorified schleppers," said Moses, smiling as she slung the garments over her shoulder.

But in an industry that trades on appearances, they're awfully powerful schleppers. Now that celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman have eclipsed supermodels to become the style icons of the world, the men and women who dress them have gotten a promotion, too. How much influence do the stylists have? "Huge! Huge!" says Carol Brodie-Gelles, who campaigns every year to get Harry Winston diamonds on Oscar nominees. And as the Oscars morph into a fashion show, the stylists themselves are turning into celebrities. "I'm internationally known. They call me from Peru! I can't go out in public," says Phillip Bloch, who put Halle Berry in the jaw-dropping, see-through Elie Saab in which she accepted her best-actress Oscar last year. Asked if he were serious, Bloch said yes.

Now even the traditionally unstyled are signing up. Stylist Alexander Allen put the rapper Eve in elegant designer clothes this past year. Softening and mainstreaming her image made her a megastar. Bates hired a stylist for the first time when she saw how fine Moses made Latifah look at the Golden Globes. …

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