Stylists behind the stars celebrated at luncheon

Associated Press + More

By SANDY COHEN, Associated Press

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Even though Katie Holmes, Zoe Saldana and new mom Charlize Theron were among the guests, the real stars at the inaugural 25 Most Powerful Stylists luncheon were the experts who dress them.

The Hollywood Reporter and Jimmy Choo held an intimate gathering Wednesday at Soho House to honor entertainment's most influential stylists. The event was held in conjunction with the magazine's new style issue, which ranks the top tastemakers according to their red-carpet presence, the number of nominees they've dressed and the breakout style stars they've developed.

"So many trends, so much of what sells is because of all the people here and all the actresses who work with them," said Merle Ginsberg of the Hollywood Reporter, who helped edit the magazine's second annual stylists' ranking. The issue is on newsstands now.

Jimmy Choo spokeswoman Dana Gers credited the stylists with turning the "small brand" into a coveted one that tops fashion lists.

"Bridesmaids" star Ellie Kemper, also a guest at the luncheon, said her stylist, Jessica Paster, gives her confidence to try new looks.

"Jessica just looks at me and says, 'You look beautiful,' and I'm telling you that confidence carries you so far, because it might not be something you'd normally wear on your own," said the actress, who landed on several best-dressed lists with her beaded bronze Oscar gown. "When given that assurance, suddenly you can wear something."

Paster, whose clients also include Emily Blunt and Felicity Jones, was 17th on its list.

Kate Young, who works with Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz, was No. 1, followed by Theron's stylist, Leslie Fremar, and Saldana's fashion pro, Petra Flannery.

The stylist's role has expanded since actresses became the faces of fashion, said 17-year veteran Cristina Ehrlich, who works with Penelope Cruz, Amy Adams, Tina Fey and Amber Heard. Successful stylists can now make as much as $5,000 per day.

"It's a lot about working closely with a woman to help her feel and look the best she can look for all of these events," Ehrlich said. "Also, too, part of this job now is really working directly with fashion designers and understanding and finding the right relationships with the right brands. Every designer has an idea of who they want to dress, so my job as a stylist is to take my client and bring her the best possible options by designers that I feel are appropriate for her, that are going to show her off and show them off... The stylist is really brought in to marry them together."

Indeed, the magazine cites Flannery as "a major catalyst" behind Emma Stone's Revlon contract and Mila Kunis' relationship with Dior.

Carol McColgin of Hollywood Reporter said some of the industry's most popular actresses volunteered to be photographed for the magazine's style issue: "They really wanted to make sure their stylists got the recognition they deserve."

Hollywood Reporter Publisher Lynne Segall said she expects the stylists' luncheon to become an annual event.

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Online:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/most-powerful-stylists-of-2012-299177

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AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy .

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