Stylists to the stars earning own fame

June 13, 2006|By BOOTH MOORE | BOOTH MOORE,LOS ANGELES TIMES

They have dressed Lindsay and Nicole, Gwen Stefani and the Olsen twins. And now they want to dress you, too.

Celebrity stylists, once relegated to entourage status, are stepping out from the shadows of their famous clients with licensing deals, clothing and jewelry lines. They're consulting for fashion mega-brands, appearing on TV shows, even posing for pictures on the red carpet.

It makes sense when you consider their influence. The past decade in fashion might best be described as the era of the celebrity stylist. As the liaisons between designers and their red-carpet mannequins, stylists are the ones who create and validate trends, which then trickle down to the public through paparazzi photographs.

Stylists may agonize for weeks over a single celebrity outfit, but the result, that elusive thrown-together chic, has helped usher in the latest layering trend, which will be dictating the way we all dress come fall.

Rachel Zoe created the now-ubiquitous 1970s glamazon style for Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie last summer. The look - bronzed bod and long, blond tresses, slinky jersey dresses and messes of gold necklaces - circled back and turned up on the Gucci runway for fall.

Andrea Lieberman's multicultural sensibility has guided Stefani's stage costumes, as well as her popular L.A.M.B. clothing line. And as arbiters of the classic Hollywood look, a la Catherine Deneuve and Sophia Loren, Estee Stanley and Cristina Ehrlich transformed Mandy Moore and the Olsen twins from tween tarts into polished cover girls.

Zoe is now the biggest star stylist, photographed almost as often as her clients and repped by Creative Artists Agency. She has a coffee-table book in the works, TV offers on the table and a new line of luxury handbags in collaboration with Judith Leiber. Stanley and Ehrlich are designing a new collection of suck-it-in or push-it-out undergarments for Frederick's of Hollywood; last year, they launched their own clothing label. And Lieberman is crafting fine jewelry for Mouawad.

Ehrlich and Stanley debuted their clothing line, Miss Davenporte, last year - sweet-looking heart-print silk shirtdresses, trumpet skirts and lady coats with a vintage feel, that cost $200 to $1,000. Though stylists are really only famous by proxy, the public is becoming more aware of them every day, according to Frederick's spokeswoman Yolanda Dunbar, who said Ehrlich and Stanley will have a role in marketing the still-unnamed line when it hits stores for the holiday season. "People are realizing the support celebrities have in presenting themselves. It's far beyond hair and makeup."

Phillip Bloch was the first celebrity stylist to successfully brand himself in the early 1990s, at first dressing celebrities for TV appearances and magazine shoots, and later for the red carpet. In 1998, he published a book and in 2000, he launched a line of jewelry for the Home Shopping Network.

But he really saw his star rise in 2002 after dressing Halle Berry in the sheer burgundy Elie Saab gown she wore to accept her Oscar. Bloch talked to nearly every media outlet in the world about the dress, and soon became a style commentator on TV and a spokesman for such diverse brands as Cadillac, Gillette and Visa.

Recently, he was tapped to make over Mattel's Ken doll.

Lieberman may have earned her styling stripes working with Stefani, but she actually has a formal design education (a rarity in the image-making industry), having graduated from the Parsons School of Design in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in fashion.

An avid traveler and student of the world's fashion tribes, she has helped imagine Stefani's many looks - pirate, Rastafarian and Alice in Wonderland - all of which are referenced in the L.A.M.B. clothing line, which Lieberman consults on. And last year, the 146-year-old Mouawad company gave her the chance to create her own jewelry.

Booth Moore writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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