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Celebrity stylists

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OSCARS: Red Carpet Is Fashion’s Runway.

If all roads once led to Rome, then most fashion runways now merge into the Red Carpet. For the past decade or so, celebrity stylists have cherry-picked the fashion runways for the very best frocks for their A-list clients on awards nights. In essence, you would first see a gown on Kate Moss and then on Cate Blanchett.
But more recently, the trend is for actresses to show up to the Oscars in ready-to-wear or one-of-a-kind couture gowns that haven’t yet debuted at fashion week or the European shows. In many instances, the Red Carpet is the new runway.
Case in point: The one-shoulder black-and-white column gown that Claire Danes wore to the SAG Awards came from Givenchy’s pre-fall 2013 collection.
“In an effort to trump other celebs, it’s become about wearing something that hReasn’t even been seen on the runway yet”, says Cameron Silver, a fashion expert known for his serrated wit and the author of the new style encyclopedia, Decades: A Century Of Fashion.
“The system is so out of control”. By system, Silver means the big, greasy machine in which actresses and designers make exclusivity deals.
Though no star or stylist will speak on the record about such dalliances, it’s been suggested that anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 can come sewn into the hem of a red-carpet gown worn by a nominated actress. On a less cynical note, however, stylists can’t be blamed for calling first dibs on spectacular gowns that they preview.
“The advantage to using dresses that haven’t been shown yet is that no one else has seen them”, says the powerful Hollywood stylist Elizabeth Stewart, whose clients include fashion risk-takers Blanchett and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain. “There’s a better chance of a good dress not having been snapped up”.

Actress

If anyone can be held semi-responsible for all this pushing and shoving, it’s Nicole Kidman. Back at the Academy Awards in 1997, she hit the red carpet in an exotic chartreuse haute couture gown by John Galliano for Dior. (A facsimile of the dress had been spotted just a month earlier at the Paris show and the designer worked to customize it for Kidman.) No doubt, every other actress on the carpet that night later learned to pronounce “haute couture” with just the right French flourish.

And just as wearing never-before-seen runway dresses has become de rigueur, über stylist-turned-designer Rachel Zoe has upended the buffet once again. She put longtime client Anne Hathaway in a snow-white Chanel couture gown from 2009 at this year’s Globes. What? A 3-year-old dress? “Just because a dress was seen on the runway a couple of years ago but didn’t have its moment doesn’t mean that it’s out of fashion”, says Silver. In fact, if anything, it shows that a resourceful stylist can gild a forgotten gown like anyone else would lacquer an old credenza. Zoe also put Hathaway in a black spring 2013 Giambattista Valli couture gown for the SAG Awards this year.

Catherine Kallon, who founded the popular website Red Carpet Fashion Awards in 2007, has been visually comparing runway looks and their red-carpet translations for over five years. She sniffs at any criticism about petite Hollywood actresses being swallowed by dresses designed for statuesque woman with tiny ribcages. “For the most part, I think runway dresses translate better on the red carpet”, she says. “Just look at Lucy Liu in her Carolina Herrera gown at the Golden Globes for further proof. She owned the floral ball gown”.

Actually, she borrowed that gown and it was pre-fall 2013.

Typically

Prada Goes With Her Feelings.

A fashion show typically lasts about 10 minutes, and that’s just enough time to either be suicidal from boredom or convinced you haven’t even begun to live, since you never thought of wearing a black party dress over the gray cardigan you leave at the office because you, Ms. Mouse, are always cold.
Miuccia Prada, like Rei Kawakubo and Phoebe Philo, established that there is a world of difference between men and women as designers. One difference is that a woman will readily use her feelings to build a collection instead of an outside source, like the work of an artist.

Karl Lagerfeld might be clever at loading up the pop cultural references at Fendi, and obscuring the evidence in a dizzy pile of fun furs, but you can’t imagine him trying to give a shape and texture to female repression. He’d rather stick a pen in his eye, but that’s just a guess.

More than 20 years after the sex fantasies of Gianni Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier, studded leather looks like an adolescent rash, it’s so commonplace and down-market.

No wonder Donatella Versace, in her show on Friday, made the spikes in collars and dresses four inches long. There’s no edge left to the fantasy. But male designers have never been good at the kind of fashion known as “ugly chic.” That emotional territory belongs to female designers. Actually, the territory belongs to just one.

“It’s everything I like,” said Ms. Prada before her show, referring to the done-undone quality of the outfits, with tweed or beaded chiffon dresses worn carelessly over drab cardigans, the garments left partly unbuttoned so they fell off shoulders. The midcentury silhouette, with deep fur cuffs on hard leather jackets and gray flannel suits, was another Prada favorite. The gloomy set and the wet “Les Miserables” hair seemed mostly a Prada ploy, and didn’t really add anything.

As the models lined up for the show, Ms. Prada said: “I’m obsessed with this problem — that everything is forbidden. There is so much control that you can’t abandon yourself to anything.” If Ms. Prada, who turns 64 this year, is frustrated, she shouldn’t be too concerned. A generation of women has been peculiarly susceptible to her fashion: they feel exactly what she feels. So, even if this was not the most challenging Prada collection, its naïve, almost do-it-yourself glamour still got under your skin.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson: My Boyfriend is Ruining My Creativity.
Kelly Clarkson is known for empowering breakup songs like “Since U Been Gone,” but now that she’s happily in a relationship, the pop star is struggling to find her edge.
“It is killing me,” Clarkson told PEOPLE while doing press for ABC’s upcoming singing competition show Duets. “I’m trying to write a tough song and it is coming out like butterflies and rainbows.”
Clarkson, 30, says she has been dating Nashville-based talent manager Brandon Blackstock, 35, since late 2011.
“It is ruining my creativity,” she joked of the relationship that she publicly announced in early March. “I’m writing all this happy [stuff].”
Blackstock is the son of Narvel Blackstock, Clarkson’s manager of five years, and the stepson of Clarkson’s “Because of You” duet partner Reba McEntire.
“People used to ask, ‘Why are you single?’ and I’d say, ‘It is not in my schedule,’ ” Clarkson told reporters. “I’m in a relationship right now and I have time for it. I never used to.”
Clarkson’s next single off her fifth album, Stronger, will be “Darkside” but her happy love life is making it difficult to tap in to her own darkness.
“People are going to be, like, ‘What the hell happened to you,’ ” she said of her recent writing sessions. “It has been really difficult. I love it. It’s an awesome problem to have.”