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13 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Getting Dressed for the Red Carpet

Cosmopolitan‘s Charles Manning shares 13 fascinating things we never knew about getting dressed for the Red Carpet!

“A celebrity’s walk down the red carpet lasts only a couple of minutes, but it takes weeks of work to make sure it is just right. Annie Ladino is styling Brooklyn Decker for this year’s Oscars and Eric McNeal has been dressing Rita Ora for years, so the two of them are pretty much red-carpet experts. Here’s the lowdown on what it takes to make red-carpet magic happen.

1. Stylists, hair, and makeup get booked the minute the nominations and presenters are announced.

“For another red carpet I might start pulling dresses a week or two before the event,” Ladino says, “but for the Oscars you start working right away.” The spring couture shows happen in January, and many stylists put in requests for specific looks as soon as they walk down the runway. According to Ladino, many designers hold their most glamorous runway dresses for the Oscars, even without being asked, because they know the dresses won’t have a chance of making it onto the red carpet if they’ve been worn anywhere else before.

2. Stylist can call in up to 30 dresses for a single event.

“You have a theme, and you pull to that theme,” McNeal says, “but sometimes you see something else you respond to and you just pull that too. You never know how a celebrity’s going to be feeling, so you need to have options.”

“I usually just show one rack of dresses,” Ladino says, “but it depends on the celebrity. Some of them only need to see a few options. If I’m working with someone new, I might pull more, but it’s unusual to work with someone for the first time at the Oscars. Most of the time I like to be nice [to the designers] and not pull too many dresses. I don’t want them to miss out on other opportunities [just so I can make my rack look fuller]. Also, there are so many people getting dressed [for the Oscars and all the parties] that there are not as many dresses available.”

3. You will never see Giuliana Rancic wearing Dior on the red carpet.

There is a hierarchy when it comes to dressing people for the red carpet. “It goes nominees, presenters, attendees of the show, then people just going to the parties,” Ladino says. Red carpet TV presenters, like the Fashion Police, fall somewhere toward the bottom of that hierarchy. That’s why they wear designers you’ve probably never heard of. Also Zac Posen.

4. Buying your own dress is a total fashion faux pas.

Remember Hayden Panettiere at the Golden Globes earlier this year? She bought the Tom Ford dress she wore on the red carpet and the Internet blew up. Although Ford came out on her side and sent her flowers and said she looked beautiful, the fact is her stylist probably approached the designer about loaning, if not for that awards show, then for a previous one and got rejected. “I’ve had celebrities look at a rack and say, ‘Why isn’t McQueen here?’ and I tell them I asked and [the designer] declined,” Ladino says. “It happens all the time.”

Another common practice, according to Ladino, is loaning current-season dresses that could have been bought in the store, like Panettiere’s Tom Ford dress, to lower-tier celebrities and reserving the newest gowns for higher-tier celebrities. “Because of the Internet, celebrities know a lot more about fashion, [so they know when that’s happening]. I’ve never had a client get jealous about a dress or designer someone else was wearing, but I’ve heard of it happening.”

Hayden Panettiere wearing the Tom Ford dress she purchased herself.

5. Fittings can take up to four hours.

“It depends on the celebrity and your relationship with them,” McNeal says. “Sometimes it only takes an hour, but it can take a lot longer, especially if you haven’t worked together before.”

6. Hair and makeup take about two hours.

But sometimes they can take up to four hours, especially if they are having extensions put in or require extensive body makeup.

7. Jewelry worth over $1,000,000 always comes with its own guard.

Sometimes the guard even accompanies the celebrity onto the red carpet, although they don’t actually enter the venue.

A diamond necklace as big as Anne Hathaway’s at the 2013 Oscars definitely would have come with its own guard.

8. Celebrities do not wear their own underwear.

“Stylists always bring the thongs,” McNeal says. “That’s just part of your kit. Also tape and nipple covers. Everyone wears nipple covers.”

9. Tailors are a must.

“I always have a tailor on hand at a fitting,” Ladino says. “Even if I don’t have the budget for it, I would rather eat the cost than try to do it myself.”

10. Undergarments and linings are often sewn in and then taken out before the dress is returned.

“Especially with backless dresses. You need something to hold up the boobs,” Ladino says.

11. There’s a lot less boob tape than you might think.

“A dress should be tailored and fit perfectly if it’s going to be on the red carpet,” McNeal says. “Maybe there’s a little tape just to be safe, but not a lot. These events are long, and people need to be comfortable.”

12. Stylists often walk the carpet with the celebrity.

If you ever see someone in the background of a celeb red-carpet pic wearing all black with, like, a fanny pack on, that’s probably the stylist standing by in case the celeb needs her train fluffed or a fresh piece of boob tape.

Beyonce’s stylist Ty Hunter helps her with her train on red carpet at the 2013 Met Gala.

13. Limos are not a luxury. They are absolutely essential.

“When Brooklyn [Decker] went with Michael Kors to the Met gala, we had to have her lay down in the limo so her dress wouldn’t wrinkle,” Ladino says. “It’s all about that one moment on the red carpet. Everything has to be perfect. If there’s a chipped toenail, that’s all anyone will look at.”

Brooklyn Decker lying down with stylist Annie Ladino on their way to the Met gala.

Who knew!


Text & images source: Cosmopolitan

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