Tales from Tinseltown: With award season upon them, designers hold out for Oscars

Could it be that in this age of excess, when it comes to dressing Hollywood stars for this awards season, fashion publicists have adopted a ’less is more’ philosophy? The answer appears to be a resounding ’Yes.’

Could it be that in this age of excess, when it comes to dressing Hollywood stars for this awards season, fashion publicists have adopted a ’less is more’ philosophy? The answer appears to be a resounding ’Yes.’

Could it be that in this age of excess, when it comes to dressing

Hollywood stars for this awards season, fashion publicists have adopted

a ’less is more’ philosophy? The answer appears to be a resounding

’Yes.’



’Even if you dress 20 people for an awards show, people are only going

to remember one or two,’ says Carol Brodie, managing director of

communications at Harry Winston. ’One sensational person is worth more

than 15 faces in the crowd.’ The venerable jewelry house regularly

outfits a host of celebrities with diamonds and watches for Hollywood’s

high-profile events.



But the philosophy within the company these days is to focus most of its

attention on the Oscars. ’We feel that as a brand, we are most closely

associated with the Academy Awards,’ says Brodie, who is quick to add

that doesn’t mean they won’t accommodate requests for other events, like

the Golden Globes. ’We love the Globes (but) we hold our Oscar

collection - the newest merchandise - for the Academy Awards.’



Designers seem to be following suit, albeit for different reasons. The

creations of Mark Badgley and James Mischka regularly appear on the red

carpet and land the actresses that wear them on countless best-dressed

lists. While the exposure has been a PR boon for the designing duo,

demand often exceeds supply. ’We simply can’t afford to take twenty

dresses out of the showroom at a time,’ says Mischka. Some designers,

like Randolph Duke and Pamela Dennis, are known for being extremely

accommodating to celebrities. ’The red carpet provides incredible,

instant worldwide exposure that a designer can’t get anywhere else,’

says Duke.



Other designers say that things have gotten out of hand and it’s time to

pull back. ’It’s one thing when an A-list actress wants to wear

something from your collection,’ sniffs one disgruntled designer. ’It’s

another when some supporting player from a sitcom has her publicist call

demanding ten dresses from your newest collection and sits on them for a

month. If they’re not big stars, it’s not worth the aggravation.’



A well-known Hollywood stylist explains the symbiotic - and increasingly

complicated - relationship between designers and actors this way: ’No

actress worth her SAG card shows up at an event these days in anything

that you could buy off the rack, and no designer would dare to ignore

Hollywood. Familiarity breeds contempt, but there’s nothing that either

party can do about it, so both sides just want to get as much out of

each other as they can.’ Stay tuned.



- Diane Clehane is a contributing editor for TV Guide.



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