Golden Globes Preview: Hollywood Stylists on What to Expect on Sunday

Hollywood’s top stylists — Brad Goreski, Ilaria Urbinati, Erica Cloud, Andrew Gelwicks, Sophie Lopez, Avo Yermagyan, Tara Swennen — joined a digital roundtable on Wednesday with Hollywood Foreign Press journalist Margaret Gardiner and the 2021 Golden Globe ambassadors, Satchel and Jackson Lee (children of filmmaker Spike Lee and producer Tonya Lewis Lee), to discuss the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards.

When the ceremony airs live on Sunday, hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey from Los Angeles and New York, respectively, it’s expected to be a mix of virtual appearances and on-stage moments. What will the stars wear?

Here are the highlights from the talk with the leading stylists, who offer insider scoop on their celebrity clients, the styling process amid the pandemic and what to expect on Sunday.

Kate Hudson doesn’t have a dress yet.

Lopez on Hudson (nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for Sia’s “Music”): “We don’t know yet [what she’s wearing]. We are going last minute on this one. Hopefully, we’ll have a dress at some point, but no, we don’t know. We’re like an open book right now….We haven’t even been doing fittings, and that’s because I’ve worked with Kate for 10 years. I wouldn’t do that with every client. Not every client is the same way, but we generally know each other so well that we can. It doesn’t stress me out, like I slept fine last night. We have what we need and hopefully there’s a dress come Sunday.”

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Kaley Cuoco isn’t a fan of fittings. 

Goreski on Cuoco (nominated for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, TV Series for “The Flight Attendant”): “This is a big nomination for Kaley. She was an [executive producer] on the show as well as the lead….She said she wanted to have fun. She’s like, ‘I just want to have fun. I want to have a good time.’ And, you know, with her, the fitting process is just — she warned me when we first started working together that she doesn’t really love trying on clothes so I get, like, 10 to 15 minutes, maybe, and then it’s like taillight, she’s gone. So, I have to strategize which ones are going to be the hero dresses, and then it goes from there….She let me try on a few more since it was the Globes, and I think we landed in a spot that she’s super, super happy about, and I can’t wait for people to see.”

Golden Globe ambassadors Satchel and Jackson Lee are wearing Gucci.

Satchel: “The thing that I’m most aware of is the fact that this kind of feels like a coming out moment, for me anyway. Like, we’re not really public people so to be in front on stage is kind of a big deal. I just want to set the tone and…[show] who I am as a person in this one look as much as possible. I think that’s been the challenge, because it’s hard to do.”

Jackson: “I felt like it’d be fun and cool to kind of help design or to design our outfits….[Gucci] was fortunate enough to really help us bring our brand creations to life, and I’m excited to show it.”

Some presenters, like actress Awkwafina, will be on-site.

Cloud on Awkwafina: “She’s going to be at the venue, so it has to be a full look. It’s going to be jewelry, clothing, shoes, the whole thing. It’s a little different [this year] because everybody being remote and doing fittings not in person is a little — it’s not less detailed but you definitely have a harder edit. So, I would say just making that a little bit more concise has been helpful, but I love all the little details, so I still enjoy picking out the jewelry and even the shoes. I’m not even sure how they’re showing presenters. Maybe it is waist up, but either way…our job is to fine-tune everything, so whether it’s a press look or the Globes or whatever it may be, it’s our creative outlet to do so.”

Last-minute fittings are nothing new.

Cloud — who’s also dressing father-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy (nominated for Best Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy and Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Motion Picture for TV, respectively, for “Schitt’s Creek”) — said: “Dan’s a big fashion lover, so we definitely like to have fun with it and be a little bit outside of the box….There’s color involved. We haven’t done our fitting yet, because he’s in Toronto…I’ve done a Globes fitting at 2 a.m., and we were done at 4 a.m. the morning of Sunday so this comes with the territory.”

Stylists have less options to pull or work with this year.

Swennen, whose client is Jane Levy (nominated for Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy for “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”), said: “We’re doing more of a timeless, effortless glamour [on Jane]. It’s a little more relaxed, but a nod to old Hollywood. She does wear vintage very well, but it is not vintage this year. It’s very classic, very beautiful…[She] is actually shooting and quarantining with her cast in Vancouver, so there wasn’t even an option of fitting her in person. So, due to the fact that we sort of had to get clothes quickly internationally and figure it all out, I sent her photos from numerous designers’ sketches, what have you, and we quickly narrowed it down to just four. Normally, when I would do a fitting I’d have 40, 50 dresses. It was really kind of nice….To be honest, I feel like the stress level has definitely been minimized this year, in a lot of ways, which I’m very grateful for.”

Styling in the age of social distancing has its challenges but also advantages.

Lopez: “With the way that the press is happening differently virtually, we are able to cheat in ways that we couldn’t if it was an in-person event in terms of if the fits not quite right. We can cheat it from the back. We can safety pin things. We don’t have to worry about people tripping over their hemlines and things like that.”

Goreski: “We have the ability to maybe be a little bit more extravagant, that we wouldn’t necessarily do on a normal carpet, because we will be in their homes or wherever they’re doing it virtually. So, I think there are definitely pluses and minuses to this, you know. We won’t have the roaring crowds. We won’t have the thousands of flashbulbs. We won’t have that kind of frenzy, but I think in terms of approaching it from a styling angle, there’s definitely things that we can put our clients in that they wouldn’t necessarily want to sit in a car, walk a carpet, walk through the venue, sit at the venue, wait for their award, do the press afterward. So, I think we can kind of be a little bit more imaginative this year.”

For her part, Urbinati plans to tone things down with Sacha Baron Cohen, who will be tuning in from Australia. 

Urbinati: “I had a custom suit made from a designer based on the measurements from [Sacha’s] custom suit we did last Golden Globes. And so, we just had one suit made. It was custom. They sent two of them actually….We definitely are going a little less out there than we would in person just because he is sitting in his room. It is a little ridiculous to see somebody in like a bow tie and this whole thing, so you know we’re going a little bit less. We’re not doing pocket squares and certainly over the top details that we would normally do on a carpet….I’d rather he’d be a little underdressed and not the most overdressed person there.”

The stylists are seeing less clients.

Urbinati: “All of us are dressing like one or two people this year versus most of us normally are dressing like 10 people to the Golden Globes, you know, because there’s presenters and nominees, so that’s a really different aspect.”

From top left: Journalist Margaret Gardiner, Golden Globe ambassadors Satchel and Jackson Lee, Brad Goreski, Erica Cloud, Andrew Gelwicks, Ilaria Urbinati, Sophie Lopez, Avo Yermagyan and Tara Swennen. Courtesy

For some, like stylist Yermagyan (dressing Leslie Odom Jr., nominated for both Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture for “One Night in Miami” and Best Original Song for its song, “Speak Now”), today’s climate and “the tone” are in mind.

Yermagyan: “There are the constraints due to COVID-19, which is we’re getting tested on the daily, sometimes multiple times daily. Some PR showrooms are closed, access to clothes is more challenging. But I think for me, it’s more important to be mindful of the tone of what we’re putting out there and be conscious of the fact that people are facing real struggles, and although we want to give them beautiful moments and escapism, we still want to make sure that we’re sensitive to what the world is going through.…This year, the stakes are much higher, because there’s been sort of a vacuum with no carpets really happening, so there’s going to be a lot of eyes on these carpets….I just really wanted to honor the tone of the film, and they’re talking about cultural upheaval in the ’60s and a cultural awakening, which is something I think all of us faced this last year. So, I want to play into what the guys did, not to over intellectualize the styling, but they were changemakers in their time…and I want to bring that into his look on the carpet. Last year, I did Nick Jonas for the carpet, and he wore a million-dollar Bulgari watch. I think that’s something I would shy away from this year.”

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