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In recent years, stylists to the stars have come to accrue a tremendous amount of clout in both Hollywood and the fashion industry. As their clients earn favorable red-carpet coverage, the stock of the stylists responsible rises accordingly, and in the process some of them end up becoming personalities, if not celebrities, themselves.
The phenomenon was in sharp relief at a luncheon Wednesday in Los Angeles at Soho House. Here, it was the actresses — Elle Fanning, Olivia Munn, Ashley Greene, Bella Heathcote, Liberty Ross — who were the plus ones to their BFF stylists, Samantha McMillen, Micaela Erlanger, Cristina Ehrlich, Penny Lovell and Simon Fuller, respectively, who have become personal friends as well over the years.
McMillen dressed not only the younger Fanning sister, but also Evan Rachel Wood. “She always manages to bring out what’s unique in everyone, and she doesn’t mind if you change it up,” Wood said of McMillen, her partner in crime for nine years. “I could tell her, ‘I want to dress as a Martian’ and she will make sure I have the greatest Martian outfit ever.”
They were all powwowing at the annual lunch convened by The Hollywood Reporter to honor the influential stylists, this year sponsored by Jimmy Choo. Greene couldn’t remember how many years she had been working with Ehrlich (they guessed it has been almost five). “I go by movies, and it started when I did ‘Sherlock Holmes,’” Greene said. Heathcote, who was introduced to Lovell through fellow Australian actress Rose Byrne, began working with the stylist back when she was on a press tour for the Johnny Depp film “Dark Shadows.” “Rose and I have similar styles, so I asked if I could borrow her stylist. I was like, ‘Do you mind if I go all ‘Single White Female’ on you?’” she said.
The dinner-table chatter wasn’t all about fashion. Elizabeth Stewart, who counts three best actress Academy Award winners as clients — Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence — asked the 15-year-old Fanning if she had learned to drive yet. “I have a 15-year-old and she wants me to teach her,” Stewart explained. “My parents have shown me a little, but only in a parking lot,” Fanning told her. “But I’ll probably take private lessons when I turn 16 next month.”