Stylists are now synonymous with high fashion and red carpet and the power of transformation. The last decade has brought around the rise of the stylist. Rachel Zoe? We all know her now but would you have recognized that name say 5 years ago. As a celebrity stylist behind the seams, Zoe sets the tone for what Keira Knightley and Lindsay Lohan wear. In doing so, she and other stylists have morphed from dressers-and-schleppers hired by magazines to press and pin clothes at photo shoots to star-shapers and fashion visionaries who are courted by designers, celebrities and clothing brands.
Hollywood icons used to attend the Oscars wearing dresses by their favorite designers -- or bought off store racks -- and no one ever asked, "Who are you wearing?" The days of going it alone ended after Demi Moore was snapped in a disastrous self-designed bike shorts-and-bustier combo at the Academy Awards in 1989. Now, as Italian designer Giorgio Armani rued to the "Wall Street Journal," "No actress moves without her stylist."
"We've entered a topsy-turvy world where the stylist has more power than the designer,'' says Cohen, who's also chief industry analyst at the NPD Group, which follows the fashion trade. "Stylists are the matchmakers between designers and stars. And celebrities have become the vehicle for designers to communicate and separate themselves from the field."
Like puppet masters, stylists pull designers' strings, says Tom Julian, longtime fashion analyst for Oscar.com, the official website of the Academy Awards. "I have heard tales that a stylist believes that this gown must be in this color -- so it is," he says.
The art of transformation has always been apparent in fashion with icons such as Madonna all the way to pop starlet Kylie constantly changing their style but the art of transformation has not been as important as it has been in recent years. In a society where you are only as good as your last look, celebrities are all too quick to get their stylist in to change their look to get that front page spread of the magazines. The most recent example is Rihanna. Rihanna was nothing more than a R'n'B wannabe until she hired Phillip Bloch as her stylist and came out with hit single Umbrella. The rest is history. More recently Rih Rih cut her Pob in favour of a short Yoanna style that she's sporting at the moment in order to keep on top of the transformation game.
Another woman playing the transformation game recently is Kate Holmes. Since marrying Tom Cruise, the former Dawson's Creek star had been thrust into the fashion limelight. Kate's style epitomises classic chic and is far cry from Victoria Beckham's 'try hard' attempt at being fashionable. According to Galina Espinoza from People magazine: 'Katie Holmes is one of the most remarkable style revolutions. She's always very simple, very elegant and her clothes fit her properly'.
Who do you think has had the biggest style transformation from a stylist?