Petra Flannery just hit a career milestone. Her client, Emma Stone, was just named Best Dressed by the iconic Vogue Magazine. And though it is Emma that gets the cover of the special issue, it is Petra that should be taking home the real career success.
It is stylists that push an actress’s career to the next level by landing them a magazine cover, dressing them in an iconic look at a huge event like the Oscars and landing them a beauty or fashion contract. It is safe to say that stylists are as important and powerful as agents in an actress’s career. Both Petra and Emma have had great years for their career. Emma appeared in notable films like the Oscar nominated The Help as well as the box office hit Spiderman reboot and was named best dressed by Instyle and now Vogue. Both Petra and Emma graced the cover of The Hollywood Reporter at the beginning of this year because of their successful partnership.
Stylists don’t just help actresses but they can help put an obscure designer on the map as well if they can get an actress to wear them to a big event. Merle Ginsberg, senior writer at The Hollywood Reporter, told the Post that actresses are very often paid to wear a certain gown. “Having Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman or Gwyneth Paltrow walking in your dress is worth an enormous amount of money in terms of advertising and brand, and the designers figured that out some time ago,” he said. And of course then agents want to get in on the endorsement deals. Agents will try to get deals ranging from $200,000 to $600,000 out of designers trying to put their dress on an actress.“The most creative stylists,” says Mitch Grossbach, who heads up CAA’s new fashion division, “are those who can impact a designer’s business with just one look.”
What’s interesting is the stylist industry didn’t really exist until the early 2000s and the term didn’t even come about til the mid-1990s. There was no such thing as a Rachel Zoe. Most actresses relied on their (gasp!) own fashion judgement (and that is how the infamous Sharon Stone Gap turtleneck debacle happened.) According to Forbes’ Leah Bourne, early power players included Jessica Paster, who wowed the world with Kim Basinger’s Escada gown in 1998, and Bloch and then Rachel Zoe by the mid-2000s.
Flannery told The Hollywood Reporter that her favorite recent fashion moment for Emma was the plunging wine-colored chiffon custom Lanvin that she wore with an eagle belt to the last Golden Globes. “Much like her personality, Emma is very fun and quick-witted with fashion,” says Flannery.