2014 Oscars: Behind The Scenes With Our Styling Team

Rachel Zoe Studio’s whirlwind awards season culminated last night with the ultra-glam Academy Awards. How does our styling team prep for such a big occasion? The answer: spreadsheets, interns, pizza and enough gowns, bags and shoes to fill any Los Angeles boutique. Follow the team through their last-minute preparations for a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes of this historic Hollywood event.

Photos: Jessie Webster

“During the week leading up to the Oscars our studio is filled with amazing gowns. We style our clients for the actual awards show as well as for the Vanity Fair after-party, which even more people go to."

“In addition to pulling gowns from the showrooms and having them shipped to us from abroad, designers will also create custom dresses for our clients. We love this process because it allows us to put them in something truly special that’s never been seen, let alone worn before.”

“Every client gets their own pre-packed styling kit, filled with everything from heel inserts and double-sided tape to fuzzy slippers for hair and makeup. We bring these kits with us so that we’re prepared for any last-minute fashion disaster and also to make sure our clients are as comfortable as possible on the red carpet.”

“It all started with just Rachel and now we’re a team of five, which is still relatively small considering how many jobs we have every week! While we usually divide and conquer, the Oscars is an all-hands-on-deck situation – we even hire extra interns to help us during this time. There’s just so much to do.”

“Alyssa and Lindsay, the two assistant stylists on our team, do everything from requesting and pulling accessories to organizing and assisting for client fittings. Both girls started working with Rachel as interns before joining the team full-time.”

“We literally pull over one hundred pairs of shoes in anticipation of the Oscars, and divide them into sections of at least two dozen pairs for every client. We keep every heel height, color and style on hand because we often won’t know which pair works until the very last minute.”

“While most of our clients will end up carrying a clutch or minaudiere in black or a metallic shade, we keep a range of bright colors in the studio for the occasional break from tradition and for the after-party looks as well. There are so many fun choices, it’s impossible to part with them.”

“What would we do without our interns! Our swat team of girls help us with everything from unpacking boxes and checking in items to organizing the styling kits for each client. They keep spreadsheets of everything coming in and going out of the studio so that every last earring and stiletto is accounted for. They’re the best.”

“While prepping for the Oscars involves lots of running around, there’s plenty of office work too. Gathering research and inspiration for a client’s look, collaborating with designers and brands over email and responding to requests from everyone under the sun keeps us pretty much glued to our computer and phone during the day.”

“During Oscars week (okay, month) we’ll order a lot of take out at the studio. From fresh salads and cold-pressed juices to fresh pasta and pizza, there are so many delicious options in West Hollywood. It’s the fuel we need to power through the long days and nights leading up to the big event.”

“Our team is all business but we also happen to get along really well, too. Since we’re a small team and we travel and work late together, it kind of has to be that way. This is not a 9-to-5, cubicle-style work environment where you can put on your headphones and be in your own world all day long.”

“When it comes to jewelry at the Oscars, our clients wear the best of the best. These pieces are so unbelievably stunning in person; it makes everyday jewelry seem so plain! We keep our options organized by style on trays so that we can look at likeminded pieces at one time.”

“When it comes to accessories, even though we make sure we have options, we also have a good sense of what our clients like and look good in, which helps with the pull. Knowing what dress she’ll be wearing also helps narrow down the options, but that’s a luxury we don’t always have!”

“We’ve been in our Melrose Avenue space for almost two years now. It’s very open with tons of light, which is important for being able to see color properly and organize the racks and stacks of accessories in any configuration. We also have black and white curtains for privacy and so that we can use our space for the occasional photo shoot.”

“It’s great when two people can go on an appointment together so that you can bounce ideas off each other and try on pieces together. We’ve learned to be fast on appointments; sometimes it will literally only take ten minutes to find what we need and we’re onto the next thing.”

“Jewelry can add so much to a red carpet look and there are endless combinations. We’ll photograph or memorize a few different ideas that we like in advance but just as often you’ll come up with something new at the client’s hotel room or house, about 10 minutes before she walks out of the door.”

Pictured: David Webb Jewelry

“While being a stylist isn’t always as glamorous as it seems, the job has its perks. During Oscars season we are treated to facials, champagne and other nice things. We don’t always have time for full-on spa sessions but it’s nice to relax and rejuvenate so that you look and feel on-point for your client during the chaotic days and hours leading up to the show.”

“Collaboration is super-important to what we do. We’re always talking to Rachel online if she’s not in the office and filling her in on the latest details and finds we’ve come across. She’ll give us notes before we meet up with the client for a fitting and come down for a run-through when we’ve pulled a lot of new pieces.”

“By the time you’re reading this, these gorgeous gowns will probably be packed up and sent off to the designers who loaned them to us! While nothing compares to the glamour that Oscars night brings, there’s always another campaign, editorial or event for us to get excited about and inspired by at the studio. Until next season!”