Kate Young started in fashion as an assistant to Anna Wintour before taking on Hollywood. Now, between editorial and advertising gigs, she styles red carpet regulars and awards season stunners like Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman and Rachel Weisz.
What is the best and most difficult thing about the race to the red carpet?
My favorite part of the job is the process of putting it all together -figuring out the dress, the jewelry, the hair and the makeup. The most difficult thing is just trying not to worry.
Do you have any survival must-dos to get through? Any secret weapons?
I try to take really good care of my health because I travel a lot and don’t get to exercise as much as I usually do. I take more vitamins and drink more green juice! My secret weapon is my amazing team. My assistant and the tailor I work with on gowns are both brilliant.
What was your first red carpet moment? What is your favorite red carpet moment since you started?
My first awards season was with Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind in 2002. For favorites, Michelle Williams’ yellow Vera Wang Oscar look, Natalie Portman in Lavin lace with Fred Leighton in her hair at the Oscars and Rachel Weisz in green Valentino at Cannes.
What makes for a great awards dress – Golden Globes vs. Oscars?
A great awards dress should be a little surprising and not always immediately likeable. I like a “wink” – a strange color or an offbeat accessory, something “cheap” mixed with couture. I think it’s great to put a big diamond necklace on a young girl or an older woman, not someone in the in between years when they could theoretically afford it.
How do you think your editorial origins have influenced your red carpet styling?
I think I have a little more of a “fashion” eye because of it. Fashion as a magazine editor is something very different then fashion for life. The clothes that make amazing fashion moments aren’t usually what make a woman feel beautiful, and that is what red carpet is all about.
How do you approach styling for a red carpet versus an editorial shoot or ad campaign?
Award shows are interesting because they capture a piece of our time – the movies, actresses and fashion of a certain year. The dresses capture a feeling of ‘right now’. It can’t just be a fashion moment because it has to be flattering, but it can’t just be beautiful either otherwise everyone would wear a black, strapless mermaid gown. Red carpet is about marrying fashion to a woman.
What do you wear to work? Does it change during awards season?
I wear boots, jeans, a button down shirt from Jason Wu or Jil Sander, a backpack from The Row and a fur coat from APC. During awards season I get to wear sandals in LA!
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