From journalist to Cate Blanchett’s stylist: Elizabeth Stewart on how to make it in the industry
Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain and Gal Gadot. These are just some of the names on Elizabeth Stewart’s list of clients. A former fashion editor at Women’s Wear Daily and the New York Times, she is now one of the most sought-after stylists in Hollywood. That comes as no surprise, as the celebrities she dresses often appear on the list of best dressed.
Having gathered over 130,000 followers on Instagram, Stewart is now stepping into the limelight herself. Earlier this year, she launched a shoe collection with PLV Shoes titled “Stand Tall”, featuring 10 statement pieces “for the red carpet moments in every woman’s life”. Her fondness for mixing “high and low” has also led her to partner up with Walmart as the official spokesperson for their four apparel private brands: George, Time and Tru, Terra & Sky and Wonder Nation.
FashionUnited spoke to Stewart about her career trajectory and what to do if you, too, aspire to become a stylist to the stars.
When and how did you decide to work in fashion?
I’ve loved fashion as long as I can remember! My mother is from Spain so I’ve spent many summers in Barcelona, and my relatives there are all very chic and stylish. They inspired my love for fashion at a very young age.
You started your career as a fashion reporter for Women’s Wear Daily, the New York Times and W Magazine. How did you make the move from journalism to red-carpet styling?
My first jump was from writing to styling. I was in Paris helping with the launch of W Europe, which was W Magazine printed in 4 languages. They needed someone to style the covers, and I stepped in and never looked back. Then I segued from editorial styling to red carpet when I moved to LA to get married and started doing a lot of magazine covers with celebrities.
Being a stylist to the stars sounds very glamorous, but the public is not familiar with the hard work that goes into it. Can you make an “expectations vs. reality” description of your career?
One of the biggest challenges for a stylist is time management. I have so much fun doing what I do, and I’m blessed with awesome clients that double as friends! But, the most stressful part of my job is that my time is not my own. I’m subject to all of my clients’ schedules and I try to balance spending time with my family because I travel a lot and work over the weekends.
What tips would you give to a fashion student looking to become a stylist in the future?
The best way to get into the styling business is to get a job as an assistant to a stylist. It’s like an apprenticeship, it will teach you the ins and outs of the business.
Do you have a favorite outfit? A look that made you think “wow, I love my job!” once you saw your client on the red carpet?
One of my favorite red carpet memories of all time was Cate Blanchett in Givenchy at the 2011 Oscars. I’ve always loved that look, especially because the dress had chartreuse drops on the shoulders. It was such a beautiful dress.
Brands must pitch themselves to you all the time. How do you choose which ones to work with?
I align my business partnerships with brands and products that I truly believe in. I’ve always felt that great fashion doesn’t have to come at a heavy price tag, which is why I’m proud to partner with a brand like Walmart. For example, one of my favorite high-low looks on the red carpet was for Wonder Woman – I styled Gal Gadot in a dress tailored for high heels, but she had back problems during the press tour, so I put her in Rocket Dog flip flops!
Networking must be essential in your profession. Can you give some networking tips to aspiring stylists?
Networking is so important! You never know who you might meet – no matter where you are. My advice is to get connected with young professionals you admire and apply to intern or shadow their work – that’s invaluable experience that will open the door for a multitude of opportunities in the industry.
Picture credits: Instagram, John Shearer / Getty Images North America / AFP