January 23, 2017—When Marie Claire handed out its 2017 Image Makers Awards a few weeks ago, celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich received the Stylist Icon prize. It was a fitting tribute. Cristina has been creating lasting looks on the red carpet and off for 20-years. She has dressed Penélope Cruz for over a decade and Tina Fey for eons. Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Allison Williams, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Priyanka Chopra, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Uzo Adbua are among the other stars she works with today. In The Adventurine’s series of stories surrounding Award Season in Los Angeles, I sat down with Cristina to talk about rules for styling jewelry on the red carpet and off. Following is a transcript of what she said.
1. For major red carpets, I think in terms of classic Hollywood glamour….
“Photos from the Oscars or any major red carpet are published throughout the world and repeatedly during an actress’s career. I think about that when I am styling. When we are creating a look, I am always asking myself how will this feel at the moment the star hits the red carpet and how will the moment look 5 or 10 years from now.
Of course this idea applies to the jewelry. A great example is Tina Fey [photo above] at the Oscars last year. She was in a Bulgari sapphire and diamond necklace. The jewel with her purple Versace strapless gown and the chic updo was elegant and modern. There was nothing complicated or tricky about it. It was just a glamorous eternal look.”
2. The right jewel can transform a black dress into a legendary look…
“To take a black dress over the top on an Oscar red carpet it really needs a great jewel. When I styled Margot Robbie for the 2015 Oscars, she came into town and swept into my Los Angeles office one day before the ceremony. I had all the dresses and major jewelry ready. When she tried on the Saint Laurent black dress everyone loved it but it needed something. I had the Van Cleef & Arpels Zipper necklace among the selection of jewels in the office. Once she heard about the history of the design, how the Duchess of Windsor had inspired Van Cleef to create it, she really fell in love with the jewel. She just owned the red carpet with that jewel on. It was her Michelle Pfeiffer coming down in the elevator ‘Scarface’ moment. With that blonde bob, black dress and the necklace, she showed all her strength.”
3. Jewelry should make a statement and not confuse the eye…
“There are a lot of wonderful jewelry designers creating interesting work today. My team and I blanket the market to find great things for press events. My general rule is that the jewelry should make a statement and not confuse the eye. There is a way to do jewelry that captivates the audience and doesn’t take away from what the actress is saying. When Greta Gerwig was on Fallon recently, she wore Jennifer Fisher jewels—a thick gold hoop and one ring on the pointer ring. A ring on the pointer finger is divine. It makes a statement.”
4. Rules are made to be broken…
“I love after all these years of doing this job, that I am always learning new things and that some of my rules can be broken. At the Golden Globes, for example, Priyanka Chopra was wearing Ralph Lauren Collection gold embroidered Gustave Klimt dress. Because of all the detail my instinct would be, say a fun cocktail ring and earrings and you are done. But Priyanka has an affection for big jewelry. Her passion for it inspired me to go to Lorraine Schwartz for something special.”
“When you go to Lorraine the process is about a collaboration. She looks at the dress and begins to create. Lorraine is very detail oriented about how the jewel is going to fit or an earring look close to the face. When you have the privilege to work with Lorraine on a big piece of jewelry, she makes sure it all works perfectly with the dress. The necklace Lorraine custom made for Priyanka had a 45-carat diamond pendant. It was amazing.”