Secrets Of A Celebrity Stylist: Rebecca Corbin-Murray
DESPITE awards season winding down post Oscars, celebrity stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray still has her work cut out for her thanks to Emma Watson’s Beauty and the Beast tour getting into full swing. In addition, she counts a bevy of Hollywood’s bright young things in her client list (Lily James, Holliday Grainger, and Gabriella Wilde among them), making her responsible for turning her clients into fashion stars (in their spare time). Here, she tells us her tips, tricks and how she tackles sustainability on the red carpet.
How do you approach a new client and what questions do you ask them?
“It’s normally quite an organic process by word of mouth or personal connections. Sometimes I reach out and sometimes they do.”
Who are stars that you work with repeatedly and why?
“Emma Watson, Lily James, Sophie Turner, Jenna Coleman, Gabriella Wilde and Holliday Grainger. I think I tend to work with collaborative women – it’s such a personal relationship, so you have to feel comfortable with one another and be able to have an open channel of communication.”
How do you stay on top of all the designers?
“Vogue online and Instagram mostly. Instagram is amazing for finding new talent – or talent from different countries.”
Do you have designers who you rely on for certain occasions? If so, who?
“I go to different designers for different girls. Some designers we just know design pieces which work on certain girls and there are definitely some designers who are geared more towards red-carpet events.”
What are your red-carpet tricks to enhance stars’ appearance, taking into consideration height, size etc?
“An arsenal of underpinnings and a fabulous tailor are two of my secret weapons. We have ‘standing practice’ before they leave for an event too. It’s sounds ridiculous, but if you are on the red carpet in front of a bank of photographers who are all screaming at you, you need to be confident about how you present yourself and the clothes. You don’t want to be thinking about where your hands are or what you feet are doing.”
Do you embark on a planned campaign with stars, as in plan out the entire season ahead?
“For press tours, planning is like a military operation! Most of my clients have extremely busy filming schedules so we try and squeeze in fittings when we can and work as much in advance as possible. Schedules change and there is always the possibility of a last-minute event.”
Who have been the most style-savvy stars you have worked with?
“I think most of the girls I work with are stylish and have their own vibe. We work together to build their style vocabulary.”
How do you navigate styling a star who has specific requests like sustainable-only clothing?
“So many clients are being more conscious about sustainability when it comes to the choices they make for their work appearances. It’s incredibly difficult to navigate, but by asking brands whether they have transparent supply chains sometimes makes them look into whether they do – and if not, why not. The women who ask questions are disruptors in the industry and hopefully this will be a force for positive change.”
What designers would you go to in this instance?
“We have been working with Livia Firth’s Eco-Age recently to try and discover which brands are doing good things. There are online stores like Reve-en-Vert, Maison de Mode and The Acey who find and support ethical brands too.”
Do you relish the challenge of finding things like faux leather, faux fur etc?
“Looking into what constitutes ‘ethical and sustainable’ is a constant learning curve. Faux fur and leather can actually be more toxic and harmful than just using leather. Real vegan leather is quite expensive and should not be made from scary things like polyurethane. Brands like Stella McCartney really blow my mind because of all the research and development they put into their fabrics. It’s so hard to find luxury fabrics that aren’t toxic and harmful and not exploiting the planet or people.”
Can you tell us about an experience with a star you would rather forget?
“I once sewed someone into a dress that to get off she’d need to be cut out of. Subsequently she slept in the dress after too many bubbles.”
What is a big no-no when it comes to dressing stars for the red carpet?
“Putting someone in something that they are not comfortable with – it’s written all over their face and body language in a picture.”
Have there aver been any disasters and what have you learnt from them?
“Catering for last-minute events. We always need a back-up look, just in case.”
What has been your favourite outfit of all time?
“Lily in stripy Erdem at the PPZ premiere, or pink Dior at the first Cinderella premiere; Sophie in Louis Vuitton at the BAFTAs recently; Emma in Oscar de la Renta at the Beauty and the Beast premiere; and Jenna in fringed, beaded Burberry at the Vogue Paris event.”