We met up with Costume Designer and Stylist to the Stars, Jennifer Rade, at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel for a drink to talk about red carpet style. Jennifer is no stranger to the scene; her clients include Angelina Jolie, Snoop Dogg and Pink. She also received the Costume Designer’s Guild Award for Best Commercial Design for Apple iPod in 2005 and Target in 2007. Jennifer was recently featured on the The Face, a reality show where top models Naomi Campbell, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova choose the next supermodel.
29Secrets: Do you get your inspiration from people you meet every day?
Jennifer: I was just saying before, like every single person in [Toronto,] Canada is like really stylish. I’m like, oh my God, I was not prepared for this! It’s intimidating actually.
29Secrets: You came here thinking you were going to have to transform Canada?
Jennifer: I don’t know, I thought it would be normal. Even fashion people are sometimes the least fashionable. Here it’s not the case at all - everyone has style.
29Secrets: What was your start in styling?
Jennifer: I moved to LA, and I met a girl, who was a stylist, and she did a lot of hip hop music videos and she asked me to assist her, which I did for about 4 months. And the video director, whose name is Lionel Martin, just really took a chance on me. I was 22 years-old, and he was like, ‘I just feel like you have great potential as a stylist, and I would like to develop you.’ And he started hiring me for MC Brains, Oochy Koochy, LaLaLa, Jail Felony, Boyz II Men and Bell Biv Devoe. Lionel just gave me opportunity when I was young.
29Secrets: What were some of you favourite red carpet looks at the Oscars?
Jennifer: I love Stacy Keibler, because of the way the beading was done on that dress - it’s so flattering - the curve on the hip and the way it dropped, just all of it. And Charlize [Theron], I mean, who looks like that? Seriously? If you have a buzz cut, and you’re looking glamorous - it’s so unfair. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to just live one day of your life like that. And I’ve met her before and she’s so sweet and cool and down to earth. You wish you could hate her, but you can’t even hate her -because she’s so sweet. I loved Halle Berry. Like, it was perfect. It’s very hard to do sexy with sleeves.
29Secrets: Would you do anything differently, if you were styling them?
Jennifer: I have a hard time with chiffon and certain fabrics, like on Jennifer Garner - because it wrinkled in the car. That’s always a kind of bummer when that happens. But it’s somewhat unavoidable, so you have to be really thoughtful in what fabrics you pick.
29Secrets: A lot of the girls had a sun-kissed look to their skin. Is having a glow important on the red carpet?
Jennifer: If Charlize didn’t have a little bit of a sun kissed glow, I don’t think it would have worked. It would just totally washed her out. That’s actually what I like about products like Jergens Natural Glow. I mean, even the word “natural glow” as opposed to a spray tan type is better, because a spray tan is basically just getting painted. Everybody looks the same afterwards. It’s like everyone went through the same oompa-loompa machine. And I really don’t like tinted moisturizers because it’s my nightmare as a stylist. You know, when you’re getting someone dressed, and then a makeup artist is like, ‘oh, let me slather that on’. I’m like, that’s a really expensive dress we borrowed and it’s white and you need to protect it, you’re killing me!
29Secrets: What’s the process like, for styling, for something like the Oscars?
Jennifer: Normally the nominations come out, and the second you have a client that gets nominated for something, it begins. As soon as you find out, you’re immediately contacting designers, it kind of gets out of control. I might have 30-40 gowns and then I usually let the client kind of look through and see what they gravitate to first. If you have a client like Anne Hathaway, where you know the person has to do all of awards season, you end up trying on stuff for the whole of awards season. The Oscars are the closing of awards season, so if you’re going to go out with a bang, you want something that’s dramatic.
29Secrets: Is there one client you really love working with?
Jennifer: I’m really lucky because everyone I work with is awesome. I spent years working with Marilyn Manson - he’s still my dear friend. Love him to death, he’s so funny, so smart, so well read.