How did you and Cynthia approach the overall fashion narrative for this season?
I’ve only been with Cynthia for four months, which was the start of the press tour for Harriet. We were shooting the cover of a magazine and met that way, and I had an idea of how I wanted the cover to look, and then once we went into the idea of me being her personal stylist, I kind of really leaned into the idea of Cynthia coming from theater. She adores fashion. I’ve never met someone who actually wants to own the most uncomfortable, awkward, hardest things to wear. She actually wants to own them. And with that, I tied that into the strength and the ambition that both Cynthia and Harriet have, and what she conveyed in the film. So we really started there, and wanted every time that we stepped on a carpet or stepped in front of a screen to give this impactful, sensational fashion moment to honor Harriet and be in this space where we would always laugh and ask, if Harriet was going to this, we would probably want her to wear this. From all the pain and the hurt that people of color have had and have to go through, we decided to make everything feel so light and so happy—we just wanted to smile. That’s the thing that everyone has leaned into with Cynthia because, vs. a lot of people, when they do the red carpet, they take it so seriously and their faces are so stoic. Cynthia is literally having the best time. Her best accessory, clearly we go back and forth, is her smile. We lean into that. Every time she walks onto the red carpet it’s like you are watching a feel-good movie.
What does she tend to gravitate towards?
I’m very lucky when it comes to the things Cynthia leans towards. At this point, I know her. I know when I go look at a collection, I need to go look at the hardest look that will translate in real life. For example, the Marc Jacobs dress that she wore to the LA premiere of Harriet, it’s one of those looks that looked so fantastic on the runway, but will that translate in real life? If a photographer shoots it, they can manipulate the shoots beautifully, but for Cynthia it’s like you have to have that balance for her, because she wants the hardest, the strongest, the boldest thing that walked, and our fittings are based around that. So when that Marc Jacobs dress came in, we put it on and she was like, this is it! When she put the Valentino Couture on, the train was as long as Princess Diana’s, that worked! You know, the Fendi Couture for Critics…Our fittings are so well rounded with selection. It’s very edited down, but the looks are the looks from the collection. She is the perfect muse for designers, because real creatives want to see those interesting hard pieces on real life people.
What look, leading up to the Oscars, really stands out and is the most memorable for you?
With Cynthia, I think it would be, ah man. I think it’s the Fendi Couture look [for the Critics’ Choice Awards]. Cynthia had 15 minutes and we had to fit for 10 looks and that was one of the dresses that was on the rack. And I said to her, this is my dream dress. I want you to wear my dream dress for me. I received it from Milan, and I held it, and it was one of those moments where I was like I’m holding this because I know this dress needs a moment. Cynthia tried it on, it needed no alterations, she let me take a photo, and she ran out of the house to go to a rehearsal for something. For me, it’s the most impactful because it just shows the ease of how it really should be. And when you think about things you love, when you think about fashion, it should feel easy, it should feel light, and it should feel like your own. That look felt like Cynthia, it literally felt like that dress loved to be on her as much as she loved to be in it.
Can you give us any details around her Oscars look?
It’s magical. I have goosebumps, it’s magical. I literally went through…I waited for Couture to walk, and I had sketches, and then I saw it and I was like that’s it, that’s the dress. Still haven’t tried it on, so I don’t know, but my hopes and dreams are that is the dress.