Hollywood’s Most Powerful Stylist On Self Expression & The Thrill Of The Find

“It’s about understanding yourself: who you are, what your message is, what you want to say.” This was just one of the style tips we heard yesterday morning from Leslie Fremar, the woman who the Hollywood Reporter recently named “Hollywood’s Most Powerful Stylist” for her work with celebrity clientele like Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore, and Reese Witherspoon. We weren’t just there to chat red carpets, though. Instead, we were sitting down to hear Fremar lead a discussion with Dr. Hazel Clark, the Research Chair of Fashion at Parsons, about the link between fashion and self expression, which they explored through a study conducted with T.J. Maxx.

What they found was empowering — literally. 87 percent of the thousand women they surveyed said they don’t feel controlled by fashion, but rather feel like they control it as a tool of self expression. And what do women want in order to express themselves? Options. 77 percent said they want more options available to them, which seems like a sensible response to us, although we’d probably tack on “more closet space” as an addendum.

Read on for Fremar’s take on discount shopping, the public’s fascination with celebrity style, and the dreaded day after a red carpet event.

On the interest in Hollywood style:

“Fashion and Hollywood have really merged in the last decade. People are extremely interested in what celebrities are wearing, why they made that choice, how they look head to toe, where that decision came from. Is it the stylist’s point of view? Their point of view? I think people are really interested in that and want to know where everything is coming from. And with this study, we see that women are passionate about what they wear and do see it as an artistic outlet, so all of those things together that for me kind of proved what I do every day.”

On her favorite part of bargain shopping:

“I went to T.J. Maxx recently and went shopping, and the amount of amazing designer pieces you can find at incredible prices. I left with some really amazing things and what I found fascinating was that they were all things that worked for me. So I came home and got dressed and felt great and I felt like I really found something. I was excited! There’s a thrill there when you find things that not everyone is going to have.”

On dealing with red carpet criticism:

“For me, the hardest thing waking up the next day after a huge event that we’ve put months of prep into, say the Oscars, is all of a sudden you do hear all of these voices saying ‘That was amazing!’, ‘That was horrible!’, ‘She looks this way’, what we’re slowly learning as professionals is to not listen to all of those voices because there are so many now and more than ever you have to stay firm and stay true to what you believe — what works, why you chose that, all of the things that came to play into that moment — and really stand behind it. The actresses, too, are learning to have a thicker skin because there are all of these voices coming at them and pecking at them, saying why they looked great or not. After the Oscars, no one even talks about their performance in the movie, it’s really about what they wore last night. So my job has become much more sensitive because when they come home at the end of the night and take their dress off and take their makeup off, they’re women just like us.”

Check out the videos below for some bargain shopping tips:

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