Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2012 Oscars, Hair by Adir Abergel
For his first pick (of four), Abergel names Paltrow’s “glossy and gorgeous low ponytail” as one of his best. “She wore this sleek white dress by Tom Ford that had this amazing cape. I wanted to bring the same fluidity to her hair. But it was all about simplicity.” And that’s the mark of a great artist and collaborator — one that knows how to make all the pieces fit, and that understatement can make the loudest statement of all.
Lupita Nyong’o at the 2018 Oscars, Makeup by Nick Barose
This was Nyong’o’s Cleopatra moment — “Fierce and glam,” Barose calls the gold Versace gown and winged eyeliner look. “Instead of it being classic black, we did it in shimmering midnight blue.” (He used Lancome Drama Liqui Pencil in Parisian Night.) Barose loves that this look is “dramatic” but not “overdone, harsh or severe,” giving it a timeless quality. And what did his client think? “Lupita loved the idea that we created this fierce panther eye as a nod to her movie.” (She was promoting Black Panther at the time.)
Elle Fanning at the opening ceremonies of the Cannes Film Festival, 2019, Makeup by Erin Ayanian Monroe
Fanning was a member of the jury at the famed festival, which meant Ayanian Monroe and the team had “an entire two weeks to pull out all the stops and create the most memorable moments we could.” For the opening night, Fanning wore custom Gucci “and serious Chopard diamonds, and I wanted her makeup to be classic Hollywood glamour with a modern take by keeping the application light and sheer with the only opacity on the red lips,” says the pro. (Exact lipstick was a limited edition L’Oreal Colour Riche in Red Carpet.) “It was a perfect night both personally and professionally, and Elle couldn’t have been happier.”
Reese Witherspoon at the 2012 Golden Globes, Hair by Adir Abergel
Fans loved this look because it was a departure for the actress. Abergel says the “effortless, tousled, bombshell waves were inspired by early Brigitte Bardot images.” He always aims to have his clients “feel beautiful and confident, but also like themselves when they walk the red carpet.” For this pro, hair is a form of “self-expression, identity, freedom and confidence” and here, Witherspoon’s look embodies all of that.
Jennifer Garner at the Screen Actors Guild awards in 2014, Hair by Adir Abergel
Abergel says, “People don’t realize how much goes into creating a moment on a red carpet. There is such a collaborative process with the entire team and a lot of research behind the craft. It’s not easy to find the balance.” But the team nailed it here with Garner’s navy Max Mara dress, smoked plum on the eyes and soft, glossy berry lips and “a classic, timeless updo inspired by many of the great beauties who walked the red carpet in the past.”
Rachel Brosnahan at the 2019 Emmys, Makeup by Lisa Aharon
Like all our pros, Aharon had a hard time deciding which of her looks gets the top spot. “However, a makeup look I’m still obsessed with was Rachel’s at the 2019 Emmys.” Unlike a number of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star’s looks that feature a more neutral palette, this one had a lot of color. “She was wearing this stunning navy sequin dress, and we decided to play it up with a somewhat-matching eye and a fun ponytail. The eye was dark but still vibrant, with a lot of lashes and a flawless complexion. Her lips had color, but I kept them quite neutral so that the blue hues really stood out.” The feedback for this bold and sexy look? “I felt like we broke the internet, or at least Instagram, with this one! My phone blew up with beauty breakdown requests and people looking for details on the look in general. It lit me up inside to have this response.”
Mindy Kaling at the 2019 Costume Designers Guild Awards, Hair by Patricia Morales
As Kaling hit the red carpet and Morales posted an image of the look, “My Instagram account was flooded by likes, comments, and DMs. And the press went wild; media outlets wanted a step-by-step on how to get the look,” says Morales. She adds that Kaling’s fans went wild too. “They had never seen her like that before” — a style that was a mix of “old-school Hollywood with a modern, polished edge.” Morales says that night “elevated her image on the red carpet. She raised her game.”
Claire Foy at the 2018 Golden Globes, Hair by Jillian Halouska
“It was an incredibly structured style that screamed power and simplicity,” says Halouska. Though it may have felt simple, the styling wasn’t. “The positioning of the hair part and the direction it was pulled back was very intentional. I combined a water pomade and hairspray that takes no prisoners. I needed each flyaway to bow down and behave,” Halouska recalls. She took inspiration “from Helmut Newton’s vision of a strong woman from the iconic 1975 YSL French Vogue Rue Aubriot ‘Le Smoking’ photographs and played with the masculinity of the hair.” Paired with a beautifully tailored suit, clean makeup, with a matte red lip, the look oozed sexy androgyny.
Poppy Delevingne at the 2019 Critics Choice Awards, Makeup by Tobi Henney
To highlight model Delevingne’s “gorgeous” complexion, Henney used peach shades on the cheeks and a soft nude lip, then let the eyes pop with “lots of mascara, lashes and black liner on the lower waterline.” Henney’s Instagram blew up with requests on how to copy the look; because it was “super wearable,” the look became a reference “for anyone who wanted inspiration for an event look.”
Iliza Shlesinger at the 2021 CMT Awards, Makeup by Colleen Runné
Runné says this look had “all the right components” thanks to the beauty team (hair by Derek Peters), the dress (Maria Lucia Hohan, styled by Tara Swennen), and of course, the wearer. “Not only is Iliza a brilliant comedienne, she is stunning.” Because of the bold pink on the gown, Runné kept the makeup understated: “It was about taking all her best features, creating a look that complimented her, the dress and hair. I added sheen to the arms and décolleté for a truly beautiful red-carpet moment.”
Lana del Rey at the Clive Davis pre-Grammys party in 2020, Hair by Sheridan Ward
Ward calls this moment a “whimsical half up-half down look” that was “clean and structured on one side with soft cascading waves on the other side and down the back.” The singer requested something old Hollywood with a twist to keep it feeling “fresh and current,” says Ward. He took inspiration from the structured-yet-whimsical dress, some references from ‘60s models and actresses “and melded that with my creative ideas before allowing my hands to create the magic.” The songstress “was overjoyed when she looked in the mirror.” Ward recalls: “I remember watching Lana looking in the mirror, and she was speechless, and I saw her light up. She was looking at the different angles, then started smiling, and I could tell that she really loved it.”
Rooney Mara at the 2016 Golden Globes, Hair by Adir Abergel
“This look was a deconstructed two-level braided updo with an architectural flair that accentuated the hard and soft lines of the dress,” explains Abergel. The hair pro, who works with a phenomenal list of actresses and is the creative director of Virtue Labs haircare, says his goal is “to always celebrate the individuality of the woman in my chair and to help her feel her most confident.” With Mara, it shows.