Fashion

Celebrity Stylist Emma Morrison on Red Carpet Glamour

How this young stylist is changing the nature of red carpet fashion and landing her clients, like Emily Ratajkowski, spots on the best-dressed list.
Reading time 6 minutes

Every red carpet today has become a march for female empowerment. Celebrity stylists now have a duty that spans well beyond fashion. How do they represent clients in a way that speaks to our current political and social climate while still serving up glamour? For stylist Emma Morrison, the process is all about giving her clients a voice by getting them involved in the sartorial selection process. The look, Morrison feels, should be a representation of the woman she’s dressing. This is to say, the woman should always come before the clothes.

Morrison's intrinsic style and knowledge come from an early age, but it was during her years as a fashion editor at American Vogue that she developed hands-on expertise. Now, one of Hollywood’s rising celebrity stylists, she is steering the red carpet towards a new type of glamour: modern, fashion-forward, cool, and best of all, attainable. By incorporating new, young designers and unconventional styling practices, Morrison makes her clients look less like dolls and more like superheroes.

 

[Image: Morrison's Instagram]

While at Vogue, Morrison was introduced to Emily Ratajkowski, who would later become her first client (followed by other it-girls like Imaan Hammam and Martha Hunt). For Ratajkowski, who is particularly vocal about women’s rights to freely express her sexuality, dressing for today’s culture comes naturally. “She would never wear anything that she didn’t feel represented her,” Morrison notes. Pairing Morrison’s guidance with Ratajkowski’s input might not be the recipe for that old Hollywood glamour we’re used to seeing on red carpets, but together they make no apologies. And being an unapologetic woman in Hollywood is today’s key accessory, anyway.

 

The rising-star stylist takes us through her styling process.

How did you first start working with Emily?

We met in a professional capacity while I was still a Fashion Editor at Vogue and really hit it off as we had a lot of stylistic similarities.

 

What’s the first step in the styling process?

It’s an on-going process! The second that shows are posted on Vogue Runway, I scour them and add to folders and moodboards that I have for each of my clients. My Vogue training has made me both methodical and practical as well as creative, so I always consider what is sartorially appropriate for the season, aesthetically consistent with our shared vision, and ever-evolving with what’s currently inspiring both myself and my clients.  

 

How would you characterize Emily’s style?

Emily is an absolute unicorn in the way that she manages to be both remarkably relatable and incredibly fashion forward. Everything that she puts on looks instantly sexy and cool because of her innate sense of style—she has such a strong knowledge of fashion and education in art, but is also inherently a beach-babe from San Diego.

 

What about red carpet fashion did you feel needed to change?

I think that there was an attachment to brand-name that feels antiquated—it’s the stylist’s job to judge the quality and caliber of the pieces being used and this shouldn’t exclude younger brands. That being said, I do think that this is widely practiced and I have so much respect for all stylists—everyone’s unique approach is what keeps both the industry and the general audience on their toes!

 

Who are some of your favorite designers for Emily?

Some of my favorite looks have been with Prada, Altuzarra, Jacquemus, and Brock.

Favorite look you’ve styled for her so far?

A recent favorite is the Michael Kors cut-out dress that she wore the the premiere of I Feel Pretty. The cut-out was such an unexpected way to show some skin, and the sarong draping of the skirt added a California cool-girl element to a red-carpet look. I also adored the custom Zac Posen dress that she wore to the Vanity Fair Oscars party—it was so romantic and dreamy.


 

Emily is known for turning heads on the red carpet, but always does so tastefully. How do you find the line between the two?

I find it important to always find an element to ground a look—I always try to think about what would make an outfit intrinsically cooler to make sure that nothing looks too precious or too sexy. Perhaps that means a heavier boot with a floaty dress, or a pair of slouchy pants to contrast a skimpy top. It’s really an old-school rule of thumb—if there is a lot of skin showing in one area, it tends to be best to avoid over-exposure everywhere

Red carpet looks aside. You’ve turned Emily into somewhat of a “real girl” street style icon. And in doing so, have put a ton of new designers on the map (Maison Cleo, I.AM.GIA, Orseund Iris, to name a few). What’s this process like?

I love finding gems that haven’t been overexposed yet so I do a lot of internet stalking on a variety of platforms to find new brands to work with. Authenticity is essential to me, so I try to make everything (including red carpets) look like something that a client might actually own. Emily and I work very naturally on her casual looks. My approach is more about introducing her to new pieces that she can incorporate into her wardrobe herself, versus consistently styling out full street-style looks.

 

Finally, the one styling tip every woman should know?

Aesthetically, I always advise to hone your inspirations—pick a few eternal icons to emulate versus following the flash-in-the-pan trends of the moment. Practically, find a tailor! Well-fitting clothing always looks more polished and pulled together. Personally, I love to buy multiples of affordable pieces that I know I will wear and have them tailored to slightly different shapes and lengths

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