For Hollywood studios and their top-earning A-list talent, the growing list of COVID-19 canceled award shows, film festivals and press tours has made marketing movies and TV shows during a global pandemic more challenging. Over time, though, workarounds have emerged, including video-conferenced talk-show appearances and plans for this year’s Emmy Awards to take place virtually instead of in-person. But the celebrity stylists who earn livings dressing stars for such occasions don’t have such a workaround. No red carpet (or photo shoot or film festival) means no styling work. We recently checked in with a handful of Hollywood’s go-to stylists — the kind of folks who dress stars like Rami Malek, Donald Glover, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Kristen Stewart and Allison Janney — to see what they’ve been doing to survive and thrive during the crisis. The big takeaway? With no return to the red carpet on the horizon, the key to survival has been turning side hustles into main hustles. Call it the “pandemic pivot.”
For the record:
5:45 PM, Aug. 07, 2020An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to John Krasinski as the co-writer of “A Quiet Place Part II,” instead of the writer.
A 2017 file photo of celebrity stylist Tara Swennen and then-new pet pig Sprinkles. Since then she has added two more to her menagerie, most recently — and during the pandemic — a rescue pig named Peanut.(Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)
Best-known for styling Stewart, Julie Bowen and Janney, Tara Swennen has also earned a reputation as an outspoken friend of the animals. She was celebrated for her efforts at L.A.’s Vegan Fashion Week in October, and her household menagerie includes a pair of pot-bellied pigs, Sprinkles and Chocolate Chip, and a tortoise named Skittle.
Last gig: “I halted mid-music video with one of my clients, and we never got to shoot it,” Swennen said. “But the last major production I did was the movie poster for Kristen Stewart’s new movie, ‘Happiest Season,’ which is a Christmas movie.” That was in the first week of March. (The film is set for a Nov. 25 theatrical release.) “I joked with my agent that the ultimate irony is it will probably be the first thing that comes back to fully promote.”
Next gig: Swennen said she’s had three styling jobs since then — two over Zoom, one in person — and all in the second half of July. “Lana Condor is the new face of Neutrogena so I sort of Zoom-styled her for her coming out as a brand ambassador,” Swennen said. “And I did the same thing for a photo shoot for Julie Bowen. I made outfits for her, dropped off the clothes and just let her go.” The in-person gig, for which she styled Janney for a national magazine cover shoot (she can’t disclose which one), involved staggered arrivals, multiple rooms to avoid crowding and a point person responsible for keeping things wiped down and sanitized.Financial impact: “Up until two weeks ago, I was at 100% down, and now I’m at maybe [95% down] as far as the styling,” Swennen said. “Everything that I’ve