The Hollywood Reporters Puts a Spotlight on Black Stylists that are carving their way in Fashion
In The Hollywood Reporter's ninth annual ranking, the town's top tastemakers create showstopping looks for A-listers — such as Regina King, Idris Elba, Mahershalia Ali and more — and land Oscar commercials and fashion deals, often while making statements about inclusion.
Van Van Alonso
WHY SHE MATTERS "When it comes to doing men's tuxedos and suiting, it's always a challenge to create a look that stands out," says Alonso, who first met the two-time Oscar winner on an editorial shoot in 2016. The Moonlightactor messaged her two weeks later on Instagram and they've been working together ever since. "It's easy to put somebody in a suit, but I needed to find someone who understood me on a deeper level," Ali tells THR. "It's about the little details that speak specifically to the person wearing it." Adds Alonso: "We like to keep things original, respectful [of the event] and classic."
TOP LOOK The Green Book winner's pick? "It's the Oscars for me," says Ali, who wore a black brocade Ermenegildo Zegna XXX tuxedo, a hat and aviator glasses. "If you don't finish with your favorite look, then something's wrong."
Wayman Bannerman & Micah McDonald
WHY THEY MATTER Take a veteran talent and an ingenue, who also happen to be starring in the same critically acclaimed film, pair them with the same styling duo and voila: a designer-packed awards-show run for the record books (roughly 141 looks in total). If Beale Street Could Talk's King and Layne both started working last fall with Bannerman and McDonald, who are known for Thompson's avant-garde looks. "I discovered how special Ralph & Russo couture is, and I got to have fun saying, 'Atelier Versace' all night at the Oscars," says Layne of the whirlwind six months, which took her to the front row at Dior in Paris. Adds Oscar winner King: "I've had stylists in the past say to me, 'You need to stand like this, you need to do more of this,' but Wayman and Micah have always just embraced who I am. If anything, they've pushed me to be more comfortable."
TOP LOOKS King accepted her Oscar in an elegant white Oscar de la Renta, while Thompson, who became a #ChanelPartner for the Oscars, paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld in an embroidered silk bustier Chanel Haute Couture dress that took 225 hours to create.
WHY SHE MATTERS "Idris is not the kind of person who just has a stylist bring him a boatload of clothes — he gets involved and is passionate about it," says Konteh of her collaborator for eight years and counting. "His style is sharp." A few of the Luther and Turn Up Charlie star's signature looks include tailored overcoats and monochromatic suits, almost always with Christian Louboutin shoes, preferably custom. For 2018's Met Ball, Elba co-designed his black tuxedo with Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller. "The theme was religion, so we ended up designing this clergyman-esque jacket with white cuffs to emulate the white [clerical collar]," says Elba, who accessorized with pointed, white-stitched black shoes.
TOP LOOK Elba chose a statement suit in "money green" by Ozwald Boateng ("really special, inspired by Ghanaian and African prints," he says) for the Globes, where his 17-year-old daughter, Isan, served as ambassador. "I couldn't find the bow tie, so subsequently I went onto the carpet without it," says Elba. Konteh notes that his style is always "so effortlessly cool," it didn't matter. "It was so sharp, totally unexpected, and everybody loved it."