We couldn’t believe celebrity stylistand L.A. boutique ownerIlaria Urbinati had time to share with I Heart Heels her styling inspiration (for major celebs, by the way), as well as what she wears and what’s in her handbag (by Rebecca Minkoff, of course). This girlie is one busy chicster! You can only imagine the squeals that came from this way. Everything Ilaria touches turns to gold (um, including the latest look she put together!), and even though she admits she doesn’t wear heels (gasp!), she’s got some pretty sick taste in clothing for both herself and others.
I Heart Heels: You styled Nina Dobrev for the Met Gala. How did you put together her look and were you nervous?
Ilaria Urbinati: Donna Karan was putting together several sketches, and I asked if they would include one inspired by the DK dress Gwyneth Paltrow wore in the 90s movie Great Expectations – it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. When I think of Donna Karan, that’s what I think of. We narrowed it down to that one and one other gorgeous blush one. They made both for Nina, we flew to L.A. for the fitting, and then ended up going with the “Great Expectations dress,” which was a dream come true.
Nina Dobrev wearing a Donna Karan Atelier silk chiffon gown with burnt-out metal sequins and gold-lined beads. The effortless asymmetrical drapes accentuate the beauty of the back with single-layer sequin straps crisscrossing it.
Accessories-wise, we went simple with everything else because the dress was extravagant. She wore gold Jimmy Choos and H. Stern earrings. I wanted everything else to feel naked, like she just woke up and slid into the dress.
“I did a lot of jumping up and down with excitement at the fitting.” — Ilaria Urbinati, celebrity stylist
It’s always a little nerve-wracking. It was Nina’s first Met Gala, and everyone is still obsessed with the red gown she wore to the Emmys. When I dress Nina for any event now, people wonder “is it gonna be as good as the red gown?” But, I don’t want to compare everything we do to that one. I just want to keep creating fun moments for Nina on the carpet. I also felt really good about this dress. I did a lot of jumping up and down with excitement at the fitting.
IHH: You style so many celebs – from Emmy Rossum and Jayma Mays to Krysten Ritter and Colbie Smulders. What are some of your “secret ingredients”?
IU: A lot of it is finding clothes that will make a splash. I take my work seriously, but fashion itself isn’t something I take too seriously. It should be fun, especially on the red carpet. It’s fun to make a statement, whether it’s with a punch of color, a dramatic silhouette or sometimes simplicity. Also, the client has to feel comfortable and feel good in it, but I do like to push them out of their comfort zone a bit.
Even though there is so much scrutiny, a red carpet outfit shouldn’t be something to fear. It should be an exciting opportunity to stand out and feel awesome. With guys (I dress a lot of men too, including Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Armie Hammer and Joel Edgerton), it’s very different. It’s all about looking effortless and not too styled – but the tailoring has to be meticulous, too.
IHH: I hear you have a Rebecca Minkoff handbag obsession (as do we). What’s in your bag?
IU: Rebecca is a good friend of mine, and I’ve pretty much always carried her bags. I own about 35. I’m currently carrying a new grayish-silver bouclé one, and in it I always have: Warby Parker tortoise sunglasses; straight pins for alterations; an inhaler (I have asthma!); checkbook; wallet; coin purse (also by Minkoff); Dr. Pepper lip balm; Armani lip wax; Stila concealer; gum and a scrunchie.
IHH: What do you personally love to wear – and what would you never wear? (There are some fancy sweatpants in L.A…)
IU: Oh, believe me, I’m not above wearing sweatpants! When you dress other people for a living, you can get really lazy with your own style. I usually wear white Keds, J Brand “Maria” jeans, a Phillip Lim sweater and either a Proenza Schouler or ALC tee. Sometimes I’ll wear my black wax J Brand skinny jeans with cowboy boots I’ve had since high school. In the summer, I wear a lot of sundresses with Keds. I don’t wear heels, so my splurge is fancy sandals, usually from Jimmy Choo because I get them at their sample sales.
IHH: Tell me about your store, Confederacy, and how it’s going. Any new projects on the horizon that you can share?
IU: Confederacy is amazing! We converted to an all men’s store a year ago, and it’s been so much fun. I’m so drawn to the aesthetic of menswear. With that being said, it’s so much work running a giant store with a staff of 10 and a full-time styling career. I don’t get too much sleep, but I have a high motor so it works.
Right now I’m in the middle of working on the relaunch of the suit line I did with The Strokes‘ Albert Hammond Jr. It was such a hit at Confederacy. We get calls for them every day from all over the world, so we figured it was time. It was meant to be a one-time thing, but then Ryan Gosling wore the suits in Crazy Stupid Love and it blew up, so we figured we might as well run with it.
IHH: Your latest shoe purchase…we have to know!
IU: A pair of Golden Goose cowboy boots from my favorite store (By George) in Austin, Texas. I tend to wear my old, beat-up pair more since I’ve had them for so long. These were embarassingly expensive, but I just couldn’t resist [because] they’re so stunning. I hardly ever wear them; I just stare at them in my closet and sigh.
[Photo Credit: Elle.com; Getty Images]
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