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Fashion and the female exec: THR talks the new power-dressing

November 02, 2012|By Booth Moore
  • According to the Hollywood Reporter, power-dressing's new face looks like, from left: Salaam Coleman Smith, Alli Shearmur, Trisha Cardoso, Tracey Edmonds and Blair Kohan
According to the Hollywood Reporter, power-dressing's new face… (Joe Pugliese / Hollywood…)

So long shoulder pads and Armani suits. When it comes to Hollywood’s female power brokers, “fashion” is no longer a dirty word.

So says a story in this week’s Hollywood Reporter headlined “Power Dressing: The New Rules of Hollywood’s Female Style.” Written by Merle Ginsberg, the piece is the latest example of how the industry trade publication has been amping up its fashion coverage.

The smartly written feature, which appears in the Nov. 9 issue on newsstands now, includes a photo spread of five female executives who were asked to come to the shoot wearing their own outfits. Pictured are Style Media president at NBCUniversal Salaam Coleman Smith (in a Rachel Roy sheath dress and sky high Jimmy Choo heels); Lionsgate film exec Alli Shearmur (whose outfit credits are not listed); Showtime Executive Vice President Trisha Cardoso (in red J. Crew pants, a lace top and Brian Atwood heels); producer Tracey Edmonds (in a stretch Wolford dress and rosette ribbon ankle accessories) and UTA partner Blair Kohan (in a black Holmes & Yang suit and pink bow blouse with Chanel shoes).

Ginsberg writes about how power style has changed in Hollywood since the days when pioneers Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing crashed through the glass ceiling in strong-shouldered, 1980s-era pants suits. “The taupe colored suit with slouchy pants was the staple, not just with these women, but with every male agent,” she writes. “Nobody bought ‘clothes’ in those days. They just bought labels,” Ginsberg quotes 3 Arts manager Molly Madden as saying.

Today, individuality is prized, day-to-night dressing is a necessity and blue nail polish is not out of the question. What changed? There are many more women in the industry for one thing (but still not enough).

Fashion has changed, too — for women and men — with the popularity of casual Friday and the wear-to-work denim revolution. “When men started to dress down, it signaled women could dress up,” manager Joanne Horowitz is quoted as saying.

There was nary a pants suit in sight at the luncheon the Hollywood Reporter hosted to celebrate the issue on Thursday at Spago. Many of the women featured in the story attended the event, along with Leslie Siebert, senior managing partner at the Gersh Agency (dressed in black pants with a white tuxedo stripe and a cropped black leather jacket by Skaist Taylor); Ann Sweeney , co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group (in a feather print Michael Kors shift dress); and entertainment marketing exec Nicole Winnaman, president of Winnaman & Associates, who was wearing a red silk blouse from her own clothing line, Nikki West. Olivia Munn (HBO’s “Newsroom”) and model Coco Rocha were also there, helping to celebrate Hollywood style.

Hollywood Reporter editorial director Janice Min said the story made sense to do because there is still a misconception about L.A. style. “People think it’s Ed Hardy and velour track suits,” she said. In reality, the labels favored by Hollywood’s power women run the gamut from feminine to tailored to sexy, including Chanel, Lanvin, Azzedine Alaia, the Row and Michael Kors, who was one of the sponsors of Thursday’s lunch.

“It’s nice to see that power and femininity have finally come together in Hollywood,” Ginsberg told the crowd at the event, a benefit for the organization Dress for Success.

It’s also worth mentioning that fashion is a growth industry in Hollywood, with more style-related films and TV programming in theaters and on air than ever before, not to mention all the lucrative product placement and product tie-ins to be had with companies like Chopard, Chanel, Banana Republic and OPI, etc.

So in Hollywood, whether you are behind the scenes or in front of the camera, it pays to dress well.

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