Working the Red Carpet

February 21, 2009

Images from the 80th Academy Awards


It is Oscar time! The 81st Academy Awards will be featured this Sunday, February 22nd presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences and that means we get to see our favorite actors, directors, cinematographers and a whole host of other familiar faces in the entertainment biz get accolades for their professional achievements, socialize with each other and walk down the infamous red carpet. This is a fun and time-honored event, but it is also undoubtedly a place of business for most of the attendees. Amidst the mingling, actors in particular have the opportunity to present themselves visually in a whole new way to the public and the entertainment community, encouraging the possibility of further work. The Oscar awards ceremony is obviously a blowout event that gives us professionals from other arenas an opportunity to see how these expert personal marketers work at promoting themselves!

The female actors, especially, try to make the most of this professional opportunity. It is common practice to hire an entire image consulting team to create a look that will increase the probability that casting agents, directors, producers and even other actors see them in a different light – to show that they are true chameleons in the entertainment field and can play a variety of roles. When successful, this personal yet professional visual display on the red carpet can lead to a whole host of acting gigs for the actor, in turn giving him or her more chances to creatively express his or her persona and to hone his craft. This coverage may even lead to lucrative product endorsement deals. And most likely it will increase the actor’s media coverage thus heightening her public popularity and ultimately her fiscal bottom line.

The entertainment field is a prominent business with vast exposure and thus allows us plenty of chances to watch and learn from these individual marketing pros and to get ideas on ways that we too might choose to make better use of fashion and personal style in our own endeavors. Fashion can simply be another marketing tool in business. The Oscars are a major reminder that we too can use fashion to propel us forward in our own careers. For instance, if you work in the legal field, it is imperative that prospective clients, colleagues, jurors and judges immediately perceive you as a competent, trustworthy advocate for justice. Your personal attire should immediately project these attributes.

Perhaps your occupation requires you to be in the corporate world. Regardless of whether it takes place within a formal setting or in a more casual environment, the potential benefits of utilizing personal style are still the same. Employers, employees and co-workers want to be around those individuals that excite and inspire them. This is not for the recipient of admiration to be objectified, but more likely to be looked to as a leader at her profession. These types of professionals look like they have ‘it’ going on. And fashion can not only instantly and appropriately attract others initially via visual stimulation, more importantly; fashion can also allow you to personally feel more self-assured. And that is exactly when others see you as a role model or leader. Or maybe you work in a more creative environment. Don’t you think displaying your general aesthetics through personal style choices at work would convey your creative passion and commitment? You don’t want to miss an opportunity to regularly display an aspect of your artistic talent through the way in which you physically present yourself on the job.

So, when you watch the Oscars this upcoming Sunday, try to pay extra attention to the entertainers and the visual methods they use on the red carpet to advance their professional goals. Perhaps studying their time-tested techniques will give you some ideas to add to your personal marketing business strategy.

Please share what specific marketing techniques that you observed on the red carpet? Which starlets do you think got the job done?

**ADDENDUM**

The 81st Oscar evening celebration was a hit! The show itself even had a makeover. Hugh Jackman was an entertaining, charismatic and comfortable host, the refurbished set design was visually exciting and enticing and the updated show format was much more personable this year and seemed to celebrate all nominees in key categories. Overall, the event was more inviting to participants and the audience at large.

Most notable on the red carpet was the fact that everyone seemed to be in such good spirits and more relaxed than in past Oscar ceremonies which in turn made viewers feel welcomed to get to know them better. Guests seemed genuinely happy. This sense of joy, confidence and ease was well supported by the red carpet fashions. Overall, there seemed to be less formal posing and more gentle cascading down the long red carpet. Here are some of Corporate Fashionista’s favorite Oscar trends:

Reese Witherspoon was a presenter at the Academy Awards this year and here she is walking down the red carpet towards the Vanity Fair party with her partner actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Although we may have favored other dresses from her past appearances this Rodarte dress was the best dress for utilizing fashion for business purposes. This dress which was superbly supported by her makeup application had an edge to it which is not the way we usually view Reese. It was a very fashion forward choice and instantly made observers give a double-take when they saw her. The gown was unusual and caught our attention and not in a bad way. It made us think, “I wonder what else she has up her sleeve” and that sense of wonderment is good for business. Perhaps she will be able to continue to broaden her craft and further partake in darker richer character roles as subtly requested by this dress. Here are more up-close pictures of Reese on Oscar night:

Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon – Vanity Fair – Kevin Mazur – WireImage


Kate Winslet was very wise to wear her hair away from her gorgeous face in a modern way and yet it wasn’t quite an updo. It was unique and Grace Kelly-esque – wavy yet molded; tucked under but not a bouncy bob-style. Very pretty. It went well with the multi-toned and multi-textured slate gray and black Yves Saint Laurent Atelier dress that she so beautifully wore. But the best and the smartest part about her elegant hair style was that viewers were able to clearly pay attention to her as she so eloquently spoke while accepting her well deserved award. There were no visual distractions and this encouraged us to really be engaged in the heartfelt words that she spoke.

Kate Winslet – InStyle – Stewart Cook – Rex USA


Kate Winslet – WWD – Steve Granitz – WireImage


Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto looked amazing in John Galliano standing here with her co-star Dev Patel. This vibrant shade of electric blue incorporated with gorgeous detailed beaded embroidery not only made Freida’s stunning complexion and facial features really stand out but the whole look seemed to support and show pride for her Indian heritage. It was a very breathtaking display of a modern Indian woman on the red carpet. Bravo!

Freida Pinto – WWD – Steve Granitz – WireImage


Various pale hues including oyster, buttercream and faint smoky grey seemed to be the popular color scheme for the evening. These soft subtle colors are gorgeous in person and they do splendidly showcase the intricate design features on some of the dresses but the downside seems to be that it is not a guarantee that they will best highlight and showcase the individual wearing these colors. Unfortunately, oftentimes they wash out a woman’s complexion and make her look sallow or have a little green undertone. The reality is that these are difficult colors to wear while being photographed and on camera. These three actors appeared to pulled this admired trend off best – Anne Hathaway wearing Armani Prive, Taraji P. Henson in Roberto Cavalli and the queen of acting chameleons Meryl Streep wearing Alberta Ferretti :



Anne Hathaway – InStyle – Steve Granitz – WireImage

Taraji P. Henson – InStyle – Kevork Djansezian – Getty Images

Meryl Streep – InStyle – Steve Granitz – WireImage

Who do you feel worked it best on the red carpet?

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