5 Secrets Celebrity Stylists Won't Tell You

Every awards season = Optimus Prime vs. Megatron.

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When we click through a best-dressed gallery or watch Beyoncé roll up to the Met Gala an hour after everybody else on Periscope, we're only seeing a finished product, not the months of preparation, politic maneuvering, and artistry that go into its creation.

Ahead of Sunday's Emmys (opens in new tab), we bring you the SparkNotes version of last month's feature on the high-stakes, high-reward game (opens in new tab) Hollywood stylists play. Bonus: Make it a double (opens in new tab), and you'll know more about famous people's underwear than any of your friends. 💁

It's all about "when you open the trades the next day and the trades, the magazines, are talking about her," says Eric Archibald of his client, Jennifer Hudson. "When you're on the best-dressed list, you know you made the right decision."

Even after selects have been made and seamstresses flown in from Paris to take up hems, there's still time for stylists catering to stars higher up in the pecking order to throw their weight around, sending their counterparts scrambling to find a totally new dress at the last minute because a bigger VIP decided to wear the first one. "The bigger the name, the bigger celebrity, the more they can get away with," Archibald says.

A representative for Elie Saab once told Vanity Fair of the label's no-B-list-actresses-allowed policy, lest an errant former child star's red carpet appearance put women off their designs for good.

Six-figure deals brokered between fashion houses and celebrities (one digit less for the stylist) aren't exactly a secret, what with reports of Jennifer Lawrence inciting a bidding war (opens in new tab) between jewelers and Tiffany & Co. paying Anne Hathaway $750,000 (opens in new tab) to wear its $10 million Lucida Star necklace to the 2011 Academy Awards. As Jessica Paster said (opens in new tab) at the Vulture Festival's Hollywood Power Stylist Panel earlier this year, "If it looks awful on you, $100,000 or $250,000 is not worth it, but if it looks gorgeous and this is the dress you were going to pick anyway, why not get paid?"

A Balenciaga-packed promo tour can launch an ingénue with a 4-inch IMDB filmography to the next level. But like the meme-y millennial rant "need a job to get experience/need experience to get job," actresses need to have clout to access to the best stuff, with which they win more esteem.

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.