Elizabeth Stewart, Stylist to Jessica Chastain, Talks Cannes

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The wardrobe wizard — No. 4 on The Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful Stylists list — dishes on her Cannes strategy for dressing Jessica Chastain, a juror this year, on one of the most important red carpets in the world.

Jessica Chastain burst onto the scene in 2011 courtesy of a mesmerizing turn in Terrence Malick’s experimental drama Tree of Life, which premiered in Cannes, where she also caught the attention of the ever discerning fashion set with a striking canary-colored Zac Posen. A fashion star was most certainly born that night, and since then, Chastain, with longtime stylist Elizabeth Stewart, has turned out many memorable Palais looks. She’s back this year as a juror, a perfect excuse to catch up with Stewart about her favorite looks and what to expect.

Why does Cannes have such potential to launch fashion stars? 

Cannes is one of the last bastions of glamour. Even the photographers are dressed up, and there’s a big, beautiful red carpet with the iconic stairs.

What doesn’t work in Cannes?  

Who am I to say? You never know. The officials said flat shoes don’t work!

Do you have a favorite crazy Cannes moment?

I was getting Julia ready at the Carlton for the Money Monster premiere, when Jessica called from the Majestic with a “dress emergency.” I literally ran down the Croisette to help sew a lining into Jessica’s dress and ran back in time to get Julia out the door.

Jessica is a juror this year. How does that change your styling strategy — or does it?

Definitely more fun. There’s no pressure, as she’s not promoting a movie, and she is there so many nights that we can experiment.

Looking back at the looks you’ve styled for her in Cannes, there’s a range — dresses by Armani, Givenchy, Versace, Gucci and Oscar de la Renta — but the looks have mostly been bold, one-color designs and have included statement jewelry. Do you have a personal favorite? 

The purple stone Givenchy made by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy. That is a real Cannes dress!

What about you — how do you prep your own suitcase for Cannes? 

I always travel with just a carry-on. It’s a special talent I have.

The last time I interviewed you about Cannes, you told me that it was time to up the daily croissant intake from three to four — with some chocolate thrown in there. Does that still hold true? 

Of course. Croissants and french fries are the only French foods I like.

And then for survival strategy, you mentioned to me that you get by on a very Valley of the Dolls exercise: sleeping pills and alcohol. How do you smuggle that in your carry-on? 

I get the alcohol on-site and have no issues accepting other people’s prescription drugs if necessary.

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