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Q&A With Actress Gemma Chan's Red Carpet Stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray
The carousel of red carpet styling requires a razor-sharp eye for design, military-level organisation and a natural empathy for every A-list client’s personal style language. No mean feat, yet Rebecca Corbin-Murray, the ex-Vogue staffer and now stylist to the crème of British film talent seems to manage it with finesse—and a stack of PDFs.
Collaborating with names including Jenna Coleman, Lily James and Sophie Jonas, Corbin-Murray has most recently worked with Crazy Rich Asians star, Gemma Chan devising a peerless inventory of romantic, yet modern red carpet looks helping cement her position as one of the hottest names in Hollywood.
Finding what she calls, “the sweet spot,” between fashion and flattery has become Corbin-Murray’s M.O. Case in point: Chan’s hot pink Oscar’s gown, finished with a pair of bespoke, custom-dyed Jimmy Choo Shiloh sandals, available as a limited edition on site now. “For me, it was interesting because hand-dying shoes to match dresses was how Jimmy Choo gained its name and reputation amongst red carpet stylists.” Read what it takes to dress some of the world’s most glamorous women and how Corbin-Murray helped create one of the style moments of the 2019 Academy Awards.
“GEMMA IS BOLD, SHE’S A RISK TAKER AS WELL AS COLLABORATIVE AND SUPER INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS. PLUS, SHE LOVES FASHION.”
TALK US THROUGH GEMMA’S FINAL OSCARS LOOK…
“The look that made the final cut for the Oscars was probably the first thing we pulled off the rail because we loved the colour and the drama of it. We just knew it was the one. I think we chose pink subconsciously for the awards season; I do feel pink is a super-empowering colour."
WHY DO JIMMY CHOO SHOES WORK SO WELL ON THE RED CARPET?
“Because they’re so glamorous and sexy. Importantly, they also give such a good shape to the foot and elongate the leg, but it’s all done in a very modern way."
"THE MOST REWARDING PART OF MY JOB IS WORKING AND COLLABORATING WITH SOME INCREDIBLE WOMEN AND EQUIPPING THEM WITH THE CONFIDENCE TO GO OUT THERE AND KIND OF TAKE OVER THE WORLD."
HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT LOOKS FOR YOUR CLIENTS?
“It always starts with each client’s own personal style and personality and evolves based on the project we’re working on. The idea is to create a narrative around the event.”
HOW DO YOU MATCH THE PERFECT GOWN TO EACH CLIENT?
“It’s a fine balance between flattery and fashion. Really, you’re looking for that sweet spot between the two. There’s broad diversity of taste amongst my clients, so I tend to treat every girl as a separate style universe. To start off with, I get to know their personality, and what works for them and we then create a moodboard, developing a visual language of their work persona which evolves over time.”
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT PACKING FOR WEEKS OF JUNKETS, PREMIERS AND PARTIES?
“It’s like a military operation. Firstly, we separate everything into individual looks on PDF, then cases are packed by days, as often there are multiple changes, and it’s easier to keep looks together. The whole team will have a run through of every single outfit—which I’ll send via Whatsapp to make sure everybody knows exactly what is happening.”
WHAT IS IT ABOUT WORKING WITH GEMMA CHAN YOU ENJOY SO MUCH?
“Gemma is bold, she’s a risk taker as well as collaborative and super involved in the process. Plus, she loves fashion.”
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE JIMMY CHOO STYLE?
“It’s definitely the Shiloh, which is the sandal we chose for Gemma’s Oscar’s shoe. It’s bejewelled, cool and really easy to wear. The Shiloh is one of those styles you could wear for red carpet, but also with jeans to dress them down. Initially, the Shiloh didn’t come in the same colour as Gemma’s Valentino haute couture dress, so we asked Jimmy Choo to dye the shoe to the exact shade. That was so interesting for me, because it brought things full circle to Jimmy Choo’s beginnings when they used to come to awards season and hand-dye shoes to match dresses. That’s really how Jimmy Choo built its name and reputation among red carpet stylists."
HOW DID YOU FEEL THE DAY AFTER THE OSCARS?
“When I saw all the positive press, I was just really thrilled for Gemma—it was such an amazing moment to make such as bold statement at her first Oscars.”
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR JOB AND WHY?
“The most rewarding part of my job is working and collaborating with some incredible women and equipping them with the confidence to go out there and kind of take over the world. I pinch myself every day.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO SEE MORE OF ON THE RED CARPET?
"I’d love to see more sustainability with brands moving towards more sustainable practises and closed loop manufacturing. It would also be great to see more diversity. Finally, dresses should have more pockets to keep snacks in—the best advice I give to my clients for awards ceremonies is to stay hydrated and always carry cookies in your pocket!”