David McNew/Getty Images
Photographers cover the red carpet arrivals to the 85th Annual Academy Awards at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Feb. 24, 2012 in Hollywood.
Judging the outfits of movie stars on the red carpet is like a spectator sport: lots of armchair judges will critique every last detail, and God help you if you're a star who finds out that someone else at the event has the exact same dress.
That's where David Zyla comes in.
During awards season, he's a renowned stylist called in to help people design their complete looks. It's an art form and skill that draws on tricks of the trade, and knowing that what may look great in real life would look terrible in front of the cameras.
"It's not about, 'Oh, it happens to be this label,'" he says. "The clothing has to be thought of as a raw material to showcase that celebrity."
Among the tactics he employs includes taking the dress on a "test run," and photographing it to see how it comes across on film.
"Some colors, for instance some shades of red, hot pinks, and oranges usually go much hotter when they're photographed than in real life," says Zyla. "That can be a good thing, or it can be something that isn't the effect that you want."
Finally, his one piece of advice for the rest of us who aren't on the red carpet: if there's one color you wear that people often compliment you for wearing, don't ignore it. Take mind of it, and find those kind of pieces for your wardrobe.