Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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Fashion passion

Stars maintain sartorial splendor with stylists and good humor


A long with the joys of receiving accolades comes the downside of the awards season for actors and other artists: endless red carpet interviews, enormous pressure to dress up and harsh criticism if they don't pass sartorial muster. How's a working stiff to cope with all the demands and still stay sane?

Joan Allen, who's been in the running for the Oscars, Emmys and SAG awards, says she doesn't give in to pressure to top herself at each show.

"Personally, I don't have three dresses on the day. I don't work that way. That's kind of nerve-wracking so the last time I went (to the Oscars) I worked with Michael Kors, who's a wonderful designer. I went to his office and he had five or six sketches of different ideas. We discussed what I would like and what he liked and then I had a couple of fittings. I like to be prepared."

As far as stressing over the best- and worst-dressed lists, she says, "I can't say I don't put any thought into it, but I don't make myself crazy about it."

But she did learn her lesson about keeping things simple. "I had this really huge ball gown when my sister came with me and she couldn't stand within three feet of me. The next year I said (to my designer friend Tim), 'Slip dress!' You're in modern bars and restaurants. It's hard to negotiate a huge dress!"

"Capote" star Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose status as an awards show neophyte is certain to change this year, admits, "I don't wear tuxes that often. They're not that bad. You get a nice one and you're set. Sure, they can be uncomfortable because you have to keep them in a certain way all night long and they have a tendency to kind of crumple up on you. But even though this isn't a 9-to-5 business, as you get older, you wear more suits and tuxes. You get used to it."

"I've been wearing the same Armani tux for 10 years," says George Clooney, who says he hasn't been to an award show in years. "That's the beauty of being a guy. You just wear the same black tux and people say it's classic and put you on the best-dressed lists."

He says he's had plenty of offers from other designers but Armani is a friend. "When people ask me what I'm wearing, I say, 'A tux.' I'm not there to be an advertisement for anyone."

Date in print: October 30, 2005

(c) 2005 Reed Business Information (c) 2005 Variety, Inc.