Michelle Williams & Natalie Portman’s Oscar Prep


Talk about getting close to the action. Kate Young, the superstar stylist and self-proclaimed beauty fanatic, spent the last few days in Los Angeles getting her friends Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams ready for the Oscars. Today, she shares her behind-the-scenes snapshots and her story exclusively with ITG. Enjoy!

“Natalie’s dress is amazing. It’s an actual 1954 spring couture dress, from Rare Vintage on 57th street in New York. We borrowed it—it’s $50,000!—she was actually going to wear another dress but then I got a call from the woman at Rare Vintage and she was like, ‘You should see this dress for Natalie.’ So we went and she put it on, and it needed zero alterations, and Natalie was like, ‘This was meant to be, wasn’t it?’ And I said, ‘I guess it was.’

For Michelle, I really felt like she hadn’t worn any Louis Vuitton, and I love Louis Vuitton—it has such a good spirit. Michelle was in Paris for the premiere of My Week With Marilyn two weeks ago, and I wanted to work with a French designer so that way we could do a fitting while she was in Paris and it would give us enough time to make the dress and make it perfect. It was orange—I guess people are saying it’s coral; it’s orange. [Laughs] Vuitton made it for her—that’s the thing about the Oscars, is that you can do everything custom. We get sketches from all different designers but I just felt like this one was so modern—I liked that it had tons of details but it wasn’t sparkly or shiny, it was matte. It had so much going on, but it felt young and fresh…light. All the beaded dresses didn’t feel modern to me right now. But watch I’ll probably do beaded next time, and people will go, ‘You said beaded wasn’t modern!’ [Laughs] But I change my mind; I change my mind all the time. It’s important to Michelle that there’s a little bit of poetry and some feminine, small details, and it had that while still being super structured and flattering and all those things.

What I usually do is make a big zip folder of inspirations, and email it to everyone [hair, makeup, manicurist]. And I make multiple ones, like, ‘If you wear this dress, what would the inspiration be.’ It’s also for attitude—I send ones to designers too when we’re asking for sketches, like, ‘This is what we’re inspired by.’ For Michelle, the inspiration was always that we’d do a contrast color lip—we were always saying red, red, red, red...and then I saw the Jil Sander show—Raf Simons last Jil Sander show—and it was that completely clean face that had this golden matte look to it, with a vibrant lip, and I sent it to Michelle at like six in the morning Sunday and said, ‘Makeup inspiration?’ and she said yes. So we gave that to Angela for the inspiration. It was very little eye, just lashes, with a really golden matte glow, and a vibrant lip. But the lip changed—a red lip would have been boring actually; I’m glad we didn’t do a red lip.

And with Natalie, we really had the feeling that we didn’t want her to look so gamine, we wanted her to look more movie star—her look should have more gravitas. Rather than being young and fresh and playing coy, she wanted to be more Old Hollywood. We were talking a lot about Elizabeth Taylor—the hair was not really that but the look was: a colorful couture ball gown with a major piece of jewelry and matching earrings.

On Saturday I went to Tracie Martyn—I wanted to go with the girls but there’s so much going on, and they had emailed me to say they were in town and do any of your clients want to come in for a facial, and then they said, ‘Well, do you want to come in?’ And I said, ‘I’ll be right there.’ [Laughs] She gave me a mirror halfway through and one side of my face was tight, and the other side was like, old lady. [Laughs] It’s amazing! It’s pretty calm for me by the actual day because there’s nothing I can do, by that point. Natalie and I went for a hike. And Ben [Benjamin Millepied, Portman’s fiancé] always cooks before the Oscars, so he made a giant mushroom pasta and a cabbage and cauliflower salad. He goes to the farmer’s market and stocks up because there’s a giant troupe of people at her house all day—me, my assistant, there’s usually a tailor, the hair and makeup people, manicurist—and we eat. I have to say, most people eat a really big meal before they go.

And at Michelle’s hotel, Chris McMillan just cut bangs for me—he did it when we were getting ready for Indie Spirits—so I had to get a little touch-up, and he kept saying, ‘I’m banging Kate in the other room, Michelle.’ [Laughs] Oh and Busy [Philipps] and I were talking about going to this store in Silverlake called ReForm School—there’s an artist there who will do custom nude portraits of you, that only cost like $100…they look like funny, not at all sexy—sort of Alex Katz-style. A little tiny painting of you naked—we were all saying how we want to go do that. So much better than sexting, giving this really weird little nude painting of yourself. [Laughs]”

…And then I discovered that Didier did Portman’s hair. RING RING!

Didier Malige: I don’t think it’s that difficult to make Natalie look good [laughs], she’s a very pretty girl. I had worked with her before when she was like twelve years old; I cut her hair for the movie The Professional [Ed note: how amazing is this?!] And then last year, she called me to do her hair for the Oscars when she won Best Actress and I was very very happy. Natalie and Kate decided what the look would be, pretty much. Kate showed me a picture of Lauren Bacall in the 50’s—Lauren had much shorter hair and it was more elaborate, but that was an inspiration. When you create a thing that has to last for three, four hours, it’s hard to be light—that’s why you see so many people who have quite ‘glued’ hairdo’s. But we really just used a couple of things: I blow-dried her hair with Fekkai Bouffant, and we finished it with lots of Elnett hairspray. That’s the best hairspray to have ever been made. [Laughs] I have never found something that is so easy to use, as a hairspray. To get the shape I used a curling iron from Japan, that’s really amazing—very precise. I bought it in New York at a place called Shear World.

And, a word on Williams’ softly gilded makeup…

Angela Levin: I’ve known Michelle for a quite a while, and this season I did her makeup for all the awards—the Golden Globes, the Spirit Awards—and she is the most adorable, delicious human being. I always start with what she’s wearing and where she’s going. But you always kind of save the best for last—knowing there’s going to be the Oscars. I kind of felt she’d get an Oscar nomination right from the get-go. With Michelle she has this beautiful pixie cut so we know what the hair’s going to be. And of course the hair color is also a consideration, and you kind of take it from there. The thing about Michelle’s personality is that she’s a very warm, gentle human being, so I never want to apply makeup that would be heavy or hard. There’s always a light, effortless feeling every time. So we play with different eye shadows but never really go into heavy liners or anything. I think of course, with somebody who has such light skin—which of course is the background to everything you do—you do want to emphasize the eyes, but I sort of use a rounder motion with my application rather than a straight line. Nothing is overwhelming—everything has a bit of a diffused, well-blended look. Her foundation is Vitalumière compact by Chanel, and for her eyes I used the Chanel eye shadow quad called Mystic Eyes. I used all the colors, and applied it all fading into each other. And then for a pop of extra glamour on the eyelids, I used a touch of single shadow called TigerLily—it’s sort of an orange-y golden sparkly color. That was the pop for the eye. The lip color is two lips blended together—they’re both Rouge Coco, one is called Paradis and one is called Destinée. I scraped those out and gave her a little jar of it to take in her bag, plus a dry mascara wand for the eyebrows and a cotton swab to correct any eye makeup.

Portman was made up by Eileen Kastner-Delago using Dior: Diorskin Forever Liquid Foundation and Sculpting Powder in Sable Rose #032 were used to perfect the skin, with 5-Couleurs shadow palette in 970, Liner Waterproof in Black, and a sweep of black Diorshow mascara emphasizing the eyes. Kastner-Delago painted on Rouge Dior lipstick in Rouge Favori #752, dabbing Crème de Rose balm on top for a bit of moisture.

When not “banging Kate in the other room”, McMillan blew dry Williams’ hair using Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte, and finished it by sweeping on some Couture Colour Pequi Oil Treatment. Williams’ nails got the HIPPxRGB treatment…more on that in a moment………

In the meantime: pop over to Kate's Tumblr for more photos!

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • bonnie clyde and marni

    they both looked lovely!!!!

  • LuckyD

    Michelle was by far my favor look of the night, well done!!

  • LuckyD

    and... Great research & reporting Emily!

  • Caguirre

    Great writeup! However, it seems a bit disingenuous to claim that he always cooks a big meal before the Oscars -- isnt this the second year they've been together for that event?

    • Schehaa

      My thoughts exactly!!

    • Mina

      Maybe before all awards shows? I saw both of them, with the baby, at the Farmer's Market on the morning of the Golden Globes.

  • Florasbox

    Super Fine idea to get Kate Young Report. Loving the insight. Merci beaucoup! More of this pls ;) Sunnylicious Greets from Vienna Marie-Thérèse @florasbox.com

  • Lucille Trachte

    This is my favorite post Emily~ both Natalie & Michelle were my favorites & it's amazing to get the inside scoop on their looks. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    This is such an exciting post! They both looked amazing; I especially loved Michelle's dress.

  • Anonymous

    Michelle is always absolutely gorgeous, and last night was no different. She was radiant!!!


  • Karissa

    This is amazing! Michelle was by far my favorite on the red carpet, everything about her look from the dress to accessories to hair and makeup were perfect. Love the first photo, the one inside of the gorgeous, pink, crocodile clutch and the one of the insane necklace Natalie wore.


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6HKSG5YBDSGKYUBIC3PEKNHVPE Maria

    I love the vintage-y nostalgic feel of these photos

  • Madison

    Portman looked amazing, as always. But Michelle looked great as well! Love this post, Madison


  • Victoria

    Missing top shelf!!

  • LisaC.

    What a delicious scoop, Emily! And it's THE GREATEST THING EVER to see what star carries in her bag to an award show. It's just so personal and fascinating! Hooray for Kate and her pretty clients!

  • Elise

    Emily, since you have the chance to get to know these women, do you find that professional actresses and models are fairly skilled at doing their own makeup because they know the makeup artists' tips, or are they hopeless at doing their own makeup and hair because it is so often done for them?
    This is something I have often wondered!
    Anyway, thanks for the true behind the scences looks lately.

  • http://twitter.com/YayaGagaFashion Messamet serdane

    So exciting reading a ind of " adventures " of a woman who do this dreamy job : wearing and doing make up for stars ...


  • http://materialfixations.blogspot.com/ Material Fixations

    I loved that Michelle was not wearing a bright color on her lips, but something to soft and simple. Her dress was so incredable it pretty much did all the work! Natalie's dress was so unexpected and amazing. It was really diffrent from the rest.

  • http://dailynibbles.com/ Sarah

    Um, this is an amazing post. Truly!!!! I want all of Michelle's makeup.

  • TheCuriousCameraGirl

    Great post! They both looked incredible and, in my mind, are tied for best dressed!


  • Ivy

    love this post!!! good to know what's behind the scene to create such a beauty!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/ppirapokin Ploy Pirapokin

    Emily, I'm so glad you were able to get a snippet of behind the scenes Oscar beauty moments! It's so refreshing to see that even Mr. Natalie Portman nourishes his wife's entourage with delicious Farmer's Market goods and is so supportive of a giant beauty team for the Oscars. I've always been a ITG reader and this post has solidified my love for it!

  • Barbcmmns

    My favorite post yet Emily!!!!

  • http://loveanddust.wordpress.com jenny

    Michelle was flawless. I totally agree - the red lip would not have worked as well! And I'm glad we cleared up exactly what color that dress was. Red? Orange? Coral? No one knew!


  • http://peoniesandpaper.wordpress.com/ Emily

    this is so cool! thanks for sharing this!

  • yvette

    WOW. Awesome post!!! LOVED Michelle's dress, and totally noticed the gorgeous contrasting raspberry lips. Sorry for the caps. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beautyincrisis-Ili/100003263588933 Beautyincrisis Ili

    They both looked stunning!! I LOOOOOVE Natalie's dress!Especially after reading this post! And their make up is amazing as well, simple, fresh and warm!!


  • Raphaelle

    Thank you so much for this backstage post, must be so exciting and rewarding.


  • http://twitter.com/Mirror_Reality Phil

    Natalie can do no wrong in my book so far. A gorgeous woman with a mind of her own, but perhaps not always the most adventurous makeup/hair. She has got her signature look of fresh down to the t + it helps that she's a great actress.
    So nice they let you behind the scenes!

  • Jill

    Thanks for this behind-the-scenes look at the prep for Natalie and Michelle, and I love that you've included the exact makeup products used on both ladies. Thank you!

  • http://themanylivesofline.blogspot.com/ The many lives of Line

    Oh, I just loved this piece! It's soo nice to get behind the curtains so to speak -which is one of the best things with into the gloss;)



  • http://www.mariankihogo.com/ Marian

    This piece is just one of the reasons your site is in a different category of its own. Into The Gloss totally reinvents the beauty blog game.
    Thank you for well researched piece. The imagery is truly wonderful.
    Glam kisses,

  • http://thebeautyphilosopher.com/ Thebeautyphilosopher

    I loved both of their looks - they are natural beauties with an easy, fresh elegance and unique sense of style. I also loved this type of post for ITG - really interesting to read. Thank you!

  • http://www.kpfusion.com/ Kim Thomas

    Another wonderful post Emily. I love all of the behind the scenes photos, and you've given me another Tumblr account to follow!

  • Nancybrom

    Wow, what a great behind the scenes look. The photos are great. who took them? The red dress on the white bedspread is priceless. Keep up the great work. Voted the best dressed by many, including me.

  • Ingrid // Pretty Harbor

    I adore the Michelle style! Very glamour :)

    http://www.prettyharbor.com // Jewellery

  • Mia

    I actually though Natalie Portman was vegan and liked "ultra-pure" cosmetics and now she's using all that crap. It's gross what celebrities do for money, I don't think I will have Natalie as a beauty icon anymore, I will look for somebody that really supports green beauty.