Thandie Newton's Stylist Erin Walsh Is All About Clothes That Empower Women (Exclusive)
By Amy Lee
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, Sarah Jessica Parker and Alison Brie -- what do all these women have in common?
Every time they step onto a red carpet, they never fail to serve elegance from head to toe, thanks to Erin Walsh, the woman behind all their memorable looks.
The New York City-based stylist has teamed up with Spanish bridal line Provonias to host a masterclass on styling their new Evening Essentials collection, a capsule of 15 chic, timeless cocktail dresses and full-length gowns for any occasion. (Perfect for the holiday season!)
Considering the fashion maven has dressed her clients in countless frocks for many outings, Walsh is a pro when it comes to transforming a dress into multiple looks -- and shoes are key.
"Number one thing would be feeling comfortable right? If you’re going to bother taking something from day to night you better be comfortable in it," she recently told ET over the phone. "In terms of switching it up, it has a lot to do with footwear. Probably you can get away with something a little more uncomfortable in the evening with shoes like a strappy sandal or something sparkly down there."
Walsh emphasizes the importance of "feeling like the best version of yourself," and asking questions on what you want to feel and convey is crucial in deciding on not only the clothes and accessories, but also for hair and makeup.
"Coming to the right answer usually just means like, answering the question -- how am I feeling today? How do I want to feel once I get dressed? How do I want to be perceived in this room tonight? And so whether that means something with more polish, if you want to be seen as perhaps a bit more elevated in a certain way or if you want to seem more easygoing and effortless, maybe that’s a little bit messier. I think you never want to lose the polish whether you’re going for an elevated or more easy.”
Polish is a constant theme for Walsh, and one look that exuded it with impact was the stunning pink one-shoulder Brandon Maxwell number (the same gown Gigi Hadid modeled during NYFW) she chose for Thandie Newton at this year's Emmy Awards -- where the actress won the Outstanding Supporting Actress award for her performance in Westworld.
"I think most recently Thandie at the Emmys really spoke to me. It was one of those moments where like, people were calling me and texting me when they saw her," Walsh recalled. "I guess always with red carpet we’re trying to achieve this symmetry of elegance and timeless, empowered beauty, and that just spoke all that language and I feel like it will for a long time, so we were very happy with that."
Empowering women through fashion is another sentiment Walsh stands by. She describes clothing as the "armor" you wear to take on the day.
Investing in quality pieces is another top priority, as they're "something that you have for ten, fifteen years. Are you going to buy 20 $20 tops from X high-street store or are you going to invest in something that consistently makes you feel empowered and beautiful?"
This rings true with her favorite dress from the Provonias collection -- an off-the-shoulder design that's offered in three different colors in both tea and floor lengths that "speaks to such a variety of kinds of women" with its versatile, flattering silhouette that'll look good for many years.
So what are the staples the A-list stylist wants women to invest in to build their wardrobe?
"Having the one great dress that is black or maybe it’s white or a neutral color that always makes you feel really, really great every time you put it on."
In addition, Walsh notes a tailored blazer with great shoulder, a crisp white blouse and any silhouette you feel best in are essential.
"Clothing, when it comes down to it, it really is about your armor like, how you dress to help the world decide who you think you are."