If there was one runaway red carpet success during awards season this year, it was Lupita Nyong’o. So it comes as little surprise to learn that Micaela Erlanger, the woman behind her stunning series of gowns, has landed a coveted spot in The Hollywood Reporter’s 2014 list of power stylists.
Erlanger was singled out by the publication for transforming "Hollywood newcomer Lupita Nyong’o from unknown actress to the one to watch on the red carpet - one Prada at a time."
The stylist was catapulted into third place on the shortlist, beating established names such as Rachel Zoe and Scarlett Johansson’s stylist, Leslie Fremar.
Erlanger - a self-proclaimed "vintage-a-holic, and glamour girl"- appeared on the cover of the magazine between Nyong'o and Downton star Michelle Dockery, whom she also styles.
In fact, 32-year-old Dockery introduced 12 Years A Slave actress Nyong'o to the stylist when the two worked on thriller Non-Stop together last summer. "Michelle said, 'When you’re ready, I have the perfect stylist for you,'" Nyong’o, 31, recalled.
The Downton actress was Erlanger's first major client and the pair met via Dockery's make-up artist just over a year ago. Dockery won style plaudits soon after for the white and gold Alexandre Vauthier Couture dress she wore to the 2013 Golden Globes (above left).
"Michelle was my first major client; her Globes dress was life-changing," Erlanger told The Hollywood Reporter.
Dockery now regularly teams up with Erlanger for her red carpet appearances - her custom-made red and burgundy Prada at the Emmys last September was another sartorial triumph. "It was so beautiful and so representative of Michelle’s natural elegance," Erlanger said of the design (above right).
But it was Nyong'o who really made the big time for Erlanger and got her name buzzing on the fashion circuit. The Oscar winner was a relatively unknown talent before this year - but her skills both on-screen (in the critically acclaimed 12 Years A Slave) and off, with a string of amazing dresses on the red carpet, have created an overnight sensation of the actress.
And with each passing awards event, the anticipation over what she will wear has grown, with the certainty that she will always kill the red carpet.
Erlanger first fitted Nyong'o in a gold and white Prada dress in Toronto last September (above right), but perhaps her most famous work was the universally acclaimed Ralph Lauren cape dress the Kenyan actress wore to this year's Globes (above left).
Erlanger has also worked with actresses Olivia Munn (pictured in Bibhu Mohapatra, above right) and Winona Ryder (seen at The Iceman premiere in New York, above left).
Erlanger aims to provide a meticulous attention to detail, with a versatile, fresh and whimsical approach to styling.
She graduated from Parsons The New School for Design with a BA in Design and Management, and worked for six years as assistant to the late fashion director Annabel Tollman - an experience she credits as the most important in forming her knowledge and eye for celebrity styling.
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features