While some may play it safe on the red carpet, Laura Dern isn’t afraid of taking risks.
She’s rocked ostrich feathers, loud patterns and seemingly every color and silhouette — and according to Dern’s stylists Cristina Ehrlich and Kevin Ericson, fashion is just another extension of the award-winning actress’s creativity.
“Laura has a really strong appreciation for designers. She’s very involved in really studying [fashion], which I think is rare,” Ericson told PEOPLE at an intimate awards season preview, co-hosted by the Diamond Producers Association‘s managing director for North America Kristina Buckley Kayel and People Magazine’s West Coast Executive Editor Elizabeth Leonard, for top entertainment industry stylists. “She wants to have that connection [with the designers], and she wants to always pay homage to what they’re doing, not what Hollywood is doing.”
Held at the San Vicente Bungalows in West Hollywood, seven jewelry designers — including Arunashi, KATKIM, Martin Katz, Sara Weinstock, Shay, Single Stone and VRAM — were highlighted for their innovative work with natural diamonds.
According to Ehrlich, Dern (who is nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in Marriage Story) has a “really symbiotic relationship” with her styling team, and the trio consistently have “really sophisticated” conversations about her looks for Hollywood’s biggest events.
“All three of us love fashion and all three of us have a very different eye and history,” says Ehrlich, who’s also worked with Mandy Moore, Natasha Lyonne, Tina Fey, Priyanka Chopra and more over her 20-plus years in the business. “Having Kevin who’s sort of the future, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and Laura’s an icon, it’s a dialogue that the three of us have.”
Ericson brings “very strong opinions and ideas” about color, jewels and silhouettes to the table, and his goal with Ehrlich is to always create a “very fresh, very timeless” look with “a little bit of edge,” says Ehrlich.
Whether it’s popping a collar, having a lace bra peek out or finishing off a look with a specific pinky ring, Ericson, Ehrlich and Dern are all very detail-oriented when it comes to completing a specific outfit.
And of course, one of Ericson’s favorite ways to add some extra flair to a look is by utilizing diamonds. “They’re timeless. We’re getting to play with the most beautiful things in the world, so why not use them?” he says.
While understated jewels have been a trend in recent years, Ericson predicts a return to statement pieces come awards season.
“A few years ago, it was about simplicity and speaking to the culture and climate in the world,” he says. “Now I think we’re getting back to what represents what makes people happy, and diamonds make people happy.”