Mandy Moore’s stylist opens up about the former pop star’s fashionable comeback.
In case you haven’t noticed, Mandy Moore is suddenly, wonderfully everywhere right now. Thanks to her Golden Globe-nominated turn in this year’s smash-hit TV drama This Is Us, the 32-year-old pop star-turned-actress — whose early-aughts singles like “Candy” and “Cry” you can probably still sing from memory — has been stepping out in some truly fantastic fashion lately.
First, there was the plunging, cape-backed Naeem Khan Moore wore to January’s Golden Globes, which instantly landed her on every best-dressed list. Then, the black Salvatore Ferragamo pantsuit she paired with a slicked-back bun and deep berry lip for the Directors Guild Awards. And at New York Fashion Week earlier this month, Moore turned up in the front row at Marc Jacobs, Marchesa, and more, each time dressed in another spotlight-stealing ensemble.
The woman behind this stylish “Mandyssance?” The actress’s stylist Erica Cloud, who’s been working with Moore since the beginning of 2017. “We met through a mutual friend last summer, right before This Is Us went on the air,” Cloud tells me. “At the time, I was still working with [Moore’s previous stylist] Karla Welch. I’d been working with her for 10 years, but I hadn’t yet broken out on my own.” Moore and Cloud immediately hit it off, and with awards season right around the corner, Cloud says, “it just ended up being the right timing for everyone. We’ve had a lot of fun so far — this is the first time she’s been on the scene in awhile, and [fashion] has changed a lot since she was in the game before.”
Funny enough, Cloud admits to being unfamiliar with Moore’s earlier music and movie roles. She’s never even seen A Walk to Remember! “So awful, I know!” she laughs. “I mean, we both met as women in our 30s, and I’m a little older than her, so I just don’t have that reference point. Obviously I know about her previous teen career, though, and I know that people just love her. She’s so warm and wonderful, so I’m glad that they do!”
When it comes to putting together outfits for Moore’s many red carpet events, the duo’s process is highly collaborative, with the actress often suggesting new designers for them to consider. “She has great style — very California-cool, chic but classic,” Cloud explains. “That said, she’s always totally willing to try something new. I do try to push her out of her boundaries a little bit!”
For instance, while Moore typically gravitates towards sweeter, more feminine silhouettes from labels like Lela Rose, Cloud will occasionally suggest edgier, sleeker looks, like the aforementioned Ferragamo pantsuit. “It’s about finding a happy balance between the two aesthetics,” Cloud notes. “We meet in the middle!”
Don’t expect this new, all-grown-up Mandy Moore to step out in anything super-risqué, though. “She’s not the type to wear a dress that has a huge slit in the skirt and also shows cleavage — you know, that typical ‘red carpet sexy’ dress,” Cloud says. “Other than that, she’s pretty much game to try anything!” High atop the stylist’s fashion wish list for her client in the months to come? Looks from Raf Simons’s debut collection for Calvin Klein, along with a little Lagerfeld. “I mean, doesn’t every girl want to be a Chanel girl?” she says.
Below, Cloud takes us through Moore’s best looks from the past several months.
“This was the first look we did together — kind of our little coming-out party! We went for a modern-day Brigitte Bardot aesthetic. It was a really sweet dress, perfect for a daytime event, but the colors were so fresh and the color-blocking made it a little bit more interesting. And that little cutout was the perfect subtle detail; it added just a bit of edge.
Jenn and Ashley [Streicher] did a nod to Brigitte too, with the hair and the soft pink lip, which fit really nicely with the other colors at play.”
“Mandy likes a little collar, and so do I! I liked that addition to the dress, because it gave it a little pop at the top, and made it a bit more preppy and classic. And then we went with red shoes, a red bag, and a red lip to add a bit of playfulness.
Sometimes people get scared of adding color to color, but a lot of times it can really complement a look!”
“I loved the reaction this dress got! It was one of the first dresses I called in, I loved it from the beginning, I showed it to Mandy, and from the get-go it was just the clear winner. You could just tell that she felt great wearing it.
I loved its simplicity; subtle elegance, but spiced up with that plunging neckline. The cape was so sheer that it wasn’t overwhelming — the fabric was so light, and you could still see her back through it. And it really fit her like a glove. Everybody thought we used all this Topstick, but we didn’t. Just two pieces! She has great posture, which helps. We put it with these light lavender earrings, which played well with the navy.
Jenn did a navy liner on her eyes, too, but added in a light lilac that matched the earrings so perfectly.”
“Oh my God, I loved this dress. When I first showed it to her I said, ‘This could be too crazy for you...’ but she was like, ‘No, let’s try it!’ She really appreciates fashion and is totally willing to take risks.
This just had such a fun punk-rock princess vibe, with all the bottle caps and safety pins and mosaic details. And we kept the hair and makeup super clean, with just a strong brow, kind of Frida Kahlo-style.”
“This dress was actually shown with an army jacket on the runway, so we put a little triangle bra underneath instead. We both loved the skirt, with those printed pleats at the bottom; that’s something that’s super hard to do. Up close, all those colors sewn together, it almost looks like patchwork. It was a fun and easy choice for a day when Mandy was going in and out of interviews constantly.”
“We’d been doing so many sweet looks on Mandy, so to throw this one in there and change it up was great. I loved this look; Helmut Newton was our inspiration, his classic images of these androgynous women in suits. I was so glad that she was game for it.
And with that dark lip — I mean, this was a total 180 from anything else we’d done, and a way to show people a side of Mandy they hadn’t seen, especially if their only reference point was her work as a teen. It was cool to show a different side of Mandy — her strong, fierce side. She can wear a pretty dress or a tailored suit!”
“I loved this dress. It just has such a nice line, how it curves up and around the neck. Instead of your typical one-shouldered gown, you know, which is cut at a 45-degree angle.
It reminded me of old Calvin Klein, a little current Narciso Rodriguez. It was all about the simplicity of the design here, and then the color that just made it come to life. It made her glow.”
“This was my favorite look we did for Fashion Week. To me, it was just the perfect unexpected high-low combination, this exquisite blouse paired with jeans. You know, some people would be nervous to try something like that if they didn’t have a special event to go to, but you can make a look like this work! Try it at dinner!
The black headband was actually from the Lela Rose show we’d seen on Monday — Jennifer Behr designed it — and the blouse and earrings are Marchesa. The jeans are Girlfriend — Mandy’s own, actually. I’d called in other pants for her, but at the end of the day those worked out the best! And I actually cut a pair of Wolford lace tights into socks for her, which was also a nod to a past Marchesa collection. I’m really into sheer socks with heels right now.”
“Both of us had fallen in love with that dress [earlier in the season] and were waiting for the right time to have her wear it. It was tricky, though, because it’s a sheer dress that was shown on the runway with nothing underneath. Not exactly event-appropriate!
So we added a little lining underneath, but kept some of the transparency to show off her long legs. Again, people get scared of color, but I pulled these Irene Neuwirth fire opal earrings that had these orange, pink and yellow stones in them. Adding just a little bit of orange in with the red made it feel fresh and modern. And then the pink lip tied it all together. I’m a fan of pink and red together.”