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Red Carpet Confidential: Behind-the-Scenes Secrets from Gwyneth Paltrow's Stylist!

09/13/2012 at 09:00 AM ET

Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars
Michael Buckner/Getty

The editors of PEOPLE may have crowned her the world’s best-dressed woman, but Gwyneth Paltrow can still be surprised by her own fashion influence. Just ask her stylist, Elizabeth Saltzman: “She’s always shocked when a store will call me and say, ‘What was that jean [Gwyneth was wearing]? I’ve had 80 people come in today looking for it!’ Gwyneth will say, ‘Really?!’”

It’s Paltrow’s signature minimalism that makes her a style icon to so many. But don’t expect to find her closets bursting with couture. “She has an edited wardrobe,” says Saltzman, who adds that the Goop.com founder does most of her shopping online, at sites like net-a-porter.com. After she wears an outfit, “It all gets put away and documented — when and where she wore it — and then it’s gone [into storage] for her daughter. She’s not a hog.”

Whether strutting through the airport in layers of cool-girl labels like MiH (for jeans) and rag & bone (for boots), or rocking a modern Stella McCartney gown at the Grammys, “Gwyneth always relies on really clean lines,” says Melanie Kain, who co-designed a T-shirt with Paltrow for Goop. “That is why she always looks appropriate and comfortable in her own skin.”

She’s rarely looked more so than at this year’s Oscars. The instant Saltzman unveiled Tom Ford’s stunningly sophisticated gown and cape, “It was just, holy moly,” says the stylist. “Everyone was hugging each other. It was done.” Paltrow, who tends to nix busy prints and billowing shapes, immediately loved the look.

“I usually bring no more than four things for her to look at,” says Saltzman of red carpet events. “For the Oscars, I bought her one. I did have a second dress there, but I never even unpacked it.” Confident her client would stand out from the crowd, “I said, ‘Hey y’all, in your sequins and your tulle — side slits, beads, color!’ It was a moment where you just put up your hand and go, ‘I’m sorry,’” says Saltzman. “No one had rocked a cape. No one had gone dead simple. You just knew it was going to change fashion.”

For more secrets of Patlrow’s style, pick up PEOPLE’s Best & Worst Dressed issue, on newsstands Friday. Tell us: Do you like Paltrow’s style? If not, who earns your vote for best-dressed woman in the world?

–Suzanne Zuckerman, with reporting by Raha Lewis

MEET MORE OF HOLLYWOOD’S BEST-DRESSED STARS!

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Showing 20 comments

Stella Bella on

I think the ‘covered up white’ thing was done best by Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (in Versace) at the ’99 Fire and Ice Ball… I also liked Kate Middleton’s recent version in Roland Mouret.

Miss B on

That white Tom Ford gown she wore to the Oscars was perfection! I loved the cape and cuff, too.

N on

Does she really expect her daughter to someday wear an outfit that she once did, many years before? And what’s with wearing it only once?

Mandi Olges on

COMPLETELY AGREE with those who think it is pretty sad she wears things 1 time & stores them for her daughter! That is a huge waste of time/money/space. What makes her think that “Apple” wants to wear a dress that her mother wore 30 yrs prior. Wear them as much as you want and then donate them. She has enough money to buy her daughter clothes of her own when she grows up…….

clockworkcouturesux on

So let me understand this. She wears an outfit once (that was picked by a stylist), then catalogs it and puts it away for her daughter to wear in 20 years. Oh yes she’s really lives the simple life just like you or me.

clockworkcouturesux on

seriously. She’s constantly promoting this idea that she’s just an average mom who keeps things simple but she wears outfits (picked by a stylist) ONCE (cause I guess those of us who wear clothes again are hogs), then catalogs them (meaning there are so many she needs spreadsheets to keep track of them) and then puts them away because her daughter may want them in 20 years.
You know just like the average wife and mom does.
This women is more out of touch with reality than Ann Romney.

s on

I like that her look is always simple, but it sounds like she works very hard to pull off that “simple”. Ridiculous to retire every outfit after being worn….. She is supposedly so into the environment??

Amy Randall on

Best dressed? Give me a break! Did you see what she wore to Jake Gyllenhall’s movie premiere in the Hamptons? The hair, the dress, the sandals? Yuk! How her publicist convinced People to give her this title is beyond me.

Gwyneth (or I should say her stylist) may be successful in replicating CBK’s style, but Blake Lively emotes CBK’s essence and style.

sph on

Her style exudes simple elegance, very classy.

sonia on

I love this outfit, but at times she dresses bbaaaad.

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