‘GLOW’ Star Betty Gilpin on Importance of Fashion Collaboration with Cristina Ehrlich

Betty Gilpin has played several “va-va-voom fancy Barbie people,” but loves the many layers to her “GLOW” character, Debbie Eagan. “Her insistence that she is more than a dress-up doll with an arched brow made me insist the same,” Gilpin says. And while the Emmy-nominated actress feared that red-carpet dressing meant having to “sell or give away some part of yourself,” her stylist Cristina Ehrlich dispelled this notion. “Cristina is a master of seeing a person for who they are and telling that story through clothes,” Gilpin says. “Without her, I would be showing up in a urine-covered tapestry I found at a Kinkos.”

Gilpin was nervous for the premiere of Netflix’s women’s wrestling comedy, “GLOW.” “Up until then, it had just been our secret baby that no one knew about,” says Gilpin, who also stresses over wardrobe. “Having curves can be a red-carpet nightmare; I have lamented to Cristina that my body has built-in megaphones, so I can’t afford any on clothes. Combined with boobs, I will be a human air horn.” Gilpin thus likes to keep things simple and well-tailored, sans bows or patterns, and chose this white dress for the June event. “Gabriela Hearst makes perfect high-powered New York mermaid clothes, like if ‘The Birth of Venus’ held a briefcase,” she says. “This look encapsulates what I wish my daily style was: if Katharine Hepburn got stoned in Mykonos.”

Vera Wang made the first-time Emmy nominee a custom gown. “I stood naked in a room with 40,000 mirrors while supermodel savants in black Edwardian collars measured every inch of my body,” Gilpin recalls. “They laid out 63,000 swatches of pink, which my eye registered as the same color. When it was announced that they would basically be collaborating with NASA to build a bra into the dress, it was my turn to jump up and down with joy, as they had when coral triumphed over salmon!” The screaming photographers made her anxious. “I look like a sedated iguana in pictures because we’re fielding 50 people saying, ‘Hello? Move!’” she says. “I always pretend I’ve had one tequila and am seducing an elf.”

Gilpin first settled on a simple white dress for the “GLOW” ensemble’s second SAG nod. But “last minute, we tried this Krikor Jabotian dress and went in a different direction,” she says. The metallic number had its challenges. “The dress weighed about 12 pounds, and was held together with the tiniest clasp at the back of my neck. One wrong gust of wind and the entire thing would have plummeted to my ankles like a medieval castle door!” Gilpin and her husband felt like they were at “a really fun wedding” with her cast. “I’m so used to seeing everyone with teased ’80s hair and Capezio [shoes]. It’s strange and wonderful to see everyone in modern-day clothes looking like such ladies, when I know the truth: that we are all insane.”

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