Leslie Fremar Talks Dressing Scarlett and Charlize and Her Fruit of the Loom Line

Charlize Theron and Leslie Fremar

Photo: Getty Images

Charlize Theron and Leslie Fremar at The Hollywood Reporter's 25 Most Powerful Stylists Luncheon.

We caught Leslie Fremar as she was being ferried down the FDR Drive en route to get Scarlett Johansson ready for the Met Ball. Though she was also battling a head cold, the super-stylist sounded far from harried, and was kind enough to chat at length with us about dressing celebrities and designing a range for Fruit of the Loom, which is available at Bloomingdales. 

The Hollywood Reporter named you one of the top stylists working today. What was it like to get that honor?

The most flattering part, to me, is that The Hollywood Reporter is acknowledging our trade as something that’s difficult and worth mentioning. So for me it was really about that as opposed to a ranking system. It was nice to be honored just for working hard, because not everyone gets that kind of recognition in their job and it was nice to feel that for a minute.

Stylists have become more visible every year, it seems, with people either getting shows or doing fashion lines. Have you noticed, over the course of your career, that people have started to pay more attention to the behind-the-scenes aspect of styling?

I think people are definitely extremely interested in the job, and as celebrities become more visible in fashion, people want to understand, are they dressing themselves? Is someone doing it for them; is it a collaboration?...I think the general public is just curious about it.

You dress people who have fairly divergent senses of style. Reese Witherspoon is more classic, Charlize Theron takes more risks and is edgier. What is it like adapting your styling to different clients?

I think as a stylist, it’s very important not to infuse your own personal style into your styling. It’s just that understanding of different body types and different personalities and what’s going to work on them. So I think that I definitely use that in my work and make a conscious effort to really try not to push my personal style onto my clients.

Scarlett Johansson is a fairly recent client, and you’ve been costuming her for The Avengers' worldwide tour. That must be quite the undertaking.

I worked with her for We Bought a Zoo, but this is the first major tour that I’ve done with her, so it’s been really great, and she’s amazing to dress, I feel fortunate.

Tell me about your lineyou’ve expanded it from a capsule line of T-shirts and tanks into more of a ready-to-wear collection.

It’s just really casual clothes that you can wear to be comfortable. We put a lot of research into the quality and fit. I was hoping for it [to be] your basic wardrobe.

Everything in the collection is really affordable, with the highest price point being $50 for a dress. I know you’d said in the past, talking about very expensive T-shirts that were at a designer price point.

Price is based on many different things, so people price things based on their competitors, the units that they’re making, where they’re getting their fabric from. For me—not as a designer, more as an expert in the field—it was about wanting to provide the public with something that I thought was missing. I was able to price it low so that it was attainable to most people, by partnering with this huge company. So they’re producing fabric in larger scales and they have factories. It allows us to keep it at a much lower price. Some people get confused and think if it costs less, then the quality’s not as good, but that’s just not the case. So I wanted to be able to provide a great product that was high-quality, that was affordable. I just didn’t think it was something that it was necessary to spend that much money on.

Leslie Fremar Fruit of the Loom

Photos courtesy of Leslie Fremar/Fruit of the Loom

A colorblock T-shirt ($22) and dress ($50) from Leslie Fremar's Fruit of the Loom line.

Are you of the mind that the cut is what’s really important, and that having a good cut and good fabrics makes all the difference?

Yes. Before I started the line I didn’t know how much goes into making a T-shirt. You think there’s like a basic T-shirt pattern, and that it’s very simple. It’s actually quite complex and complicated, and many fittings go into making a T-shirt, many decisions and choices of fabric, threads, thread count, length, collar width. Just things that I had never thought about before. So I was able to come up with all the things I liked in a T-shirt and put it into one, instead of trying to create this original idea. It was about creating I product I found my clients or I needed in my day-to-day-work.

How much re-working did the design process require? Did you find yourself going back to the drawing board a lot?

I went shopping to find all the different T-shirts that existed and what I liked about each one of them and what I didn’t, and kind of compiled a list of all the things that I found desirable, and worked with a patternmaker to come up with the general pattern. And then from there, my form of design is, I fit things, so when you see the girls on the red carpet, their clothes all fit impeccably because they’ve been fit multiple times. So I just took that skill and applied to a shirt that we had made—just kept fitting it and changing it until we got to a point where we really loved the product.

Do you use any of the pieces in your styling work, or have you given them to any of your clients?

Charlize and I were on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter and she’s wearing one of the T-shirts. Reese wears them. They all wear them. Charlize will show up at dinner like “I’m wearing your T-shirt!” and I’m like, “You don’t have to,” and she’s like, “I love it!” So I think they really just like [them]. I’m not pressuring anyone to wear it, I’m not begging anyone to wear it. I fit them all day long—that’s what I do—and I know what they like and what works and they’re really enjoying the product, so I’m really happy about that.

How have you been balancing the two careers, as a stylist and a designer? Because most people do only one! Is it difficult to do both?

Right now, I’m a stylist and that is definitely where I spend most of my time. I think that I’m fortunate in partnering with Fruit of the Loom, which is such an established company and a well-oiled machine where they are picking up a lot of the production work, pricing, all the things that if I were to have started a company from scratch on my own, I think it would be much more time-consuming. So I’m really able to focus on the design and then pass the buck off on a lot of the business aspects of the project. So I think that frees up a lot of the time that, you know, if Fruit [of the Loom] wasn’t my partner, I’d be spending on other things. I have final approvals on production samples and threads and buttons and all that stuff, but they have a company set up where they can go and source all different kinds of buttons, and they just show up at my office and I can say “This one.”

Do you think you would ever be interested in doing a full ready-to-wear line, with a runway show?

No, I’m not looking to be a designer in that sense, in terms of having a full line of clothing. I like providing something specific that I think people need and that caters to my personal aesthetic. Right now I like what I’m doing, and I like, also, that I can balance it with my day job. I’m enjoying it right now. I don’t have any plans of expanding it to that size.