Should Steven Tyler or Jack White need his pants pressed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this weekend, Emilee Fallo will get a call.
Fallo is Jazz Fest’s on-site wardrobe staffer. She zips around the Fair Grounds in a golf cart that doubles as a clothing triage unit stocked with steamers, irons and ironing boards, lint brushes, sewing kits and supplies.
She’s helped a who’s who of Jazz Fest headliners look sharp, including Elton John, Tony Bennett, Mumford & Sons and Tom Jones. Last weekend, she steamed and prepped multiple outfits for Rod Stewart and Charlie Wilson.
In a backstage changing station at the Acura Stage, she assisted Stewart’s dancers as they changed outfits between songs. She slipped them in and out of Velcro skirts and hid the wires running to their inner-ear monitors’ battery packs.
An indispensable trick of the trade: double-sided “toupee tape.” “It holds everything down and holds women in so nothing moves around,” Fallo said. “Every lady knows about that.”
Her Jazz Fest gig is the latest twist in career at the crossroads of entertainment and style.
Fallo was born in New Orleans; Louis Armstrong performed at her grandmother Angelina Diliberto’s 1920 wedding, and she’s a cousin of the late sportscaster Buddy Diliberto. After graduating from high school in Biloxi and briefly attending Ole Miss, she moved to Los Angeles to become a costume designer in the movie industry. In the late 1990s, she shared an Emmy Award for costume design on the AMC comedy-drama “Remember WENN.”
After relocating to New York, she transitioned into a fashion stylist for commercials. She’s worked on big-budget campaigns for the likes of Nike, Toyota, Pepsi, MasterCard and American Express. She’s collaborated with such high-profile directors as Antoine Fuqua and traveled to South Africa, Australia and other far-flung locales.
“The main thing is you have to have a really good eye, and a passion for it,” she said. “I don’t stop until it’s perfect. I know how to make somebody look good, and how to dress their body for the camera.”
She is now based in London, where she’s worked on such period dramas as the PBS show “Victoria.”