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Sherri Hill has designs on stars
By Linda Miller
| Published: January 10, 2011
Designer Sherri Hill has been a big talent in the prom and pageant worlds since the mid-1990s.
Now she's getting even more name recognition.
Two years ago, after more than a decade of designing for another company, she went back on her own, turning out gowns and dresses embellished with intricate detailing and washed in mouthwatering colors and sexy neutrals.
A little freedom turned into a lot of creativity.
She hasn't abandoned any category in her design repertoire, but with her own company, appropriately named Sherri Hill, the Norman designer is able to pursue other opportunities. She designs outfits for the cocktail staff at Wynn Las Vegas. She created costumes for a USO tour and is the official gown designer for the Miss Universe pageant. Country singers Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, both from Oklahoma, have worn her gowns and dresses, as have Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler. So has Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of the reality show “Jersey Shore.”
“We're having a good time with Snooki,” Hill said, adding that the reality star is sweet in her own way. What's more, the reality star told Hill she got her first positive fashion review because of Hill's dresses. Lambert got rave reviews for her great looks, too.
So, with the Golden Globes on Sunday and the Academy Awards Feb. 27, should we be looking for any Sherri Hill gowns on the red carpet?
“Probably for the Globes,” she said. “I doubt if we do the Oscars. Next year we'll be setting up a room. I don't think we're there yet. I don't think we're at that level. We may luck out, but we're not aggressively pursuing it.”
Movie and television costumers, as well as celebrity stylists, are starting to show up at her showroom in New York, so her name is spreading outside prom and pageant circles. In Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin wore one of Hill's designs to an inaugural ball, as did the two previous first ladies when their husbands were governors.
Hill balances it all while fitting in as many as three trips to China each year to buy fabric, and monthly trips to New York.
Prom is still the majority of her business, she said. “We've been discovered in that venue.” She's not an unknown in pageants, either. She usually dresses 15 to 20 of the contestants in the major pageants, and last year's Miss America winner wore a Sherri Hill design.
“We do have really good success with pageant, but it's a much smaller market,” she said. “A large majority of girls go to prom, but not so many are in pageants.”
Hill works mostly with boutiques, but her creations are sold worldwide from Australia to Ukraine. In Oklahoma City, they're available at Serendipity, which specializes in prom and pageant gowns and accessories. Serendipity is owned by Kara Hall, Hill's daughter. Her other daughter, Alisha Hill, designs special occasion shoes. And her son Dusty is president of the company.
With the reins of her own company and creativity overflowing, Hill is eager to see what's in store next. She enjoys her relationship with boutiques, both small and larger ones. She never expected the business to grow into what it is now.
When she quit designing for a New York company, she expected to spend more time in Oklahoma.
“I thought I would be and I still plan to be, but at the moment, not so much,” she said. “My company is here, but I don't personally get to stay here so much. But I will.”