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12 posts tagged "Elle Fanning"

Runway to Red Carpet: An Ongoing Fairy Tale and a Newcomer Worth Watching


Natalie Portman Shanghai International Film FestivalThe glamour squad was out in full force on this week’s red carpets. The leading ladies of Maleficent continued to take sartorial cues from their characters at the film’s premiere in Tokyo. Elle Fanning donned an ivory Fall ’14 Alexander McQueen gown fit for a princess, while Angelina Jolie stepped out in a black, figure-hugging custom black velvet Atelier Versace cocktail dress.

As you are by now well aware, Beyoncé and Jay Z kicked off their highly anticipated On the Run tour on Wednesday, and per the usual, the couple’s custom costumes come courtesy of top designers, including Elie Saab, Givenchy, Diesel’s Nicola Formichetti, and Tom Ford. Queen Bey sizzled in her opening outfit, a plunging black Atelier Versace bodysuit with black sequined netting.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, stars were dressed to the nines for the International Film Festival’s closing events on Sunday. Natalie Portman chose a black silk gown with a printed bodice fresh from Dior’s Resort ’15 runway for the occasion. Earlier in the day, Nicola Peltz walked the red carpet in a white silk and lace Giambattista Valli Fall ’13 Haute Couture gown at the premiere of Transformers: Age of Extinction. The Hollywood rookie flew onto our radar this week as she attended press events in wares by mega designers including Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Stella McCartney, to name a few. We’ll be keeping our eyes on this one.

Here, more of this week’s red-carpet highlights.

Dressing for Fame: Samantha McMillen on Styling Elle Fanning and Suiting Hollywood’s Muscly Men


If celebrity status is conferred in red-carpet appearances, then no actress today can compete without the help of just the right stylist. As Kerry Washington once told Glamour after she noticeably upped the sartorial ante, “There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand careerwise—because they knew how to work that red carpet.” A carefully crafted collaboration between stylist and client, the perfect look can create an indelible impact on agents, casting directors, and those of us watching from the sidelines. Straight from the epicenter of all things celebrity, we’ve asked some of the industry’s top stylists to share their experiences and impressions from their perch above Tinseltown. With our Dressing for Fame series, we bring you an exclusive, insider look at everything it takes to create those iconic moments captured by a million photo flashes.

Samantha McMillen


Elle Fanning’s red-carpet presence and demure aesthetic have been carefully crafted by longtime stylist Samantha McMillen. Just take one look at the starlet’s dazzling ensembles on the Maleficent press tour and you’ll agree that McMillen has the Midas touch. And McMillen’s touch extends to her other clients, too, including Dakota Fanning, Ellen Page, Mark Ruffalo, and Johnny Depp. Here, McMillen talks to about why working in PR helped launch her styling career, dressing Miss Fanning, and suiting some of Hollywood’s most muscly leading men.

How did you get into styling?
I had been working at Giorgio Armani as VP of celebrity relations for almost eight years. I started as an assistant and, you know, worked my way up. The nineties at Armani was pretty hectic, as we were the first and one of the few fashion houses at the time that was actively—possibly at some times aggressively—pursuing relationships with A-list actors for red-carpet appearances. I wore a lot of hats, but I think one of them was sort of as an in-house stylist. Back in the early nineties, not many actors had stylists. They would come in themselves to the showroom and you did your best to dress them head to toe in the brand. I naturally developed relationships with publicists, managers, agents, and the talent themselves. When it came time to go out on my own, I already had a lot of resources and contacts and, thankfully, some people who were willing to give me a chance.

What was your “I’ve made it” moment?
I don’t think I think in those terms. I’m grateful for every little job I took that led me to the next bigger job, if that makes sense. I never assisted anyone. I just jumped right in and started styling, so I had to learn as I went along. It was really hard at first, and I had days and sometimes weeks in a row where I wasn’t sure if I was going to get more work. I think when the work started really flowing in, I felt like I must have proven myself to enough people that they kept rehiring me or recommending me. It wasn’t so much about whom I was working with, but that I was starting to get support, loyalty, respect, and, most important, trust from publicists, photographers, and talent. That felt really good and I am eternally grateful to those people who got behind me and gave me a big push.

How did your work in PR help inform this new path?
Well, having an understanding of both sides of this business really helps. I know what I need on my end and I think I know what designers and their representatives need on their end. Especially when working with women’s runway, you have to be extremely organized, diligent, persistent, and respectful when it comes to samples. I call it “air traffic control.” A lot of designers have only one sample in each exit and there are multiple people requesting it for different editorials or fittings all over the world. If you are lucky enough to get it, or know it’s coming, you need to be respectful about tracking it, getting it back out as quickly as possible if you aren’t using it, and doing your best to keep it in perfect condition. I think the PR teams really appreciate this, and it definitely helps the next time you need their help for a fitting or photo shoot. It’s as simple as the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Elle FanningWhen working with young women (e.g., Elle Fanning), do you try to keep it age-appropriate?

I really just try to honor the wishes, style, and comfort level of whomever it is I’m working with. Elle is fun because she is daring, unique, and has an incredible knowledge of fashion, especially considering her age. She loves fashion and she loves to try new things. At the same time, she has a good sense of what is timeless and knows which occasion to do a timeless look and which occasions she can be a little bit more experimental. Truthfully, there aren’t that many 16-year-olds out there who regularly have access to haute couture, so the term “age-appropriate” when it comes to fashion kind of makes me laugh. But to answer the question…Yes. I just try not to age them or put them in anything that would draw attention to an area on their bodies that people shouldn’t be focusing on. On the other hand, for my more iconic ladies who are a bit older, we try not to go too young or trendy—just elegant, flattering, and timeless, and a little bit of edge, depending on who it is.

When working with a celebrity for a promotional tour, where do you begin?
I usually start with premiere looks and then take care of the photo calls, junkets, and TV appearances. The TV looks can be more challenging because it’s a bit harder to get new runway for things like that, but it’s a difficult thing to explain to your client. Designers definitely prioritize red-carpet dressing opportunities, so our hardest work is getting great looks for morning shows, late-night talk shows, and press junket days.

What has been your experience with styling men? How do you find it in comparison to women?
I love both. Dressing men and understanding menswear comes very naturally to me. I love when I have a male client who is willing to “go for it.” But I also respect the man who likes to keep it simple, dark, and clean. With both you have to prioritize tailoring and make sure everything is impeccably fitted. Men tend to have a lot more layers and pieces, so the tailoring can be very involved. I work with a lot of guys who do action films and have large muscles in their biceps, shoulders, and thighs. It’s hard to fit those guys off the rack and the pants tend to be gigantic in the waist and the shoulders and arms on the jackets too small, so unless you are doing custom-made suits, you constantly have to tailor and fit to check the tailoring. Most men don’t like to try on clothes or stand still long enough to have their clothing pinned. I think women have a bit more patience with the tailoring process and the trying-on process.

What’s more challenging, working on a campaign or a red-carpet look?
Working on an ad campaign is probably more challenging because there are so many people with different needs and opinions. You have the ad agency people, the client, the photographer or director, and the talent all asking for and expecting different things. You have to submit shopping images ahead of time for approval and your work is under constant scrutiny. You are receiving new info and requests until the last second. I have lost many nights of sleep doing commercials and ad campaigns. But I feel at home with red carpet. Both are time consuming and challenging. Red carpet, to me, is more enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding.

Is there any client whose style you covet?
I mean…there are several things at any given fitting that I would love to have in my own closet, but I’d never try to wear them the same way my clients do. We are individuals, and it’s important to find our own unique way to express ourselves and have the confidence to do so.

Photos: Courtesy Photo; Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Runway to Red Carpet: The Stars Shine Post-Cannes and Miley Covers Up


Elle FanningFor the past two weeks, all eyes have been glued on the red carpets of the Cannes Film Festival, but the post-Cannes fashion has been packed with well-dressed Hollywood elite, too. On Tuesday, A Million Ways to Die in the West costars Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron kicked off their press tour across the pond with a photo call in London. The duo posed in a pair of LBDs—Seyfried chose a gold-embroidered Pre-Fall ’14 Alexander McQueen mini, while Theron opted for a Stella McCartney frock with exaggerated sleeves.

On Wednesday, the leading ladies of Maleficent looked to their characters for sartorial inspiration. At the film’s world premiere in Hollywood, leading villainess Angelina Jolie stepped out in a black Atelier Versace ball gown, while Elle Fanning looked every part the princess in a lilac beaded Elie Saab Spring ’14 Haute Couture gown.

In a rare move, Miley Cyrus chose a conservative and—dare we say it—sophisticated ball gown for a performance during the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Her Giambattista Valli Fall ’12 Haute Couture was covered in delicate flowers, another unlikely move for the sassy songstress. If you’re like us and are hoping this is a sign of a new leaf for Miley, don’t count on it—she was back to her scantily clad, tongue-wagging self during a concert the next day.

Here, more of this week’s red-carpet highlights.

Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Runway to Red Carpet: Hollywood Goes to Washington and a Pair of Sinister Heels


Elle fanningAlthough many A-listers spent the week partying it up New York style while in town for Monday night’s Met gala, it was still work as usual for some. The cast of Maleficent began their press tour overseas, kicking things off with a photo call in Paris on Monday. Elle Fanning stepped out in a moss-green Valentino Pre-Fall ’14 frock, appropriately paired with Charlotte Olympia’s Sleeping Beauty pumps adorned with the sinister villain’s face. On Thursday, things moved to London for a private reception at Kensington Palace. Leading lady Angelina Jolie turned up in a plunging crystal-covered Atelier Versace gown in her signature color, black.

Stateside, Elizabeth Olsen kicked off the premiere tour for Godzilla on Thursday, donning a black Chloé Fall ’14 gown for the Hollywood premiere. Earlier in the week, Marion Cotillard took to the red carpet in a Mary Katrantzou Fall ’14 frock patchworked with signs and symbols at the premiere of The Immigrant in New York.

On Saturday, a bevy of Hollywood notables flocked to Washington, D.C., for the 100th Annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, donning designer duds for a turn on the red carpet. Lupita Nyong’o was (obviously) among the best dressed, stepping out in a black Oscar de la Renta Fall ’14 gown with a white polka-dot peplum top.

Here, more of this week’s red-carpet highlights.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain / WireImage

Runway to Red Carpet: Spring Has Sprung on the Celeb Circuit


Mexican Film Premiere Of 'Noah'While the temperatures dropped in New York this week, pastels and florals on the celeb circuit made us hopeful that spring is just around the corner. On Wednesday, Elle Fanning looked decidedly grown up in a light blue, belly-baring Wes Gordon Fall ’14 sheath at the 25 Most Powerful Stylists luncheon in L.A. Later that evening, Emmy Rossum braved New York’s chilly temps in a strapless Carolina Herrera Pre-Fall ’14 ball gown with a blue floral print for Art Production Fund’s White Glove Gone Wild gala.

On the premiere circuit, blush tones were the color of choice. Style maven Tilda Swinton attended the L.A. screening of her new film, Only Lovers Left Alive, on Monday in a fringed cream jacket and skirt from Valentino’s Spring ’14 Haute Couture runway. The same night, Jennifer Connelly looked statuesque in a pale Givenchy Fall ’09 Haute Couture gown with pink embellishments for the Mexico City premiere of her new film, Noah. Kristen Bell stepped onto the red carpet on Wednesday in a strapless pink silk J. Mendel Pre-Fall ’14 gown with a high slit for the L.A. premiere of Veronica Mars. The fresh colors and skin-baring frocks made a strong argument for us to shed our coats and embrace spring. Now if only the snow would stop falling in New York.

Here, more of this week’s red-carpet highlights.

Photo: Victor Chavez / Getty Images