A movie premiere is of course an opportunity for stars to promote their work, but also, in some cases, it provides a great outlet to put across the feel of the film or to nod to the character that they have spent the last few months playing. This can be difficult to master – literal dressing is not fancy dress, but it is a great way to be playful and to have fun with fashion.
“Sometimes you want to celebrate a character, a feeling, or more general aesthetic from the film,” celebrity stylist Leith Clark tells us. “But it comes more from a place of celebration and inspiration, rather than emulation.”
Scroll through to see 15 times actresses found inspiration from the films they were promoting on the red carpet – and got literal dressing just right.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.
When Beyoncé arrived at the London premiere of The Lion King (in which she plays the part of Nala), she pulled out all the stops in a yellow, cut-out, pleated gown by designer Cong Tri, which expertly nodded to the theme and colours associated with the iconic movie.
Keira Knightley loves to have fun with fashion – and her appearance at the premiere of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms last December was proof of that. The actress turned up to the event in a beautiful white gown, which her stylist, Leith Clark, described as “candy floss and cake-like” – the perfect dress to celebrate the fairytale film.
Just a few months earlier, the actress took a completely different approach to red-carpet dressing when she was promoting Colette, in which she played an early 20th century writer whose work was credited to her husband. For this, it was all tailoring and dark colours to bring to life her character.
When Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Margot Robbie was sure to nod to the real-life character she plays in the movie, the late actress Sharon Tate. Taking inspiration from the 1960s Hollywood, the actress wore a lace Chanel gown to the film’s photo call and wore her hair partly plaited, a look that directly emulated a style that Tate had once been seen with.
For Aquaman, Amber Heard transformed herself into an ocean queen – and the actress continued to be inspired by the sea far beyond the movie. For the London premiere, Heard wore a striking green brocade gown straight off the Valentino couture catwalk, complete with a matching swimming cap. The unexpected accessory was a perfect move in complementing her character and was a great way to have fun with red-carpet style.
Anyone who has seen Jordan Peele’s spooky thriller Us will instantly recognise many of the film’s references in Lupita Nyong’o’s red-carpet looks as she promoted the movie. From wearing striking red contacts to her subtle references to scissors and this incredibly spiky Balmain mini dress, the actress was inspired by her character at every turn.
Angelina Jolie channelled her evil character’s style for the world premiere of Maleficent in 2014. The actress mimicked the vengeful queen’s look, but gave it a glamorous red-carpet twist, wearing a black leather, strapless gown with bracelets made of spikes. We can only hope that she brings back out this style when the next Maleficent premieres later this year.
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Brazilian model Izabel Goulart was just one of many on the 2019 Cannes red carpet to be inspired by Elton John’s starry style when she attended the premiere of his biopic Rocketman. Wearing a silver sequinned suit that the musician would no doubt approve of, Goulart made a case for getting into the film’s spirit, whether you were in the movie or not.
When Emily Blunt took on the role of one of the world’s most well-known characters, she was sure to bring a bit of the Mary Poppins magic onto the red carpet for the premieres. From a very frothy white frock to an embellished cape, the actress got it right every step of the way, but nothing could beat the demure satin gown she wore to the London premiere, which matched the royal blue carpet, themed to the movie.
British actress Lily James embodied the Disney princess she played on screen for every single one of the film tour’s premieres, opting for sparkle, embellishment and lots of Cinderella blue, not to mention, an actual pair of Jimmy Choo glass slippers.
Another modern-day Disney princess came in the form of Emma Watson for Beauty and the Beast in 2017. When it came to promoting the live-action version of the iconic movie, Watson was sure to embrace her inner Belle at every moment, including with this enormous, caped Emilia Wickstead gown which she wore to the UK premiere.
As a former model, Cara Delevingne knows a thing or two about how to have fun with fashion – and she did just this when she stepped out on the red carpet for the premiere of Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. Taking inspiration from the movie’s outer-space theme, Delevingne wore a futuristic Iris van Herpen gown and made a statement with her hair and make-up.
Related article: Cara Delevingne Designs For Balmain’s Latest Fall/Winter Campaign
Real-life Wonder Woman Gal Gadot channelled her superhero character as she promoted the highly anticipated movie in 2017, wearing a striking red sequinned Givenchy gown that echoed the look of her character. The best bit though? The actress made a feminist statement by shunning red-carpet expectations and opted for flat shoes because they are “more comfortable”.
Perhaps the biggest commitment to bringing a character right on the red carpet comes from Blake Lively and her A Simple Favour tour, in which she mimicked the style of her character and wore a trouser suit for every single appearance.
And the actress doesn’t just go the extra mile when promoting her own movies, but chose this look for husband Ryan Reynold’s film, Detective Pikachu based on the bright yellow hue of the cartoon character. As a woman who is known to style herself, her commitment to echoing the event’s theme must be admired.