It seems Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell approaches fashion the same way she approached her debut feature film: fearlessly. “She’s super brave,” says her stylist and friend Colomba Giacomini, adding that their working relationship benefits from the fact they’re both maximalists. “She loves clothes, I love clothes; she loves colour, I love colour; we love stuff on stuff on stuff. She’s just so up for it.”
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Emerald Fennell in custom Roland Mouret, with Pīferi shoes and jewellery by her father, jeweller Theo Fennell.
© ZOE MCCONNELL@zoemcconnell
All of that being said, the look they settled on for the BAFTAs, where Fennell’s film is nominated in three categories, is “quite simple”, says Giacomini. The whimsical white dress is by Roland Mouret, an adapted version of a look from his autumn/winter 2020 collection. “I created a custom version in a white chevron organza,” Mouret tells British Vogue. “It has this great ethereal quality, yet it’s protective like a shield, as [it has] 10 metres of fabric, draped and swathed around the body.” Fennell is a fan of Roland Mouret and has worn his dresses in the past, but Giacomini says it was especially important to the actor, writer and director to wear a British brand on BAFTA night.
Giacomini requested the custom look for her client after she wore it in pink for a photoshoot and “felt amazing” in it. “She loved it,” the stylist says. “It was beautiful, ethereal and whimsical.” In dramatic white, and with the addition of jewellery by her father, Theo Fennell, it adds up to the perfect look for what could prove to be a defining night in Emerald’s career.
Already a key cast member in Netflix juggernaut The Crown, in which she stars as Camilla Parker-Bowles, Promising Young Woman, which she wrote as well as directed, announced her as a truly formidable talent. The film is also in the running for no fewer than five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Fennell (if successful, she will be only the second woman to win in this category), and Best Actress for her leading lady, Carey Mulligan.
Roland Mouret was “so excited” to dress Emerald for the BAFTAs, he told British Vogue.
© ZOE MCCONNELL@zoemcconnell
What has it been like for Giacomini to see her long-time friend’s career go stratospheric? “I’m not surprised at all,” she says, adding that anyone who knows Fennell well saw this moment coming. “She’s incredible. We’ve always known that she’s just out-of-this-world brilliant. When I saw the movie I stood up and applauded at how brilliant it was,” she says.
Mouret is similarly effusive on the subject of dressing one of the 2021 awards season’s brightest stars. “She is such a tour de force,” he says. “Writing and directing in addition to her work as an actress, too. She’s so multi-talented and inspiring. I am so excited to be dressing Emerald for the BAFTAs, Promising Young Woman is such an important film – and I’m very happy to see women behind the camera receiving the recognition they deserve.”
Of course, Fennell’s carefully considered look is being denied a real red carpet, but Giacomini says aspects of navigating the remote awards season have been “kind of fun” for the two friends. “You wouldn’t normally wear pyjamas to an awards ceremony,” she points out (Fennell leaned fully into her maximalist side in feather-trimmed Richard Quinn nightwear accessorised with sparkly Aquazzura heels to Zoom in to the Critics’ Choice Awards). “But we managed it.”
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