From Zendaya, Dakota Johnson to Margo Robbie, what is method dresssing? - Hindustan Times
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From Zendaya, Dakota Johnson to Margo Robbie, what is method dresssing on the red carpet?

ByAbigail banerji
Feb 27, 2024 05:57 PM IST

We speak to fashion designers Neeta Lulla, Gaurav Khanijo, Arya Giri and Gabriella Demetriades about their thoughts on this trend taking over movie premieres

Walking the red carpet while the flashing lights and paparazzo vie for your attention can be overwhelming yet fun, ask any actor. The eyes of the entire world are trained on them and what they’ve chosen to wear on their rare public appearance, especially in Hollywood. Actors, during their film’s promotional rounds, want to don statement-making outfits that can shock and awe. Several international celebrities have adopted ‘method dressing’ while on press tours as it creates a lot of buzz for their films and brings eyeballs to their characters, too.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken at the movie premiere in Los Angeles in US(X)
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken at the movie premiere in Los Angeles in US(X)

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Take actor Dakota Johnson for example, who dared to bare at an event for her film, Madam Web, where she wore a custom Gucci gown with sheer crystal mesh fabric, featuring a plunging neckline. Johnson pushed fashion boundaries but kept things decent by wearing flesh-coloured undergarments underneath.

Dakota Johnson wearing a webbed hood(Instagram)
Dakota Johnson wearing a webbed hood(Instagram)

In Brazil, the actor wore an Annie’s Ibiza web dress with a hood that looked like it was made especially for her, inspired by her character in the new Marvel movie. The sheer black dress was intricately beaded with crystals in the formation of a web.

So what is Method Dressing? Similar to method acting, where actors will delve deep into their character’s life to prep for a role, method dressing refers to actors channelling their characters in the outfits they wear on the red carpet. Neeta Lulla, Couturier and Founder, House of Neeta Lulla, explains, “Method dressing or method look plays a critical role in shaping the public persona of a celebrity and the narratives around their films’ characters, both on and off-screen. This persona can be an extension of their real selves or a newly crafted character designed to engage with their audience or market.”

Zendaya wears a hooded two-piece set at Dune: Part 2(Instagram)
Zendaya wears a hooded two-piece set at Dune: Part 2(Instagram)

Actor Zendaya flashed her abs and channelled her futuristic warrior princess character, Chani, in her fits during the ongoing Dune 2 press tour. In Mexico City, she wore London designer Torishéju Dumi’s custom two-piece: a halter-neck crop top and a draped skirt with a daring slit in navy, grey, and red fabrics and sculptural rosettes at the hip. She wore a custom two-piece gold look by Louis Vuitton and jewels by Bvlgari In Paris that also gave off Chani vibes.

Zendaya's long-time stylist Law Roach spoke to Vogue about how he has been curating thematic looks for her press tour in a recent interview. He said, “We adopted method dressing. The looks serve as an extension of the wardrobe from the movie; It was intentional and purposeful.”

Rachel Zegler in an Alexander McQueen gown for her movie premier (Instagram)
Rachel Zegler in an Alexander McQueen gown for her movie premier (Instagram)

Taking inspiration from their own character or giving a nod to another character from the project to tease or create curiosity among the audience can help boost ticket sales and make it a hit at the box office. Like actor Rachel Zegler, who wore a black Alexander McQueen gown featuring a fiery red mermaid tail while attending the Berlin premiere of her 2023 movie, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. The 22-year-old's dress was a tribute to actor Jennifer Lawrence's, character Katniss, during the Hunger Games' previous movies.

Margot Robbie dressed as a Barbie for the World Movie premiere(Instagram)
Margot Robbie dressed as a Barbie for the World Movie premiere(Instagram)

The biggest hit of 2023 was the feminism and girlhood-redefining film, Barbie, which starred Margot Robbie in the titular role. She embodied the doll and wore multiple custom-made outfits that were directly inspired by Barbies. Walking the pink carpet for the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles, USA, Robbie and Ryan Gosling looked like exact replicas of their characters. Robbie wore a Schiaparelli Haute Couture black dress with a flared base reminiscent of the 1960s Solo in the Spotlight doll outfit, including black gloves, Manolo Blahnik mules and Lorraine Schwartz choker. Giving off Kenergy, Gosling gave a nod to Barbie’s love for all things pink with his suit.

 

For designer Gaurav Khanijo, founder of the eponymous label, method dressing is “brilliant” as it’s a step away from the usual. He adds, “An actor, promoting their own movie, allows them to wear such costumes of a very defined character. It’s not like they are wearing a Spider-Man costume. Instead, they are just picking up elements and giving off a vibe of their character to the red carpet. It shows creativity and it’s very fun to watch.”

 

Timothée Chalamet was inspired by his chocolatier character from Wonka(Instagram)
Timothée Chalamet was inspired by his chocolatier character from Wonka(Instagram)

During the movie premiere of his candy-centric film, Wonka (2023), Timothée Chalamet took heavy inspiration from his character and donned several purple and lavender outfits. In Tokyo, Japan, the actor wore a glossy light purple blazer by Prada, tucked into lilac pants, shiny white boots and a silver chain necklace.

For fashion designer Arya Giri, method dressing is all about harnessing a few aspects of the character and propelling “them forward through styling, tonalities, and the like for appearances. It’s a fascinating way to break down the complexities of a character and mirror them to that of the fashion world’s nuances.” She opines, “Not only is it playful and expressive, but it’s a great way to create an association with character, actor, and the fashion artistry laced into the film and media appearances alike.”

Hailey Bailey channelled her character, Princess Ariel, in a Valdrin Sahiti blue gown (Instagram)
Hailey Bailey channelled her character, Princess Ariel, in a Valdrin Sahiti blue gown (Instagram)

However, Gabriella Demetriades, Founder and Creative Director, Deme by Gabriella, isn’t a fan. She says, “I love the idea, but I think it can also be taken too literally, kind of like (actor) Austin Butler getting stuck as Elvis [when he played the legendary King of Rock and Roll, during the film Elvis (2022)]... I mean he still speaks that way. I think there has to be a line drawn between actor and character. But, if at film promotions you can pair the two together using fashion, well that can be interesting. I think Zendaya for Dune: Part Two is doing an incredible job of a futuristic, otherworldly vibe but making it fashionable. She can pull it off and make it seem as part of her as part of her character which I don’t know if many could.”

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