The stars embracing 'method dressing' on the red carpet

anya taylor joy method dressing
The stars embracing method dressingBrendon Thorne - Getty Images

A glitzy movie premiere is, of course, an opportunity for stars to promote their work, but the red carpet also provides a great outlet for celebrities to be creative with their fashion choices. Having spent so many weeks and months researching and playing a particular role, many stars often choose to pay sartorial tribute to the film once the premiere rolls around, incorporating its themes or embodying character with their look.

This can be difficult to master; literal dressing – or 'method dressing', as it has been dubbed – is not fancy dress, but it is a great way to nod to a project and to have fun with fashion.

"Sometimes you want to celebrate a character, a feeling, or more general aesthetic from the film," the celebrity stylist Leith Clark, who works with Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike and Lucy Boyton, tells us. "But it comes more from a place of celebration and inspiration, rather than emulation."

While method dressing is nothing new, it has been taken to new levels of late, thanks to Margot Robbie's impressive Barbie promo tour, and Zendaya's wardrobe while promoting Dune and Challengers. Scroll through to see all the times actors found inspiration from the films they were promoting on the red carpet – and got literal dressing just right.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy has always had fun with her red-carpet fashion, and the press tour for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga has been no exception. While promoting the post-apocalyptic action film, the actress has been seen wearing plenty of tough-luxe leather and metallics, with a stand-out moment being this vintage Paco Rabanne look, covered in golden spikes that looked like firing arrows.

anya taylor joy furiosa premiere
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Maria Bakalova

Maria Bakalova channelled Ivana Trump's 1980s power-dressing persona in a series of Self-Portrait looks during the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. The actress was there promoting The Apprentice, the Donald Trump biopic, in which she plays his ex-wife.

maria bakalova the apprentice photocall the 77th annual cannes film festival
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Zendaya never misses an opportunity to incorporate a little method dressing into a press tour – and for the first premiere of Challengers, in which she plays a tennis star, the actress wore a green sequin gown which featured the outline of a player serving. The dress, which was custom Loewe, signalled the start of a fabulous few months on the red carpet for Zendaya and her stylist Law Roach, during which she wore dozens of fun tennis-inspired looks.

James Gourley - Getty Images

Carey Mulligan

In Maestro, Carey Mulligan plays Felicia Bernstein, wife of the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein. While promoting the film during awards season, the actress wore a host of beautiful 1950s vintage replicas – from Dior couture at the BAFTAs to custom Schiaparelli at the Golden Globes – inspired by the decade in which much of the film is set. The grand finale saw her gracing the Oscars red carpet in this beautiful fishtail Balenciaga gown; a recreation of an original design from 1951 – the year that Felicia and Leonard Bernstein got married.

carey mulligan oscars
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Zendaya's Dune: Part Two press tour was a masterclass in celebrity styling. The singer-actress worked with the image consultant and stylist Law Roach on a series of impressive sci-fi-inspired looks in tribute to the film franchise – but nothing was more memorable than the archival Mugler bodysuit she wore for the London premiere.

zendaya promoting dune
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Emma Stone

While promoting her award-winning role in Poor Things, Emma Stone stepped out in a series of playful, exaggerated styles, in a nod to the vibrant colours and bold, big sleeves worn by her character in the film. Nowhere was this done more effectively than at the BAFTAs, where she picked up the award for Best Actress wearing this orange, multi-textured Louis Vuitton dress.

2024 ee bafta film awards arrivals
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Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney

Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney both wore spiderweb-inspired gowns for the Los Angeles premiere of Madame Web. Styled by Kate Young, Johnson wore a custom Gucci take on the slip dress, which featured a shimmering mesh and skin-coloured bodysuit underneath. Sweeney, who was styled by Molly Dickson, opted for a corseted Oscar de la Renta gown with a glittering webbed pattern and fringed skirt.

dakota johnson sydney sweeney
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Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams channelled her character of Catherine Dior, throughout the press tour for her Apple TV+ series The New Look. The show tells the story of how design legend Christian Dior – as well as his contemporaries Coco Chanel, Pierre Balmain and Cristóbal Balenciaga – navigated the realities of World War II and launched modern fashion. Williams wore a leather all-black ensemble for the series premiere – by Dior, naturally – in an elegant 1940s silhouette.

maisie williams
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Timothée Chalamet for 'Wonka'

Timothée Chalamet wore a custom Prada jumpsuit to the world premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake Wonka, in which he plays the titular role. The look was made in a striking lilac hue in a nod to the purple shade so commonly associated with Wonka chocolate bars.

timothee chalamet
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Rachel Zegler for 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes'

Rachel Zegler wore this dramatic Alexander McQueen gown to the Berlin premiere of the newest film in The Hunger Games franchise: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. The look was a nod to the star character of the original film series, Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence), commonly known as "the girl on fire".

rachel zegler
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Halle Bailey for 'The Little Mermaid'

The press tour for The Little Mermaid was filled with plenty of ocean-inspired ensembles, and the movie's star, Halle Bailey, kicked it off in style. For the first premiere, the actress wore a shimmering blue custom gown by Valdrin Sahiti which nodded perfectly to the theme of the movie.

halle bailey
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Margot Robbie for 'Barbie'

Probably the most famous example of a celebrity paying sartorial tribute to their on-screen counterpart has to be Margot Robbie throughout the Barbie press tour. The actress wore a series of looks inspired by the doll's original wardrobe – expertly curated by her stylist Andrew Mukamal – featuring plenty of neon pink and playful accessories.


margot robbie barbie premiere
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Anya Taylor-Joy for 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie'

Anya Taylor-Joy entered the video-game world with her role as Princess Peach, in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. She took inspiration from the cartoon character by wearing a pink leather Dior jumpsuit, complete with matching gloves and boots, to the Los Angeles premiere.

special screening of universal pictures'
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Jenna Ortega for 'Wednesday'

Wednesday is one of the biggest hits Netflix has ever had, and the cast had all kinds of fun during the press tour, taking inspiration from their characters on the red carpet. This includes the lead Jenna Ortega, who injected a gothic style into each and every look – particularly for the world premiere, where she wore this black lace Versace gown, complete with a veil.

jenna ortega
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Zoey Deutch for 'Something From Tiffany's'

For her movie Something From Tiffany's, Zoey Deutch injected Tiffany blue into her wardrobe on multiple occasions (complemented with sparkling Tiffany & Co diamonds, naturally). For the Los Angeles premiere of the film, she wore this off-the-shoulder gown by Carolina Herrera.

zoey deutch
Amy Sussman - Getty Images

Elizabeth Debicki for 'The Crown'

The Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki played Princess Diana in the final two seasons of The Crown, and was inspired by one of the royal's most iconic looks for the season five premiere. She wore a black Dior gown with a trailing silk scarf, which was very similar in style to the blue Catherine Walker dress that the princess wore to the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.

elizabeth debicki
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Timothee Chalamet for 'Bones and All'

Timothee Chalamet made headlines with his statement-making look for the Bones and All premiere, which took place during the Venice Film Festival. The actor wore a custom-made, blood-red Haider Ackermann outfit that nodded to the grisly movie, in which he plays a cannibal (and spends much screen time with blood around his neck).

timothee chalamet
Daniele Venturelli - Getty Images

Zoë Kravitz for 'The Batman'

Inspired by her role as Catwoman in The Batman, Kravitz had plenty of fun with her tour wardrobe. Our favourite look was this custom Oscar de la Renta gown which she wore for the New York premiere, featuring a laced-up bodice, complete with cat silhouettes.

zoe kravitz
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Carrie-Anne Moss for 'The Matrix: Resurrections'

Carrie-Anne Moss worked with Oscar de la Renta on this Matrix-inspired dress, which she wore to the US premiere of The Matrix: Resurrections. The caped dress featured delicate embroidery, which had been crafted from a sequence of threadwork with green and silver sequins, echoing the series' digital rain, a spokesperson for the house explained.

carrie ann moss
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Zendaya for 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'

Another entry for Zendaya: on more than one occasion during the Spider-Man: No Way Home tour, the star nodded to the movie – nowhere more so than for the Los Angeles premiere, where she wore a spiderweb-inspired gown by Valentino, complete with a superhero mask.

Amy Sussman - Getty Images

Beyoncé for 'The Lion King'

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 golden colour associated with the iconic film.

<span class="photo-credit">David M. Benett - Getty Images</span>
David M. Benett - Getty Images

Keira Knightley for 'The Nutcracker'

Keira Knightley also loves to acknowledge her projects on the red carpet – and her appearance at the premiere of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 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 fairy-tale film.

Disney's 'The Nutcracker' European Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
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Keira Knightley for 'Colette'

Just a few months earlier, the actress took a completely different approach to red-carpet dressing when she was promoting Colette, in which she plays an early 20th-century writer whose work was credited to her husband. For this, it was all sharp tailoring and dark colours in a nod to her on-screen character.

2018 Sundance Film Festival
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Margot Robbie for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

When Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Margot Robbie paid tribute to the real-life character she plays in the movie, the late actress Sharon Tate. Taking inspiration from 1960s Hollywood, Robbie wore a lace Chanel gown to the film's photo call and wore her hair partly plaited – a look that directly emulated one that Tate had once been seen wearing.

<span class="photo-credit">George Pimentel - Getty Images</span>
George Pimentel - Getty Images

Amber Heard for 'Aquaman'

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.

<span class="photo-credit">Jeff Spicer - Getty Images</span>
Jeff Spicer - Getty Images

Lupita Nyong'o for 'Us'

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.

<span class="photo-credit">Dia Dipasupil - Getty Images</span>
Dia Dipasupil - Getty Images

Angelina Jolie for 'Maleficent'

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 gown with bracelets made of spikes.

World Premiere Of Disney's
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Lily James for 'Cinderella'

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.

world premiere of disney's
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Cara Delevingne for 'Valerian'

As a former model, Cara Delevingne knows a thing or two about making a fashion statement – and she did just that 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 design and made a statement with her hair and make-up.

Premiere Of EuropaCorp And STX Entertainment's 'Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets' - Arrivals
Jeffrey Mayer - Getty Images

Blake Lively for 'A Simple Favour'

Another big commitment to bringing a character to the red carpet came from Blake Lively and her A Simple Favour tour, in which she mimicked the style of her on-screen persona and wore a trouser suit for every single appearance.

'A Simple Favour' UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Karwai Tang - Getty Images

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