The Starting Point
It was no accident that the silhouette Robbie chose—a tunic slipped over a pair of slim-fitting pants—summoned a retro style sensibility. The Australian actor was in Cannes for the premiere of her latest film Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, and this particular look was plucked from the Chanel archives to deliver a low-key nod to her character: the late movie star Sharon Tate. “I loved the ’60s vibe [which was] a subtle reference to the looks Sharon Tate wore when she was in Cannes,” Robbie explains. And while the blush-pink tunic punctuated by a single flower was reminiscent of the era’s go-to minidresses, the addition of pants—not the typical red carpet route—embodied the spirit of today’s power women.
A Dazzling Design
Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s former creative director, tapped Robbie for the coveted role of house ambassador before he passed away earlier this year, and the shimmering ensemble also served as an ode to the fashion icon’s idiosyncratic vision. Designed by Lagerfeld for the label’s spring/summer 2011 haute couture collection, at the time he described the combination of a sugar-spun shift and contrasting black pants as “fragile rock”, summing up the amalgamation of personalities woven into the seams. Robbie, who is based in Los Angeles, donned the original runway look, but worked closely with the Chanel haute couture atelier to complete fittings that spanned continents to ensure the pieces looked like they could have been made just for her. “The beading in the look is extraordinary and quintessentially Chanel,” says Robbie—and she’s not wrong. More than 300 hours were spent on embroidery during the process, an example of the finesse of fine craftsmanship that’s so central to the brand’s DNA.
Red Carpet Roll Call
After finishing touches—black cut-out booties, a matching choker and earrings that curved into the shape of dainty fans—Robbie was ready for the red carpet. The Cannes Film Festival represents the height of glamour; it’s a place where ball gowns are the norm and photographers are required to adhere to black-tie codes, so for the actor to make her first ever appearance in this multifaceted creation defied expectation. It also cemented her solidarity with Chanel’s long-standing style philosophy: disruptive elegance. Translation? Pushing boundaries—be that in fashion or further afield—needn’t negate purpose, poise and superior sartorial ability.