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Anya Taylor-Joy Revs Up Method Dressing Trend, Furiosa Style

Anya Taylor-Joy Revs Up Method Dressing Trend, Furiosa Style

Eyes follow Anya Taylor-Joy whenever she steps on a red carpet, and the descriptions of her ensembles that follow often include adjectives like glamorous, ethereal, angelic, and the like. But when she faced photographers’ lenses in Sydney in early May for the world premiere of George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, what followed was a series of exclamation points. Edgy! Electric! Striking! Furiosa-approved! 

Taylor-Joy donned a vintage look from Paco Rabanne’s spring 1996 haute couture collection. The sheer chain-mail creation featured triangular and oval diamonté adornments with arrow spikes jutting out from both the body of the dress and the matching headpiece.

With her appearance, Taylor-Joy became the latest star to fashionably fuel a trend that has been described as method dressing or character cosplay. It has felt omnipresent as of late, thanks to style stars like Zendaya, Margot Robbie, Emma Stone, Kristen Stewart and Florence Pugh. Though they have only made a handful of outings together to pump their highly anticipated two- part Wicked musical, Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo have leaned heavily into the pink and green influences (pink for Grande’s Glinda and emerald for Erivo’s gravity-defying Elphaba) that telegraphed much more cosplay to come ahead of the first film’s November debut.

Emma Stone, Kristen Stewart and Zendaya are seen wearing ensembles inspired by their respective films.

Samir Hussein/WireImage, Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images for A24, Samir Hussein/WireImage, Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Though Taylor-Joy bucked the trend when she stepped out in Cannes on May 15 in a Dior Haute Couture tulle dress, many other stops on the Furiosa press tour have seen Taylor-Joy press the pedal to the metal with looks that would blend seamlessly in Miller’s Mad Max dieselpunk world. The 28-year-old actress and Dior muse kicked it off at CinemaCon in Las Vegas in April with a black, rocker-chic Ludovic de Saint Sernin grommet-accented leather mini dress. She continued in Mexico City with a white leather Robert Wun look and a black leather bustier dress by Acne Studios. And she delivered another futuristic turn at a Sydney photocall by wearing a burnt orange Rick Owens top and high-waisted leather skirt.

Anya Taylor-Joy, in Rick Owens, with Chris Hemsworth in Sydney on May 1, 2024.

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Actors and stylists have long pulled from the page, and screens big and small, as inspiration for red carpet dressing. But the method reached new heights and cultural awareness thanks to Robbie and her jaw-dropping, months-long Barbie promo tour expertly curated by her stylist Andrew Mukamal that featured an explosion of pink and meticulously crafted, luxury re-creations of looks worn by the iconic doll.

“If people at home have knowledge and a visual awareness of characters before even seeing the film, then you can really go there,” Mukamal told The Hollywood Reporter during a dinner to celebrate the Power Stylists list at which he was feted as Stylist of the Year for the long haul. Mukamal previously mined the trend with Zoë Kravitz for The Batman, which cast her as Catwoman. “So many people already knew who Catwoman was even before they got to see Zoe’s version of the character. With projects like that, Barbie included, there’s so much wealth to pull from. It’s proven to be a really great approach for certain projects, especially in terms of communicating a message on a press tour and creating great momentum. I’m loving seeing it more and more out there.”

Fans of Zendaya and her longtime stylist Law Roach went nuts online for her tennis-core looks on the global press tour for Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers. She kicked it off with a glittering, low-cut Loewe custom gown at the Sydney premiere that featured a print of a tennis player in mid-serve. She wore another Loewe design in London that featured a tennis skirt and Loewe stilettos with a tennis ball attached to each heel. The appearance followed another global press tour on which the Emmy winner and Roach pulled out many method ensembles for her role as Chani in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two. Who can forget the London look that saw Zendaya in a vintage robotic suit by Mugler from his haute couture 1995-96 show?

Another high-profile example in recent months was Stone’s run for Poor Things with her longtime stylist Petra Flannery. The veteran Louis Vuitton ambassador wore a series of custom looks that complemented Stone’s character Bella Baxter in the world created by Yorgos Lanthimos. “I always try and take a little something from the film, a nod of some sort or a thread of the character,” Flannery tells THR. “I usually don’t do it so literally or in an overbearing way, but just something that helps give it a sense of inspiration, whether it be a color reference or silhouette.”

Or an accessory. Says Flannery: “For her character name, we had Louis Vuitton make BB pins that were created with gold and pearls. We placed them on some of the looks every so often, on a belt or lapel, to reference the character. Those things are so inspiring and it’s fun to keep adding to the art with nods like that. As Emma has said, it’s one of her favorite characters, so it was great to keep the character alive in that way.”

Emma Stone, in Louis Vuitton, wearing custom BB pins by LV for her character, Bella Baxter.

Presley Ann/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Society

Other times, the references are so subtle that not even the most critical eyes will pick up on it. “There reference could be so small that that only myself and the actress will know,” teases Flannery. “It could be a color or an accessory, a way for them to know that a little piece of the character is always with them.”

Stylist team Wayman Deon and Micah McDonald say that method dressing can be a useful tool in storytelling that can tie in well with the film’s marketing. But it can also be avoided to tell a different kind of tale in one’s career. “If they are introducing a new character or a new project, we sometimes pull from the movie to tell a pictorial story,” McDonald explains. “But we also shy away from it if we are working with a client and they are ready to move onto their next picture or their next direction. It can be useful to do something that is the complete opposite of what they just portrayed to signal where they want to go or how they want to be perceived for the next journey.”

Cynthia Erivo, in Louis Vuitton, and Ariana Grande, in Giambattista Valli, at the Oscars on March 10, 2024.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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