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It’s been several years since Cara Delevingne began shifting from modeling to movies; since then, she’s played everything from a popular girl gone missing (in 2015’s Paper Towns) to a mind-controlling supervillain (in last year’s Suicide Squad). But in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the latest sci-fi adventure from director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), Delevingne’s finally landed the part of leading lady, starring opposite Dane DeHaan as an interstellar special operative tasked with saving the world.
If you’ve noticed that many of Delevingne’s recent red carpet looks lean futuristic, well, that’s no coincidence. “Any time we dress somebody, no matter what they’re promoting, we like to start with [their project] as the inspiration,” says Mariel Haenn, who, along with Rob Zangardi, styles Delevingne. “Just because it makes sense! It would have been weird to have her in some sort of, like, vintage Victorian vibe while she’s promoting a sci-fi movie.”
Below, Haenn shares the stories behind a few of Delevingne’s recent intergalactic outfits, from her chrome-tastic Chanel suit (and matching silver-painted head) at the Met Gala to the sculptural 3-D-printed Iris van Herpen gown she wore to Valerian’s LA premiere.
“This was Alexandre Vauthier; it’s edgy and it’s modern. Our whole thing with Cara is that she’s just a badass — so we can go sexy badass, we can go flirty badass, we can go masculine badass. She can carry so many looks. But here, [the sci-fi feel] was not planned; it sort of just happened organically!”
“The haircut kind of set the tone for a lot of things here. Rob and I didn’t know [she’d shaved her head] — we just saw pictures of her walking around — and, you know, having a shaved head is a really distinctive look that you have to dress around! So she went with Chanel, and they actually picked out that outfit for her. I think it really didn’t have anything to do with the movie; it was more about working around her new haircut, which made such a big impact. And then from there, we were definitely like, ‘This is a vibe that we’re going to continue with, because it works!’”
“I loved this. We actually didn’t fit her until that morning, and this was our first time actually dressing her post-shaved head. We had a variety of different ways we could go, and this one was just the one that looked the most amazing on her. It’s the kind of dress that can either go very cocktail and feminine or very badass — it just depends on the person wearing it: their personality, the shoe choice, the hair choice.”
“That’s Mugler; it just felt like it fit. And then when we were in the fitting, Cara was like, ‘Wow — that detail kind of looks like what I wear in the movie!’ We always have to make sure that we’re not going too far with the theme, though, to the point that it becomes a gimmick. It’s more about taking inspiration from it, and then hitting it through a mix of hair, makeup, and wardrobe.
Those thigh-high boots are Louboutin, and we liked that they made the look more tough than pretty.”
“We’re obsessed with Iris van Herpen. Her dresses are works of art, and we don’t often get a client who can pull them off. Of course, it’s also really hard to find an event where you can wear a metallic 3-D-printed plastic dress! This was just a case of the perfect movie, the perfect client, the perfect dress.
It was the first thing we tried on, and we knew it was the one. She loved it, we loved it. It came with really specific shipping instructions because it’s so delicate; that’s why we decided to use it for the LA premiere, actually, so we wouldn’t have to pack it. I don’t know if it was that easy to sit in, but she was up for it!
Our first idea for her hair for this premiere actually involved silver glitter — but then we realized that between the hair and the dress, it was getting too costume-y. I would’ve never thought to put finger waves over her shaved head! That’s a hairpiece — and I don’t know if it was intentional, but it had this sort of grayish [streak] in the front that worked really well with the dress.”
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets hits theaters on July 21st.