the story behind Cara Delevingne's new red carpet look

For years, we became used to seeing Cara Delevingne cast in the guise imagined for her by the latest designer she was working with; a sleek grown-up in a pencil skirt at Burberry one day, a vampish glamazon at Versace the next. But now that she has moved firmly into the realm of acting, Delevingne gets to dictate her own style.

“We were definitely conscious of making sure not to dress her as a model where a stylist can do all these avant-garde things,” says Mariel Haenn, one half of styling duo Rob and Mariel, who Delevingne has been working with for the past couple of years as her acting career has taken off. “We are still able to do that in a way, but we need to show her movie star side. Anything floral or flirty just isn’t who she is so we wouldn’t put her in anything like. that. Her personality and style are at the forefront”

Delevingne is currently on a whirlwind world tour promoting her latest film, Valerian, and it’s proved the perfect showcase for the “androgynous, cutting-edge” look which Haenn has helped her to hone. Yesterday, we saw Delevingne rock a checked Alexander Wang suit with played with proportion via an oversized blazer and drainpipe trousers; later, she wore a custom-made Burberry suit for the film’s London premiere.

“As a nod to Cara's home town, it was only appropriate that she wear a British designer,” says Haenn. She defines the feeling which they are searching for in every look as “more sexy tomboy rather than just going purely masculine."Although each one has “a masculine touch to it”, it comes with an extra element of edge or detail. Last night, that came in the form of the crystal capelet which was layered over the tuxedo jacket while a Mugler suit worn in New York last week “was a bright velvet so the colour really popped.”

Valerian’s sci-fi themes and Delevingne’s relatively new super-short haircut have given Rob and Mariel a lot to experiment with lately. “Her shaved head actually works with a lot more than we expected but there’s a definite tone and feeling”.

At the first premiere in LA last week, Delevingne eschewed tailoring, opting instead for an architectural halterneck Iris van Herpen dress crafted from sinuous metallic threads, it was a statement-making moment, especially combined with the silver marcel-waved hair created by hair stylist, Mara Roszak. “It’s not every red carpet that you can wear something like that!” Haenn observes, adding that the hair was carefully chosen to compliment rather than compete with the dress.

We’re accustomed to see Delevingne wearing the likes of Burberry and Chanel- both labels she has modelled for in the past- but Haenn is also mindful to include unexpected names in the mix (Dion Lee and Mugler are a couple she’s worn this week). “We don’t want to limit her so we look at everyone’s collection for the season and what their inspiration and theme was, so there are the usual suspects which we lean towards because of who she is, but we’re always looking to push outside that boundary too.”

While the former supermodel might have been quoted today as saying she doesn’t care about how she looks, Haenn says she definitely plays a vital role in choosing the outfits she’ll be photographed in. “She’s great at trusting and trying things on, but she has an opinion too.”

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