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Annabelle Wallis on the power of personal style, and dressing for Dior

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Christian Dior first displayed his work in Scotland back in 1955 – and now, almost 70 years later, the French fashion house has chosen the county of Perthshire as the setting for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest cruise show, which was held in the grounds of the magical Drummond Castle to a star-studded crowd.

Traditional bagpipes opened and closed the show, as names including Jennifer Lawrence, Anya Taylor-Joy, Lily Collins and Maisie Williams looked on from the front row.

Joining them was the actress Annabelle Wallis, who we caught up with while she was getting ready for the presentation, where she dissected the details of her chic navy suit (which she accessorised with a burgundy Lady Dior bag), discussed how her fashion sense has developed over the years, and opened up about why personal style can be so empowering.

Darren Gerrish for Dior / Parfums Christian Dior

Please talk us through your look. What drew you to this particular outfit?

“My look is a very classic Dior suit. I wanted something that had heritage and was really synonymous with the brand. It’s almost 1960s in style – it has a flipped waist, is double breasted and it reminded me of Marlene Dietrich; Christian Dior was her costumier. She is my muse and so I just love that link. I love the strong femininity a Dior suit brings and I like the idea of divinely feminine and masculine combined. It aligned with who I feel like I am and who I’m becoming.”

What makes Dior a good match for your personal style?

“Dior is synonymous with class, great design, detail and luxury. These are all things we all aspire to in different aspects of our life. I love history, I love heritage and I love brands that are steeped in integrity. When you read about Christian Dior himself, he wanted to design for his own brand, rather than for another couture label. I think it’s so brave to be an outsider in in a world where people want you to conform. When I see and hear of these people who have built these incredible empires that are that are steeped in integrity, I align very much with the values of that.”

annabelle wallis

Darren Gerrish for Dior / Parfums Christian Dior

How involved do you tend to be in your styling process?

“I have a feeling and a vision, and then the best involvement I could have is to feel good in myself, good in my body and that I feel empowered, strong and comfortable.

“When it comes to gathering the pieces I have a great stylist, Samantha McMillan, who is wonderful. I’m a very instinctual, in-the-moment person, so to be able to collaborate with someone who has a bigger vision is very helpful for me as I can change my mind. It’s very helpful to work with a stylist or a costume designer as they can rein you in.”

How do you feel that your style has evolved over the years?

“During Covid, we were stripped of any opportunity to go out and I realised the value of clothes being so much of who you are. Your style is representative of your mood, state of mind, what your interests are and what you want to represent in the world. When I wear clothes, I dress for my personality. I really feel like my style has evolved in a way that I’m far more celebratory of the fact we get to dress up.

“[As an actor], whenever I’m cast as a leading lady, I dress every day like a leading lady. It’s become a thing that people wait for me to arrive on set and they’re like, ‘What is she wearing today?’ I really believe that there is a ritual in dressing the part – if they’re investing in you, you invest in return by playing the part.

“As you get older, you care less [about what other people think] and you’re more confident. Even with the aspects of your body that you didn’t like when you were younger – that makes dressing and going out much more freeing. I would say I’m much more experimental and braver now.”

annabelle wallis

Darren Gerrish for Dior / Parfums Christian Dior

What fashion makes you feel most confident?

“A great pair of jeans and a T-shirt. I think that that kind of casual cool is stunning on women, when you can see that they’re just enjoying their life and haven’t overthought it. But then, when you are in love with someone and you get ready to go on a date and you dress for that, there’s a romanticism there – there’s a layered element to it that I really love too. I’ll go from jeans and a T-shirt in the day and then switch it up at night and go a little more glam, sexy, cool, if I’m feeling it. Both ends of the spectrum can make you feel great.”

Whose style have you always admired and why?

“My mum is a fashion icon. She is the most naturally cool and stylish person and as she’s getting older, she’s even cooler. So, she’s my number one.

“I also love Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. She was effortlessly cool and beautiful and wore very simple silhouettes, and also Jane Birkin. I like people who were so authentically themselves. Diane Kruger has great style too. I think she is cool and forward-thinking and is brave with her choices. Of course, Kate Moss – you can’t not mention Kate Moss – and Françoise Hardy. I magnet towards French icons and their style.”

annabelle wallis

Darren Gerrish for Dior/ Parfums Christian Dior

What is your ideal getting-ready set-up?

“Music and a really nice hair and make-up team. I love the people I get to work with. We get some music going and it’s a really fun, lively environment. The fact we’re allowed to dress up and to work with these incredible artists that paint your face and do your hair… it’s really a wonderful moment. I tell people that the best part of the night is getting ready with your team when you’re laughing and you’re joking, as you can be yourself and all come up with a look together.”

Fashion has a reputation for being frivolous, but why does what we wear matter?

“I think it’s the opposite of frivolous. To dress yourself, to groom yourself, bathe yourself, they are rituals of self care. [Dressing up] is a ritual of showing yourself you are worth it. You’re honouring the way you feel. People get a lot of joy out of dressing up, and so I don’t like when people say it’s frivolous. I think it’s incredibly empowering and important to have those quiet moments with yourself where you are asking yourself what you want and how you like it. I think it’s really special.”

When do you feel your most beautiful?

“When I am sat with the people that I love; I don’t have to make an effort and I am so authentically myself. I could be wearing anything, I think that’s when I feel the most beautiful. Also, my boyfriend is very good at giving me a compliment.”

annabelle wallis

Darren Gerrish for Dior / Parfums Christian Dior

Make up artist: Jamie Coombes for Dior Beauty

Hair stylist: Sharee Graham

preview for Maisie Williams: Inside my beauty bag
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