The morning after the BAFTA Awards, you’d think Jessica Chastain would look just a little worse for wear. But no, the redhead is as radiant as ever when Grazia Daily meets her, clad in a black GAP silk shirt, casual jeans, an Alexander McQueen belt and extremely high Jimmy Choos. ‘Just look at these heels! They’re insane!’ Jessica gushed as we sipped on cuppa at Claridges (she takes English Breakfast with milk and sugar, since you ask).
The Oscar nominated actress has certainly caught the attention of the fashwan industry thanks to her elegant style – everyone from Alexander McQueen to Zac Posen have been dressing her in recent months. ‘I can’t choose one favourite designer! I play so many different kinds of women that I feel the same way about how I dress. I would never want to wear one style for the rest of my life.’
Speaking of designers, rumour has it Jessica was told about her Oscar nomination while sitting on the front row at the Giorgio Armani show during Couture Week. ‘Oh no!’ she giggles. ‘I found out just before the show had started because I went to switch off my phone and I saw that I had 12 missed calls and all these messages. And then all of a sudden, 30 cameras were in my face, including Franca Sozzani (editor of Italian Vogue) who snapped a picture of me [she’s talking about this one]. I’m so happy in that moment that my face was like this *screws up face* and it’s the worst picture of me in the world but I love it because it’s so emotional and real!’
This year, the Armani show was all about the androgynous, tailored look and Jessica couldn’t have loved it anymore. ‘It was a very, very strong show. It’s very feminine and looks beautiful on the body but there’s also this power to it. When I put on something that tailored, I just feel like slicking my hair back and doing David Bowie!’
But just what were her and fellow front rower Cameron Diaz talking about? ‘I met her for the first time that day and she was so kind for me, it was a big emotional moment and she congratulated me and helped ground the moment for me.’ We’re sensing a new A-list friendship brewing…
When we mention the Oscars, Jessica is very careful to keep her dress choice under wraps BUT! we can confirm that she has chosen the one already. Describing awards season, she calls them ‘the fun part about all of this’ mainly because she gets to see old friends but it’s the dressing up that she loves the most. ‘I mean, how often do we get to wear gowns in real life? It just doesn’t happen! I don’t even know if I wore a gown before Cannes.’
Ah yes, that gorgeous yellow dress that La Chastain wore to the Cannes Film Festival in May last year, accessorised by a certain Brad Pitt. We wonder how long it takes to choose such a perfect dress. ‘I never go in blind,’ she tells us. ‘I always think about what I want to convey at that moment in time. When I went to Cannes, I felt like finally I’m having a movie come out after years of working so I told my stylist that I wanted to wear something that looked like sunshine and my Zac Posen dress looked like rays of light.’ Indeed it did! ‘So I narrow things down through an emotional reaction. Then once I decide on a dress, I have that dress and a back-up because you never know! I always love my back-up too so I try to wear that another time.’
And, while we might think it takes the stars hours to be red-carpet ready, Jessica talks us through her pre-awards show routine. ‘It takes about two hours. I’m actually a bit jealous because people assume I get a facial or a massage and I don’t! That sounds awesome though. Usually, if I’m home I just walk down to the coffee shop and I live by the beach with my dog so we’ll walk by the ocean and then I hang out with my best friend. Anything that’s as normal as possible. If it’s a big event with jewellery and stuff, it can take up to 2 and a half hours, spending two hours on hair and make-up and then the last half hour putting on my dress and jewellery. I’ll always get a manicure the day before because I’m so bad when my nails are wet and I’m stressed, I always mess them up!’
So what’s her one red carpet faux-pas? ‘I will never be the girl who walks out carrying my high heel shoes when I’m wearing an Oscar de la Renta dress. I just can’t be! I might take them off under a table when nobody knows though but I’ve worn many uncomfortable shoes and I’m fine with that. I actually had knee surgery last year and throughout The Help premiering tour, I never wore flats! I wore my heels with my crutches. People laughed at me quite a bit but whatever!’
Speaking of the red carpet, we asked the starlet what the best thing about being a redhead is. ‘It’s like a rite of passage because I’ve always been a redhead, I’ve never dyed my hair and when you’re a little kid, it’s not the greatest thing – unless you’re talking to old ladies, they love redheads when you’re a little kid! I’ve been through the childhood war that is being a redhead so now I wear it as a badge of honour.’
So you should Jessica, and haven’t you heard? Red is totally on trend now.
Check back in March for the rest of our interview with Jessica Chastain for the DVD release of The Help, out March 12th.