2010s Fashion: Elle Fanning’s Style Evolution in Red Carpet Dresses

Photos by Gisela Schober/Getty Images; Stéphane Cardinale-Corbis via Getty Images; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Elle Fanning has always been a risk taker on the red carpet. Since making her Hollywood breakthrough in 2010, led by Sofia Coppola Somewherethe actress graced the red carpets of Cannes, the Berlinale and beyond with some of their most exciting, experimental and high looks. Think head-to-toe runways and custom couture dresses. Rodarte Spartan dresses, Miu Miu suits, Vivienne Westwood corsetry, Loewe egg pumps and Dior’s iconic “New Look”, to name but a few.

She admits to being a fan of fashion since she was a child and, with the stylist Samantha McMillen, the actress explores this reverence for design with a demanding and playful eye. Above all, Elle’s sense of style is fun: a breath of fresh air. Here, we look back on a decade of Elle’s best looks to chart her style evolution from teenage star to red carpet tastemaker.

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At the New York premiere of Somewhere, 2010

Elle Fanning started acting when she was just two years old, taking her first role alongside her sister Dakota in the 2001 drama I am sam. Almost a decade later, Elle made her cinematic breakthrough with a starring role in Sofia Coppola. Somewhere. Dressed a lot the role of a Coppola heroineShe attended the film’s premiere in New York wearing a directional runway look of Rodarte’s SS11 collection.

In a 2019 interview with Kate and Laura Mulleavy, She recalled the formative cut, saying, “I think I had just turned 13 and it was the first time I really wore a full look. I remember I drew myself wearing this dress and I gave it to you. I had a very quirky sense of style growing up and at school they made fun of my outfits. But with Rodarte in particular, I felt so comfortable in your clothes. Since then, Rodarte has become a mainstay of actresses’ red carpet. In 2012, she wore one of the Van Gogh Dresses at the Critics’ Choice Awards and, more recently, wore one of the brand’s floral dresses at the 2020 Berlinale.

elle fanning wearing a 70s style blue and purple costume at a movie premiere in 2012

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At the premiere of Ginger & Rosa, 2012

She is also the ultimate Miu Miu girl. Since the early 2010s, the actress has collaborated with Prada’s quirky little sister label on everything from collection campaigns at runway forays and stunning red carpet looks. She is carried Miu Miu ice blue at the Met Gala, Miu Miu dazzled at the Deauville Festival and even a Miu Miu muumuu at Cannes ! Here, two years before presenting her very first Miu Miu campaign, the actress wears the look that started it all: a 70s-inspired pantsuit from the brand’s AW12 collection.

Elle Fanning in a cream dress and flower crown at a premiere in 2014

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At a reception for Maleficent, 2014

In 2014, she starred alongside Angelina Jolie in Sleeping Beauty prequel, Maleficent. The film’s press tour saw the actress pay homage to her character, Aurora, in a series of Disney princess dresses, including chiffon confections by Alexander McQueen and this number embroidered by Georges Hobeika. Since her Maleficent days, the ethereal ballgown — and flower crown — became Elle’s signature red carpet look. Think corseted Zuhair Murad in Cannes or filigree Elie Saab at the premiere of neon demon.

elle fanning in a slip dress in cannes, 2016

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At the Neon Demon Cannes photocall, 2016

Two years later MaleficentShe went conceptual with her press tour wardrobe, once again, while promoting The neon demon. The Nicolas Winding Refn-directed fashion horror film traces the descent of Elle’s Jesse, an aspiring small-town model, as she is slowly consumed by Los Angeles’ ruthless fashion industry. Between previews and photocalls in Rome, Paris and Cannes, Elle oscillated between a series of ruffled mini dresses and severe glitter looks who spoke of his duality neon demon heroin.

Elle Fanning in a Versace dress with a Marilyn Monroe print, 2017

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At the Instyle Awards, 2017

Did Elle Fanning get her hands on crazy vintage Versace from the late 2010s? years before Kim Kardashian and Dua Lipa sported looks from the Italian brand’s back catalogue, She stopped at the In the style Awards wearing a vintage-inspired dress from the brand’s SS18 collection. Although the look was not technically archival, it was a recreation of one of Gianni Versace’s original SS91 modelsreproduced by Donatella to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her brother’s death.

elle fanning in a statuesque japanese-style dress on the dress carpet, 2018

Photo by Stéphane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

At the Berlinale International Film Festival, 2018

From sparkling tulle dresses at delicate A line mini dresses, Elle’s trainer Valentino looks sweet and pretty, perfectly suited for a teenage star. In 2018, however, the actress opted for a much more refined and directional look from the Italian brand. Exit the delicate lace and embroideryand with sculptural silhouettes, graphic color blocks and, of course, a single knot to tie it all together.

elle fanning as malibu barbie at 'camp' gala met 2019

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At the Met Gala, 2019

“Camp is all about exaggerating and being playful,” She said vogue, when asked for her take on the 2019 Met Gala theme. She’s taking “camp”? A Miu Miu “Malibu Barbie” in a chiffon cape and manicure dripping with kitschy charms – from Coors Lite bottles to McDonalds burgers. According to Elle, the look was inspired by her mother, who collected charms in the 80s.

elle fanning in a chic old hollywood look on the red carpet of cannes, 2019

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At the Cannes Film Festival, 2019

In 2019, Elle was named a member of the Cannes Film Festival jury – and the youngest juror ever, to boot! In this role, Elle made the full Cannes circuit, attending each of the festival’s red carpet premieres and, of course, serving up a number of red carpet looks. For her Cannes 2019 turn, Elle paid homage to the style of past stars with a series of Old Hollywood-inspired looks – think Veronica Lake in plunging Gucci satin or Hedy Lamarr in a muslin cape. Or this Dior outfit that steals the show, inspired by the house’s mid-century New Look.

At the Independent Spirit Awards, 2021

In 2020, Elle brought her star power to the small screen, playing Catherine the Great in Hulu’s “anti-historical” comedy-drama. Great. At the following year’s Independent Spirit Awards, where she was nominated for the role, Elle channeled her character wearing a Vivienne Westwood dress “inspired by Catherine the Great’s love of pearls”. she wrote on her Instagram, “and we all know nobody makes a corset like Westwood!!” Elle’s love for Vivienne Westwood corsets is well documented: she wore them at Cannestwice!on late night talk shows and, more recently, to promote the latest season of Great.

Elle Fanning in a floor-length black chiffon gown at a movie gala, 2021

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At the LACMA Art+Film Gala, 2021

We’ve seen Elle wear Gucci before, but never like this. In 2019, the actress wore one of the Italian house’s outfits ethereal dresses at the premiere of Maleficent: mistress of evil. Floating, floral and adorned with the film’s iconic finger prick, the dress was designed as a tribute to the Disney Princess protagonist of Elle. In 2021, however, Elle arrived at the LACMA Art + Film Gala looking more like Maleficent than Aurora in a black chiffon number, also by Gucci.

elle fanning in a gold chain crop top, 2021

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At the InStyle Awards, 2021

From Loewe’s egg heels to Balmain’s chain-link crop top, Elle Fanning’s 2021 Great The press tour gave us a slew of fun and slightly surreal looks on the red carpet. Here, Elle wears this latest look to the InStyle Awards, where her longtime stylist Samantha McMillen was named Stylist of the Year. “Samantha McMillen is my Everyday Stylist of the Year!” She wrote in an Instagram caption, celebrating victory. A sign of many more exciting looks to come, that’s for sure.


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