Style Icon: Rooney Mara


by Chloe Karaskiewicz

Nominated for Best Actress this last awards season, Rooney Mara wowed at the Golden Globes in a black Nina Ricci piece and at the Academy Awards in a unique cream Givenchy dress. Mara’s favorite designers to showcase have included Lanvin and Louis Vuitton, and her style has always been characterized as unique. She has the “tough-girl” taste of her high profile character Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but with a feminine twist.

Revisiting Mara’s Red Carpet debut in 2009, it is obvious that she has always had a penchant for the unusual, so there are no surprises when we look at her red carpet choices. Her choices this year showed a trend of plunging necklines, paired with unique features: the Nina Ricci she wore to the Golden Globes has bowtie detailing in the deep v of the neck and the Givenchy is a textured fabric with a sculptural scalloped bust.

With colors, Mara often keeps it neutral with her affinity for blush and black. However, when she does play with color, she keeps it simple with solid jewel tones.

Mara’s style possesses a certain simplicity: she keeps a low profile on patterns and accessories. She opts not to wear jewelry very often, an oddity on the Red Carpet where many stars are dripping in diamonds, and her hair is typically sleekly swept back. As for make-up, Mara favors a clean face with subtly accentuated eyes and a red lip.

Mara manages to keep the paparazzi out of her day-to-day life so we have few glimpses of her street style, but we can garner ideas about her personal style from interviews. In an article for the New York Times, Mara says that she refuses to sacrifice comfort for fashion, and Vogue’s November 2011 issue—of which she graced the cover—mentions that her edgy approach to feminine pieces brings a freshness the Red Carpet has been missing.

The fashion world has also been abuzz with the “Rooney Mara Effect.” At this year’s runway shows, style watchers noticed that designers and stylists had their models and clients embrace winter white skin and monochromatic dark hair with blunt bangs. The red lip has long been a favorite, but paired with alabaster skin and dark hair, the trend appears to be modeled after Mara. Catherine Piercy of Vogue comments that Calvin Klein was the first to show Mara’s look on a runway in New York and was closely followed by Gucci and Bottega Veneta in Milan.

Mara’s character captivated the world onscreen, but it’s the off-screen fashion icon who holds the fashion world’s attention far past the Lisbeth Salander intrigue. Mara has influenced fashion’s premiere designers and an entire season of styling with her edgy femininity and her courage to wear pieces that lie outside of the mainstream.

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