Ruth Negga and Kelsey Asbille on the Dresses That Made Them Cry
Yellowstone actress Kelsey Asbille talks shop with her ultimate fashion icon, Ruth Negga.
When Yellowstone actress Kelsey Asbille starred in Louis Vuitton's glamorous Pre-Fall campaign last year, she was in good company, posing alongside some of the fashion house’s favorite ladies like Michelle Williams, Alicia Vikander, and Sophie Turner. But most of all, Asbille was excited to meet one of her own personal style inspirations, Louis Vuitton muse and Oscar nominee Ruth Negga.
Their paths didn’t cross at the campaign shoot, so Asbille was hopeful that she’d get to chat with Negga at the brand’s fashion show in Paris. However, when the moment came, she understandably froze. “We were both there, but I just admired Ruth from afar because I was too awkward to say something, naturally,” laughs Asbille. “She was wearing this cropped pink jacket and looked so cool.”
So for InStyle’s July Style Crush chat, we connected the two stars so they could have their long-awaited meet-cute. And yes, they hit it off, talking about everything from what they’re up to in quarantine to their red carpet mantras (“Fake it till you make it,” jokes Negga).
“Ruth has always embodied the idea that it’s the person who makes the dress,” says Asbille. “Her choices are individual, feminine, and powerful — hence her amazing Joan of Arc look at the 2017 Golden Globes.” [below]
Negga confessed that the iconic silver Louis Vuitton dress is her all-time favorite look. “It actually made me cry when I put it on,” she said. “Fashion can be very emotional, especially when it’s something that’s made just for you. Stepping out of the car in that dress, it was the first time in my life that I thought, 'I can do this.' That wasn’t psychological — that was fashion.”
Read on for their full conversation below.
Kelsey Asbille: Ruth, how are you? This is such a difficult time, so talking to you is a wonderful distraction. I’ve been looking forward to it all day.
Ruth Negga: That makes me so happy! It feels like the end of the world, doesn’t it? I’m in L.A., but before that I was in New York doing Hamlet. We finished days before Broadway went dark. We were so grateful.
KA: Amazing. I was working on Fargo, and we had to postpone filming before the last two episodes.
RN: I believe they call that a cliff-hanger! How’s it been so far?
KA: It’s great. It’s set in the ’50s, and I’ve fallen in love with the cowboy wardrobe. What have you been up to in quarantine?
RN: My family is in Ireland and London, so I’ve been living on their time zone. We’ll have drinks together, and then I’m drunk by, like, 3 p.m. L.A. time. [laughs] I’ve been cooking too. I’m such a worrier and cooking is the only time that I don't think about anything. I listened to a podcast about the holy trinity of New Orleans cuisine, so everything I’m making is with onions, peppers, and celery.
KA: Sounds delicious. It’s funny that we’ve never officially met in person, even though we both did the Louis Vuitton campaign shoot last year. I think the first time I saw you was at the show in Paris. I admired you from afar because I was too awkward to say something. [laughs]
RN: I was probably surrounded by models, feeling short.
KA: Ha! You were wearing this great pink jacket [below]. You’ve always embodied the idea that it’s the person who makes the dress. Your choices are individual, feminine, and powerful. Hence your Joan of Arc look.
RN: Nicolas [Ghesquière] is the bomb. The Joan of Arc dress he created for the Golden Globes is my favorite. It actually made me cry when I put it on. Fashion can be very emotional, especially when it’s something that’s made just for you.
KA: I loved it. You looked like a queen!
RN: The truth is, I’m desperately shy. I know it doesn’t sound like it because I’m Irish and I talk a lot, but stepping out of the car in that dress, it was the first time in my life that I thought, “I can do this.” That wasn’t psychological — that was fashion. Have you felt that way?
KA: Yes, certainly with Nicholas' clothing. Sometimes it feels like the whole reason to go out is just to wear his designs. It does make you feel powerful. in the last campaign that we did, he was altering my look and I had this out of body experience like, “Oh my gosh, he's a genius and he's standing right in front of me fixing my scarf.” It's kind of a surreal.
RN: I know. Clothes can really change your mindset. For me, sometimes it’s as simple as wearing a gown with a bodice that feels like a girdle. It makes me stand up straight, but it also makes me feel able.
KA: What’s also so wonderful about our jobs is the collaboration with directors and designers. One of my favorite looks was an incredible Calvin Klein design by Raf Simons [above]. Raf had watched my film Wind River, and we connected over it, and then he made this black sequined dress for the première of Yellowstone. He even sent flowers to my hotel when I was getting ready, which was so kind.
RN: I love when someone admires your work and you admire theirs, and you meet up. That’s how you make art.
KA: What’s your process like for the red carpet?
RN: I have a distinct sense of style, but a lot of times I have no idea what to wear. Luckily, I have [stylist] Karla Welch, who is the best. She can just look at me and say, “Oh, you should wear this.” And it somehow always works.
KA: I haven’t really learned the art of dressing myself for events. But I work with [stylist] Danielle Goldberg, and she has become a sense of calm for me in those moments.
RN: You’re doing great. My best friend just sent me a poem for women in the arts. It’s about staying in there and really standing your ground because it’s not easy to be in the public eye. I’m going to send it to you.
KA: I’d love that. As a kid, did you like to play dress-up?
RN: My mom dressed me until I was 12. I was such a tomboy. I only cared what I wore when I was performing in my granny's living room. But at some point, I thought, "Ok, I have to up my game here.” [laughs] Now, I usually pick things because I like the colors or what they do together. I can appreciate the art.
KA: Are you a big shopper? Lately, I’ve been into Paloma Wool, this Spanish brand that I have way too much of. I buy their shirts, sweaters, dresses, pants, everything.
RN: I’ve bought only four things so far this year! Mostly because I was doing a play, so I didn’t have time to shop. I’ve realized that I function very well when I don’t have loads of choices. I typically move around with three suitcases max.
KA: There's something so comforting about knowing that all of your belongings are in just a couple of suitcases. What’s the best piece of fashion advice you’ve been given?
RN: Choose a good stylist. And fake it till you make it. I’m serious! It’s difficult to wear these gowns and not fall over. Just stand up straight and get to the end of that red carpet. Oh, and text me if you need anything!