This Week's Wow: The Psychology Behind Blake Lively's Many Age of Adaline Outfit Changes
In this weekly feature, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.
The Moment: There must be some mistake, I thought, or something wrong with my computer. Perhaps a backlog of e-mails that had been quarantined in a spam filter for months had suddenly burst the dam of technology to flood my in-box all at once.
“Blake Lively wears Jenny Packham,” said another one.
“Blake Lively wears Antonio Berardi,” said the next.
“Blake Lively wears Ralph & Russo,” (all pictured top) and then, “Blake Lively wears Balmain at Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and then, “Blake Lively in Valentino.”
Well, now, as anyone following the press tour for Lively’s new film, The Age of Adaline, knows, all of these e-mails were true, and right on time. As noted in a headline that appeared on InStyle.com on Wednesday, “Unbelievable: Blake Lively Slays 10 Outfits in One Day.” She had, somewhat bizarrely, in fact, changed clothes for every single appearance she made that day. She even changed clothes during them. Jewelry and hair, too. It was a Blake Lively fashion parade.
At Good Morning America on Tuesday, she arrived wearing a Marc Jacobs plaid wool jacket, tunic, and skirt, then changed into a wool dress with a leather bodice, also from the designer’s fall collection. On her way out of the studio, she wore a bright blue and yellow color-blocked coat-and-dress ensemble from Roksanda (pictured below, from L-R). And her hair had switched from a simple clip-back style to more of a pulled-back pony. Each look was matched to a different set of rings, bangles and baubles from Lorraine Schwartz, totaling $3 million in jewels.
Now wait, there’s more! The same morning, she had arrived and appeared in two more outfits on Live! with Kelly & Michael. And then she wore three more looks that night, wearing Zuhair Murad to arrive at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, then changing into a Berardi dress to tape the interview, then leaving in Balmain palazzo pants.
Why It’s a Wow: While you might reasonably wonder whether Lively brings luggage to her television interviews, and where exactly she’s changing her clothes, her extreme fashion tour is actually the ultimate example of a new approach to dressing when celebrities have a film to promote. Fashion is a powerful tool, and clever stars use the cultural fascination with red-carpet style to their advantage.
Lively, who does not have a stylist, by the way, approaches the occasion of a movie premiere, and all its attendant appearances, as an opportunity to tell a story. You might note the diversity of designers she wears, for instance, veering from a smartly embroidered ensemble from Marc Jacobs, which telegraphs a subtle message that she is a sophisticated consumer of style, to the flashier palazzo pants of Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, which suggests she also has her finger on the pulse of contemporary, Kardashian-approved labels of the moment.
This all serves to reinforce the notion that Lively is a fashion authority, which is a useful attribute as she expands her personal lifestyle brand, including the stewardship of her website, Preserve. It’s a smart business decision, really.
Similarly, many professional stylists approach press tours with a complete wardrobing concept that will help build a celebrity into a brand. They select a series of coordinating gowns, for example, that emphasize both their client’s personality and style, and sometimes also the spirit of the character they play. For examples, see the subtly wicked Louboutin shoes, with thorns on the heels, that Angelina Jolie wore during the Maleficent tour, or Lily James in a series of fairy-tale ball gowns for Cinderella.
This is a trend, I might note, that also applies to men. While we’ve all been marveling over just how fabulous Lively looks this week, have you noticed her co-star Michiel Huisman? Of course you have. This week, he wore a three-piece off-white Thom Sweeney suit to the New York premiere of the film, then a navy Jack Wills suit with a tropical print shirt to Chanel’s dinner for the Tribeca Film Festival, then an inky blue-gray Salvatore Ferragamo suit with suede Lucchese desert boots—and no socks—on Good Morning America (pictured below, from L-R). His style is a little off-beat and kind of weird, really, but it’s impossible to take your eyes off of him.
Learn More: Once you’ve browsed Blake Lively’s 10 best looks of today, take a gander at her 10 Best Ever in the May issue of InStyle, now on newsstands. And look back to our April issue to see more of Huisman looking sexy in clothes.