When Elle Fanning was just a teenager, Miuccia Prada opened the doors to the world of Miu Miu to her. “I was 14 when I did the first campaign with them,” says Fanning. “I met Mrs. Prada for the first time, got to go to Paris for the fashion show, and was really introduced to the fashion industry.” She’s spent the last seven years growing up with the brand.
It’s the kind of close partnership that’s been a natural evolution for the actress. “Miu Miu is a brand that immediately spoke to me,” explains Fanning. She has come to be representative of the brand, which in turn reflects her personality, she says. “There’s a beautiful femininity and girly quality to it, but there’s this twist and edge there that mixes that retro and modern feel,” says Fanning.
When it came time to choose a face for its latest fragrance, Miu Miu Twist Eau de Parfum, Fanning was the top choice. “This fragrance is completely new,” says Fanning, who was especially struck by the idea for the commercial she stars in. “It’s a great concept of an independent woman doing her job, being silly, and having fun,” she says. “We’re getting away from wearing perfume to attract a man. We wear perfume to make ourselves happy and to bring our personalities out,” explains Fanning. “That’s what this fragrance represents.”
Fanning finds parallels between herself and the fragrance. “People see me as a very light and outgoing kind of extroverted person, and that’s very much in the fragrance being very fresh and open,” she says. “But then there’s this other part of me that can be very unexpected,” she continues. “I have a dark sense of humour and a quirkiness to me that I love surprising people with,” she says.
Scent, for Fanning, has the power to evoke moments past. “Growing up working with a lot of actresses, I remember how they smelled,” says Fanning. “Nicole Kidman, I remember. Angelina Jolie has a certain smell. It’s so specific to each person,” she says. When choosing her own scent, Fanning looks for something that transitions easily from day to night. “I always want something that smells fresh,” she says. “I’m more of a floral person, so it needs to have a crispness to it, but also a deep kind of floral scent.”
Beyond her acting career, Fanning has become famous for her original sartorial style. “I’m someone who always loved experimenting with fashion from a young age,” she says. “In school, people made fun of me for some of my choices when everyone else was in skinny jeans and white t-shirts. I tried it out, and I just didn’t feel like myself,” she says. Eventually, Fanning found her footing, and took a similar approach to beauty.
“I work with amazing makeup and hair artists, and we get to collaborate,” she says. “We get to say, ‘Hey, maybe we just throw a bunch of sparkles on your face, or maybe let’s do this colour to contrast this.’ It all adds up to the final look,” she says. She has a signature makeup style, too. “I want to look more dewy,” she says. “I’m okay looking shiny.” Then there’s a fleshy pink lip, mascara, cat eye, and lots of blush. “I add in freckles, too, funnily enough,” she admits. “Apparently Kate Moss said they’re like the dusting of youth.”
While her beauty look is precise, Fanning calls her sense of style “eclectic” and “a bit all over the map.” “There is a side to me that loves ballgowns and that classic 1950s glamour,” she says. “I think it’s really fun when you look at a photograph and you can create a look that’s timeless, but you can’t really pinpoint what era it’s from,” she says. It’s something she always keeps in mind when creating red-carpet looks. Her off-duty style, however, is quirkier and more playful. “It’s a lot of fun Miu Miu looks and a lot of thrift-store looks.”
No matter what occasion she’s dressing for, Fanning has long had a singular goal in mind. “I’ve always wanted to stand out,” she says. It’s just as well for the actress—stars like Fanning aren’t destined to blend in.