Jurnee Smollett enjoyed many stylish moments as Leti Lewis on HBO Lovecraft Country, but for her first Emmy nomination, only haute couture would do, explains her stylist, Alexandra Mandelkorn.
âWe started talking as soon as she was nominated – not only Jurnee and myself, but also with other members of her team,â Mandelkorn said. âIt’s all a bit of a strategy, and we wanted to get a big picture of where we wanted to go for her fashion career and who she is in the fashion world right now. With all of that in mind, it absolutely had to be haute couture.
Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, Smollett wears Dior Haute Couture, a strapless dress from Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Fall 2020 collection, which the designer presented as a short in July 2020, with each dress made in miniature. .
âWhat’s really cool about this collection from Dior is that it never had its time on a catwalk or on a red carpet because it stepped out at the height of the pandemic,â says Mandelkorn. âBecause the whole collection was done in miniature, only a few of the dresses were made on a human scale, which makes it all the more special as this design can also have its red carpet moment. “
Mandelkorn, who also dresses Lovecraft Country Emmy designer Misha Green signed on to work with Smollett ahead of the HBO show’s August 2020 premiere, and the stylist says they both enjoyed the style evolution they’ve seen over the course of of the last 12 months.
âPreviously, Jurnee stuck to a lot of feminine and typical clothes, but we had a lot of fun exploring different aspects of her personality,â notes Mandelkorn. âWe did a lot more costumes, but we kept it sexy and edgy, and there was also that element of Angelina Jolie from the 1990s, a bit of a Grave robber influence and ass-eating women on screen. Jurnee does this both on and off screen, so we wanted to portray him more in his style. “
Sunday’s Dior Haute Couture dress represents another layer of that equation. âIt’s softer than some of the looks we’ve done for Jurnee before,â Mandelkorn said of the design. âI like to offer a range of clients; it can get a bit unique if they are always in the same type of look. This dress is really gorgeous, amazing silk gauze in a really cool texture that almost looks like chiffon. It gives a bit of a princess vibe, but there’s also this bangs that add a bit of edge and texture. I also love that it highlights both Jurnee’s tiny waist, her shoulders and collarbones, while the color really stands out against her skin tone. It compliments her in every way.
The dress is accessorized with jewels from the Divas’ Dream collection by Bulgari and platform heels by Christian Louboutin. âWe needed a really high red carpet platform for this dress, and there’s no one better than Christian,â Mandelkorn says.
To make up for the fashion, makeup artist Vincent Oquendo created a beauty look that includes a dark lip and eye wash in a champagne hue. âBecause the fashion is soft and fit for a princess, we wanted to bring a little edge and sensuality with a darker lip,â Mandelkorn adds. âVincent is amazing how beauty plays with fashion and keeping everything very current. The overall look has hints of old-fashioned Hollywood glamor, but it still feels very current.
Mandelkorn says there’s another reason the Sunday look resonates with both the client and the stylist: Not only is it Smollett’s first time wearing Dior Haute Couture on a red carpet, it’s also the first time she has worked with the brand’s haute couture pieces. âDior has always been kind of a visionary brand for Jurnee, to wear for something really special, and it doesn’t get more special than your first Emmy nomination,â Mandelkorn said. “I love that we share this moment together.”