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Zendaya embraces method dressing on the red carpet

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Zendaya embraces method dressing on the red carpetBrendon Thorne - Getty Images

A glitzy movie premiere is, of course, an opportunity for stars to promote their work, but the red carpet also provides a great outlet for celebrities to be creative with their fashion choices. Having spent so many weeks and months researching and playing a particular role, many stars often choose to pay sartorial tribute to the film once the premiere rolls around, incorporating its themes or nodding to a character with their look.

This can be difficult to master; literal dressing – or 'method dressing', as it has been dubbed – is not fancy dress, but it is a great way to pay tribute to a project and to have fun with fashion.

"Sometimes you want to celebrate a character, a feeling, or more general aesthetic from the film," celebrity stylist Leith Clark, who works with Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike and Lucy Boyton, tells us. "But it comes more from a place of celebration and inspiration, rather than emulation."

Scroll through to see 29 times actors found inspiration from the films they were promoting on the red carpet – and got literal dressing just right.

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Carey Mulligan

In Maestro, Carey Mulligan plays Felicia Bernstein, wife of the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein. While promoting the film during awards season, the actress wore a host of beautiful 1950s vintage replicas – from Dior couture at the BAFTAs to custom Schiaparelli at the Golden Globes – inspired by the decade in which much of the film is set. The grand finale saw her gracing the Oscars red carpet in this beautiful fishtail Balenciaga gown; a recreation of an original design from 1951 – the year that Felicia and Leonard Bernstein got married.

carey mulligan oscars
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Zendaya

Zendaya's Dune: Part Two press tour was a masterclass in celebrity styling. The singer-actress worked with the image consultant and stylist Law Roach on a series of impressive sci-fi-inspired looks in tribute to the film franchise – but nothing was more memorable than the archival Mugler bodysuit she wore for the London premiere.

zendaya promoting dune
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Emma Stone

While promoting her award-winning role in Poor Things, Emma Stone stepped out in a series of playful, exaggerated styles, in a nod to the vibrant colours and bold, big sleeves worn by her character in the film. Nowhere was this done more effectively than at the BAFTAs, where she picked up the award for Best Actress wearing this orange, multi-textured Louis Vuitton dress.

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Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney

Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney both wore spiderweb-inspired gowns for the Los Angeles premiere of Madame Web. Styled by Kate Young, Johnson wore a custom Gucci take on the slip dress, which featured a shimmering mesh and skin-coloured bodysuit underneath. Sweeney, who was styled by Molly Dickson, opted for a corseted Oscar de la Renta gown with a glittering webbed pattern and fringed skirt.

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Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams channelled her character of Catherine Dior, throughout the press tour for her Apple TV+ series The New Look. The show tells the story of how design legend Christian Dior – as well as his contemporaries Coco Chanel, Pierre Balmain and Cristóbal Balenciaga – navigated the realities of World War II and launched modern fashion. Williams wore a leather all-black ensemble for the series premiere – by Dior, naturally – in an elegant 1940s silhouette.

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Timothée Chalamet for 'Wonka'

Timothée Chalamet wore a custom Prada jumpsuit to the world premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake Wonka, in which he plays the titular role. The look was made in a striking lilac hue in a nod to the purple shade so commonly associated with Wonka chocolate bars.

timothee chalamet
Warner Brothers - Getty Images

Rachel Zegler for 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes'

Rachel Zegler wore this dramatic Alexander McQueen gown to the Berlin premiere of the newest film in The Hunger Games franchise: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. The look was a nod to the star character of the original film series, Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence), commonly known as "the girl on fire".

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Halle Bailey for 'The Little Mermaid'

The press tour for The Little Mermaid was filled with plenty of ocean-inspired ensembles, and the movie's star, Halle Bailey, kicked it off in style. For the first premiere, the actress wore a shimmering blue custom gown by Valdrin Sahiti which nodded perfectly to the theme of the movie.

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Margot Robbie for 'Barbie'

Probably the most famous example of a celebrity paying sartorial tribute to their on-screen counterpart has to be Margot Robbie throughout the Barbie press tour. The actress wore a series of looks inspired by the doll's original wardrobe – expertly curated by her stylist Andrew Mukamal – featuring plenty of neon pink and playful accessories.

SEE MARGOT'S FULL BARBIE TOUR WARDROBE

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Anya Taylor-Joy for 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie'

Anya Taylor-Joy entered the video-game world with her role as Princess Peach, in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. She took inspiration from the cartoon character by wearing a pink leather Dior jumpsuit, complete with matching gloves and boots, to the Los Angeles premiere.

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Jenna Ortega for 'Wednesday'

Wednesday is one of the biggest hits Netflix has ever had, and the cast had all kinds of fun during the press tour, taking inspiration from their characters on the red carpet. This includes the lead Jenna Ortega, who injected a gothic style into each and every look – particularly for the world premiere, where she wore this black lace Versace gown, complete with a veil.

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Zoey Deutch for 'Something From Tiffany's'

For her movie Something From Tiffany's, Zoey Deutch injected Tiffany blue into her wardrobe on multiple occasions (complemented with sparkling Tiffany & Co diamonds, naturally). For the Los Angeles premiere of the film, she wore this off-the-shoulder gown by Carolina Herrera.

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Elizabeth Debicki for 'The Crown'

The Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki played Princess Diana in the final two seasons of The Crown, and was inspired by one of the royal's most iconic looks for the season five premiere. She wore a black Dior gown with a trailing silk scarf, which was very similar in style to the blue Catherine Walker dress that the princess wore to the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.

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Timothee Chalamet for 'Bones and All'

Timothee Chalamet made headlines with his statement-making look for the Bones and All premiere, which took place during the Venice Film Festival. The actor wore a custom-made, blood-red Haider Ackermann outfit that nodded to the grisly movie, in which he plays a cannibal (and spends much screen time with blood around his neck).

timothee chalamet
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Zoë Kravitz for 'The Batman'

Inspired by her role as Catwoman in The Batman, Kravitz had plenty of fun with her tour wardrobe. Our favourite look was this custom Oscar de la Renta gown which she wore for the New York premiere, featuring a laced-up bodice, complete with cat silhouettes.

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Carrie-Anne Moss for 'The Matrix: Resurrections'

Carrie-Anne Moss worked with Oscar de la Renta on this Matrix-inspired dress, which she wore to the US premiere of The Matrix: Resurrections. The caped dress featured delicate embroidery, which had been crafted from a sequence of threadwork with green and silver sequins, echoing the series' digital rain, a spokesperson for the house explained.

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Zendaya for 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'

On more than one occasion during the Spider-Man: No Way Home tour, Zendaya nodded to the movie – nowhere more so though than for the Los Angeles premiere, where she wore a spiderweb-inspired gown by Valentino, complete with a superhero mask.

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Beyoncé for 'The Lion King'

When Beyoncé arrived at the London premiere of The Lion King (in which she plays the part of Nala), she pulled out all the stops in a yellow, cut-out, pleated gown by designer Cong Tri, which expertly nodded to the theme and colours associated with the iconic film.

<span class="photo-credit">David M. Benett - Getty Images</span>
David M. Benett - Getty Images

Keira Knightley for 'The Nutcracker'

Keira Knightley loves to have fun with fashion – and her appearance at the premiere of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms was proof of that. The actress turned up to the event in a beautiful white gown, which her stylist, Leith Clark, described as "candy floss and cake-like" – the perfect dress to celebrate the fairy-tale film.

Disney's 'The Nutcracker' European Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
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Keira Knightley for 'Colette'

Just a few months earlier, the actress took a completely different approach to red-carpet dressing when she was promoting Colette, in which she played an early 20th-century writer whose work was credited to her husband. For this, it was all tailoring and dark colours in a nod to her on-screen character.

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Margot Robbie for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

When Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Margot Robbie paid tribute to the real-life character she plays in the movie, the late actress Sharon Tate. Taking inspiration from 1960s Hollywood, Robbie wore a lace Chanel gown to the film's photo call and wore her hair partly plaited - a look that directly emulated a style that Tate had once been seen wearing.

<span class="photo-credit">George Pimentel - Getty Images</span>
George Pimentel - Getty Images

Amber Heard for 'Aquaman'

For Aquaman, Amber Heard transformed herself into an ocean queen – and the actress continued to be inspired by the sea far beyond the movie. For the London premiere, Heard wore a striking green brocade gown straight off the Valentino couture catwalk, complete with a matching swimming cap. The unexpected accessory was a perfect move in complementing her character and was a great way to have fun with red-carpet style.

<span class="photo-credit">Jeff Spicer - Getty Images</span>
Jeff Spicer - Getty Images

Lupita Nyong'o for 'Us'

Anyone who has seen Jordan Peele's spooky thriller Us will instantly recognise many of the film's references in Lupita Nyong'o's red-carpet looks as she promoted the movie. From wearing striking red contacts to her subtle references to scissors and this incredibly spiky Balmain mini dress, the actress was inspired by her character at every turn.

<span class="photo-credit">Dia Dipasupil - Getty Images</span>
Dia Dipasupil - Getty Images

Angelina Jolie for 'Maleficent'

Angelina Jolie channelled her evil character's style for the world premiere of Maleficent in 2014. The actress mimicked the vengeful queen's look, but gave it a glamorous red-carpet twist, wearing a black leather gown with bracelets made of spikes.

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Lily James for 'Cinderella'

British actress Lily James embodied the Disney princess she played on screen for every single one of the film tour's premieres, opting for sparkle, embellishment and lots of Cinderella blue, not to mention, an actual pair of Jimmy Choo glass slippers.

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Cara Delevingne for 'Valerian'

As a former model, Cara Delevingne knows a thing or two about how to have fun with fashion – and she did just this when she stepped out on the red carpet for the premiere of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Taking inspiration from the movie's outer-space theme, Delevingne wore a futuristic Iris van Herpen design and made a statement with her hair and make-up.

Premiere Of EuropaCorp And STX Entertainment's 'Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets' - Arrivals
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Gal Gadot for 'Wonder Woman'

Real-life Wonder Woman Gal Gadot channelled her superhero character as she promoted the highly anticipated movie in 2017, wearing a striking red sequinned Givenchy gown that matched the famous 'Wonder Woman' red.

Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures'
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Blake Lively for 'A Simple Favour'

Perhaps the biggest commitment to bringing a character to the red carpet comes from Blake Lively and her A Simple Favour tour, in which she mimicked the style of her on-screen persona and wore a trouser suit for every single appearance.

'A Simple Favour' UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Karwai Tang - Getty Images

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