Vis­i­ble change in her pro­file

Whether she’s in clas­sic fash­ion or tomboy at­tire, soon there will be no mis­tak­ing ‘Fan­tas­tic Four’ star Kate Mara

Los Angeles Times - - RED CARPET - BY BOOTH MOORE FASH­ION CRITIC booth.moore@la­times.com

De­spite ap­pear­ing in “House of Cards,” “127 Hours,” “Broke­back Moun­tain” and dozens of other screen roles over the last 15 years, Kate Mara has al­ways been an actress you don’t quite rec­og­nize. ¶ But with star billing as the In­vis­i­ble Woman in the su­per­hero film “Fan­tas­tic Four” (Aug. 7), she’s poised to be­come more vis­i­ble than ever. ¶ Be­fore that, Mara, 32, will re­ceive this year’s Women in Film Max Mara Face of the Fu­ture Award at the Crys­tal + Lucy Awards in Los An­ge­les on Tues­day. Women in Film has been hon­or­ing women in the in­dus­try since 1977, with Ital­ian fash­ion brand Max Mara as a part­ner for 13 years. ¶ Dress­ing the part is Mara’s job. On the red car­pet, she and stylist Johnny Wu­jek grav­i­tate to­ward clas­sic pieces, but in real life, she calls her style tomboy­ish. She’s as com­fort­able in Zara as Chanel. ¶ Over the years, she has at­tended events with Valentino and Miu Miu, and styled store win­dows for H&M. In Fe­bru­ary, she trav­eled to Mi­lan, Italy, for the Max Mara fall 2015 fash­ion show and a photo shoot for the brand’s mag­a­zine. ¶ I caught up with her on the phone from Belfast, North­ern Ire­land — where she is shoot­ing the sci-fi thriller “Mor­gan” — to talk about mat­ters of style.

Doyou have a first fash­ion mem­ory or some­thing youwere re­ally into wear­ing as a child?

Iwas very shy in mid­dle school through high school. I dressed to dis­ap­pear. That’s also a rea­son why act­ing was so ex­cit­ing. Iwas more com­fort­able putting on a cos­tume and pre­tend­ing Iwas some­one else than show­ing who I ac­tu­ally was. So I flew un­der the radar and wasn’t into wear­ing any­thing too loud. I had very long hair, and I didn’t even want that to be showy, so I would wear it in a pony­tail ev­ery day. That­was a uni­form to me, to not wear my hair down. But ob­vi­ously, that changed. Once I grad­u­ated high school and re­al­ized you have to be more com­fort­able in your own skin to be an ac­tor and to be vul­ner­a­ble and put your­self out there and showthat you can look like dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters. I re­al­ized that fash­ion is an in­cred­i­ble tool. And now I love it.

I know you went to the fall 2015MaxMara run­way show. What do you like about the la­bel?

It’s such a clas­sic, fem­i­nine brand… but they are also do­ing a good job of evolv­ing. The show was su­per. I know it was a throw­back and Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe-in­spired, but it also felt very cur­rent and young. Iwas so in love with the colors, which were a lot of pas­tels, but also this eggshell gray that I wore to the show. Andthe mix of su­per-fem­i­nine pen­cil skirts with flat ox­fords and back­packs was the mas­cu­line-fem­i­nine thing, which I’m su­per at­tracted to.

How­would you de­scribe your per­sonal style?

It de­pends on where I amin the­world. I live in L.A., so typ­i­cally it is re­ally hot, and I will just put on a sun­dress and some sneak­ers be­cause that’s the most com­fort­able thing towear. That said, I tend to be a lit­tle bit of a tomboy, so I do that thing where I go back and forth be­tween dress­ing fem­i­nine with a lit­tle bit of a male edge. But right now, in Belfast, I’m lit­er­ally wear­ing all black ev­ery day towork. It’s that sweat­pants look that isn’t ac­tu­ally sweat­pants. And a hoodie. And I’m fully com­fort­able own­ing that.

Have you and your sis­ter [actress Rooney Mara] ever bought the same thing?

A few times. I for­get we don’t live in the same house, and my ini­tial re­ac­tion is the older sis­ter thing of, “Did you take that from my closet?” Butwe do like sim­i­lar things.

What do you think about peo­ple dis­sect­ing your style on­line?

I don’t go seek­ing it out but if you’re on Twit­ter, it’s hard to avoid. I’ve been do­ing this long enough I don’t let it af­fect me that much. But of course, I’m hu­man. If peo­ple are lov­ing some­thing you are wear­ing, you are go­ing to feel good about it. An­dif they hate it, it’s go­ing tomake you feel, uh-oh.

You’ve been work­ing with stylist Johnny Wu­jek for10 years. What do you two con­sider when dress­ing for a red car­pet event?

It de­pends. Usu­ally he’ll say, “What are you in the mood for?” If I’m feel­ing par­tic­u­larly girlie, he will say, “Let’s go and see what Valentino has or let’s see what Dior has,” since those are more fem­i­nine looks. If I’m feel­ing more edgy, maybe it’s Prada. Or some­times we think about a theme we want to do for a press tour to make it more fun. And he al­ways knows white is my fa­vorite color towear.

How were the In­vis­i­ble Woman cos­tumes? Fromthe promo shots, it looks like a lot of leather.

You’ve prob­a­bly seen our con­tain­ment suits. They’re not leather. I don’t knowwhat it’s called, but it’s very stretchy and thicker than span­dex. The only an­noy­ing thing was that to go to the re­stroom, you needed help, be­cause therewere three zip­pers just tomake it look like therewere none. But itwas ac­tu­ally a very com­fort­able suit and you didn’t have towear any sort of Spanx un­der­neath.

You’ve done work for the Hu­mane So­ci­ety and Oceana. How­did you be­come in­volved in those causes?

It all started with the 2013 doc­u­men­tary “Black­fish” [about killer whales in cap­tiv­ity]. I was shoot­ing amovie and [“Black­fish”] was on CNN and Iwatched it and­was so­moved that I was hunt­ing down­the direc­tor’s email im­me­di­ately.

I thought about what I could do to help. So I reached out to a T-shirt designer friend of mine named Dana Veraldi, who has a line called Deer Dana based in New York. She draws th­ese awe­some car­i­ca­tures of peo­ple, an­i­mals and things like that. I thought maybe she’d be in­ter­ested in designing one of Tilly, the whale from “Black­fish” and giv­ing the money to some sort of non­profit. That’s where it started. She de­signed the “Free Tilly” shirt, and Iwas con­nected to Oceana through Ted Dan­son, who is a friend and does a lot of work with that or­ga­ni­za­tion. Since then, I’ve be­come friends with Gabriela Cow­perth­waite, the film’s direc­tor, and she in­tro­duced me to the Hu­mane So­ci­ety. But it all started with “Black­fish.”

Max Mara

“I GO BACK and forth be­tween dress­ing fem­i­nine with a lit­tle bit of amale edge,” Kate Mara says.

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