Friday 15 November 2019

Style's no act for Saoirse

Actress Saoirse Ronan tells Joanna Kiernan what's cool and why she avoids wearing high heels off the red carpet

Saoirse Ronan (centre) with Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind the Rodarte label.
Saoirse Ronan (centre) with Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind the Rodarte label.

Joanna Kiernan

'I love that," Saoirse Ronan giggles, "people do it abroad as well, but especially in Ireland if you say that you like something and especially if it's a bargain!"

She is amused by my immediate reflex to tell her where I got my dress, following a gracious compliment.

View a style gallery of Saoirse

"I am into style," she tells me, "I'm not saying that every single day I get done up or anything. I'm mainly a jeans and T-shirts girl, but my style changes all the time."

Saoirse's effortless sense of style is something that the world has watched grow alongside her now hugely successful acting career.

"I've found that the further I go into the fame world, and I don't mean me being famous, but just that whole idea, just being around those kind of people," Saoirse explains, "you know show-business is an industry and the further I go into it, the more I get to know about fashion. I have been introduced to it and I'm really interested in it."

At the tender age of 17, Saoirse is no stranger to A-list red carpet style. In 2007 she starred in the film Atonement, which gained her nominations for a Bafta, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her one of the youngest actresses ever to receive this kind of recognition.

"I didn't really respect fashion when I was younger," Saoirse tells me with the maturity of a woman twice her age, "I mean why would I? I suppose, I'm a kid. For ages I thought 'What is fashion? It's just some phoney industry!' but it's not at all, it's an art form and some of the things that designers do, like Alexander McQueen, for example, before he passed away, were amazing."

Saoirse recently attended the 2011 Costume Institute Gala at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to honour the work of the late fashion designer McQueen. She wore a red Rodarte gown.

"I have a stylist, but I'll talk to her about my style because I'm never going to wear anything that I'm not comfortable in. So for the Met ball, for example, they brought over a few dresses for me to try on and the red dress was the one that I had already picked out on, so it was my choice to wear that and it was what I was comfortable in. It's basically like going into a shop that you like. Everything's there for you and then ultimately it's up to you to pick out what you want to wear."

Saoirse exudes an infectious enthusiasm. It's the sort of sincere quality which shows that, despite her meteoric career success, Saoirse still appreciates everything that comes her way, including the designer clothing she is often sent.

"I've been sent a few things and I've got to say it's really exciting. Miu Miu have actually been really generous to me, I have worn a good few of her things. These are Miu Miu," says Saoirse pointing to her studded Oxford shoes. "I love them," she gushes, "they're very quirky and young."

"Girls like Sienna Miller and Kate Moss and Alexa Chung and people like that, Pixie Geldof. I really like that cool, edgy London look. Get the London look," Saoirse sing-songs, "their clothes are really cool, but very pretty at the same time, and so I like that kind of stuff."

Saoirse is conscious of maintaining her youthful sense of style.

"I don't want to act older than I am because I'm not comfortable doing that," she adds, "I don't wear heels when I go out. I wear heels when I'm on the red carpet because they look great, but only now I'm starting to become comfortable, at the age that I'm at, wearing that kind of stuff. I've never wanted to dress older than I actually am. You've got time for that."

Saoirse was in Dublin to open the Coca-Cola Cinemagic International Film & Television Festival for Young People, which ended this week.

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