There’s always an element of glamour when Jessica Chastain steps onto a red carpet. Whether it’s a shimmering gown with va-va-voom flair or Old Hollywood waves complemented by a bold red lip, the results are consistently flawless. And for Piaget’s international brand ambassador, you can be certain a jaw-dropping jewelry moment is part of the equation too. So how does the actress go about choosing such a look? Ahead of the Crimson Peak New York premiere, we spoke with Chastain to get the scoop.
Keep reading for our exclusive interview with Chastain, plus details on our favorite looks from her recent press tour.
Who What Wear: Do you have a certain strategy in mind when picking your red carpet look?
Jessica Chastain: No, I don’t think so. I love color; that’s one thing. I’m a very happy person, and I love a bright color. It just makes me feel good. Usually for me, fashion is an emotional choice. I was doing my very first Cannes [Film Festival], it was kind of my first introduction, and because it was Tree of Life, the first main event I had, I asked my stylist if we could find a dress that looked like sunshine, because that’s how I felt. So when I go toward fashion, I really think in terms of how I’m feeling and the emotion of what the dress is and what the designer was trying to say when they created the dress, about women, about where we are right now. I love all that. I don’t necessarily think in terms of well, I wore that designer last time, so I can’t wear them again. I just go with how I feel.
WHAT: Crimson Peak New York premiere
WEAR: Lanvin custom gown; Piaget jewelry.
WWW: Can you recall a favorite jewelry moment that you’ve had on the red carpet?
JC: Well, I really did love the green earrings from [The Martian] London premiere, so that would be one. That was the only time that I’ve ever had a situation where I had seen a picture of those earrings on Instagram, not even through Piaget, I had just seen them, and I said, What are these? I took a screenshot and sent it to my stylist Elizabeth [Stewart], and I said I really want to wear these earrings for something big; let’s find a dress. Usually you have the dress and you find the jewelry to accessorize, but this was one where the earrings were so gorgeous and such a moment that I went from that to then finding dress.
WHAT: The Martian London premiere
WHAT: Elie Saab Couture gown; Piaget earrings from the Limelight Rose Passion collection.
Bergdorf Goodman Windows inspired by Crimson Peak.
WWW: What’s your most prized jewelry possession?
JC: It’s probably a gift my grandmother gave me years ago. It’s strange, because it’s not a typical piece of jewelry. It’s an antique, crystal-encrusted lipstick and perfume holder. You pull the lipstick out and a little mirror pops out, but it’s so gorgeous. It’s covered in crystals and really, really special, and because my grandmother gave it to me, it makes it even more special.
WHAT: Bergdorf Goodman reveals windows inspired by Crimson Peak
WEAR: Erdem Kim Dress ($5580); Christian Louboutin heels.
Alessio Botticelli/GC Images
WWW: What jewelry trends are you particularly into right now?
JC: I like watches, and I like women wearing watches that almost look like men’s watches. I love that style. But these aren’t really trending ideas with jewelry. I love the glamour of Hollywood, and when you think of Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot, I love that sense of glamour and heightening something. So for me, I don’t really think what’s the coolest thing right now; I just think of the femininity of jewelry. I also like oppositions, like when I say I don’t want something to look too princessy, I want it to be a strong piece, but not look precious. So I like that with my jewelry.
WHAT: Arriving at Live With Kelly and Michael
WEAR: Roland Mouret dress from the Resort 16 collection.
WWW: Do you have any dos or don’ts when it comes to jewelry?
JC: Listen, whatever floats your boat—it’s different for each person. But I don’t like to look princessy with jewelry. Usually, I find that if I’m going to wear big pieces, I want an edge to them or I want the hair down. I wore these incredible Piaget earrings at the London premiere of The Martian and I had my hair down, and I wanted it to feel relaxed even though it was a very big piece of jewelry. I feel like jewelry is very wearable. I love jewelry and I love wearing it. I don’t want to make it precious at all, so that’s something I try to go with when I’m choosing my looks.
WHAT: Despierta América appearance
WEAR: Zuhair Murad dress from the Resort 16 collection; Paul Andrew Whitney Color-Block Suede Wedge Sandals ($995).
Ray Tamarra/GC Images
WWW: Who do you turn to for fashion inspiration?
JC: Women who I love for fashion inspiration is Cate Blanchett; I love Kate Moss. I love Hamish Bowles from Vogue—I just think he is fabulous. I like people who take risks, but they have an edge of cool, which I always love.
WHAT: Spotted around New York City
WEAR: Lela Rose dress from the S/S 16 collection; Paul Andrew heels.
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images
WWW: You got to wear some pretty incredible costumes for Crimson Peak: Do you have a favorite?
JC: I would say the red dress is probably my favorite costume I wear, and it’s what I wear when we’re first introduced to the character Lucille. [The camera] starts on Lucille’s back, and the lacing on the dress looks a spine. I thought it was so cool. I love that sort of gothic glamour, and that dress had it.
WHAT: Metropolitan Opera opening night of Otello
WEAR: Elie Saab jumpsuit from the Resort 16 collection; Piaget jewelry.
WWW: How important is the wardrobe in informing your characters?
JC: Costume is everything when shaping a character. What a person wears is every clue into who they are. It even could be a situation where someone is wearing clothes that are dirty or something that is kind of ripped a bit or very high heels or a very feminine vintage dress. Everything that you put on, you’re telling a story to the world of who you are or who you want to be perceived to be. And that’s why for me, developing my character I work very closely with the costume designer and the hair and makeup team, because the character may be presenting an idea to the world that is actually very different than who they are, but I need to be a part of that story.
WHAT: Piaget opening in Milan
WEAR: Franco Scognamiglio dress from the Resort 15 collection; Piaget necklace; Christian Louboutin pumps.
What’s your favorite Jessica Chastain red carpet moment? Tell us in the comments below!