If you're uncertain about just where you know her from, one thing’s for sure—Brit Marling is not just a pretty face. In fact, journalists like to feature her in pieces with titles like How to Succeed in Hollywood Despite Being Beautiful and The Reluctant Vamp. Though her looks—Rapunzel-like cascading blonde hair combined with striking dark eyebrows which The New York Times says “evokes a Manhattan-era Meryl Streep crossed with a California surfer girl,” are actually toward the bottom of her CV (after co-writing and starring in festival darlings Sound of My Voice, Another Earth and The East, playing Richard Gere’s daughter in Arbitrage, sharing the 2012 Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue cover with Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, graduating as the valedictorian of Georgetown and turning down a full-time offer from Goldman Sachs to be an artist), we’d like to take a moment to celebrate Marling’s smart style on the red carpet.
Favoring sleek, minimal ensembles in a Rooney Mara-approved palette of black and white, some of Marling’s best looks are as intelligent and somewhat controversial as her films. The multi-talented star loves working much edgier versions of the kinds of power suits she may have worn if she’d gone the investment banker route. The Stella McCartney jumpsuit she wore to the SXSW screening of The East featuring a crisscross cut-out on the front and a flawless fit. There was a certain luxeness to the all-white sweater and trousers she wore to a pre-Academy Awards event last year, with perfect proportions in a style Tilda Swinton might appreciate. She turned heads in a Balenciaga suit at the L.A. premiere of The East, amping up the drama with a red lip.
Even her less masculine outfits keep up the style power play—while her fair looks could easily translate as soft and feminine in frothy dresses and florals, there’s something magical about the effortless “Oh, this old thing?” way she wears a simple, bold piece that might not work as well on a more va-va-voom star. At a screening of her film in Brooklyn, she went graphic in a L’Wren Scott dress, working the same asymmetrical trick at the premiere of The Company You Keep in a two-tone Viktor & Rolf dress. No stranger to the fashion world, Marling attended a Miu Miu show last year wearing a frock by the designer that seems made for her—striking and clean, and toeing the line of femininity. Though Marling often keeps her styling simple with minimal makeup, unfussed hair, bare nails and little jewelry, when she does choose accessories, we love her clever picks like the Valentino heels she wore with the L’Wren Scott and her black envelope clutch playing against her white suit above.
Taking style inspiration from Sharon Stone’s black Gap turtleneck moment at the 1996 Academy Awards, and emulating Samantha Morton’s under-the-radar celeb status, no matter what she wears, Marling exudes a carefree radiance that makes her one we want to watch. Her shape-shifting dress in an abstract print and black sandals at the Ruby Sparks premiere were the epitome of easy-chic. Even her much more girly than usual lemon and lace Valentino dress at the Independent Spirit Awards was given an edge with her footwear choice. And the raspberry Preen dress she wore to the Another Earth premiere made us eager to see her in more colorful choices in the future.