Think of Dakota Fanning and countless roles from the past 17 years spring to mind. From her breakout turn in I am Sam to edgier indies like The Runaways and bang-out blockbusters including The Twilight Saga, 23-year-old Fanning is a bonafide Hollywood veteran—but from her perspective she’s only just getting started. “There are so many things I still want to try,” she laughs in between shots on today’s Jimmy Choo set. “I’m about to do a television series for the first time, and I couldn’t be more excited. I watch so much television and am so inspired by the subject matter that we’re tackling. It’s such an incredible opportunity to develop a character over a long period of time. As for theatre, that is something I’ve yet to do, but absolutely want to. I know that will be a challenge unlike any other, so I’m also very excited for that.”
“There are so many things I still want to try,”
It’s that passion to keep pushing her boundaries that makes Dakota one of the most captivating actresses of her generation. Never shy of physically demanding roles—whether that’s being stalked across snowy prairies by sadistic preacher (Guy Pearce) in last year’s Brimstone or evading blood sucking aliens as Tom Cruise’s daughter in War of the Worlds—you might be forgiven in thinking that she’s an endurance junkie. ‘I don’t think the physical challenge has really ever made a difference when I have been in the process of choosing a role—I would definitely not mind playing a glamorous character! But there is a sort of adrenaline high that comes with pushing yourself physically for a role that I definitely do enjoy,” she admits.
Of course, the other image that Dakota conjures is more rooted in aesthetic—with bold, experimental style choices setting her apart from other identikit starlets. Whether she’s wearing a 50s style claret coloured midi dress with a waspish waist or ramping it up with an floorsweeping gown enmeshed with crystals, there’s a powerful attitude to her eclectic taste., “I don’t know if I can describe it actually. It really changes all the time. I think I usually have a vibe in mind when I’m getting ready and try to execute that as best I can. I am more traditional than not, but I also like to surprise people and throw something less traditional into my wardrobe—just to keep people on their toes.”
“My earliest fashion memory was clomping around in my aunt’s heels,”
While Dakota might not be able to put her finger on her look, today’s set couldn’t feel more her. With hydrangeas petals floating in the balmy West Coast air and ivy crawling up a lakeside summer house, her feminine, fairytale looks feel perfectly at home. Shoes, Dakota maintains were always in the blood, “My earliest fashion memory was clomping around in my aunt’s heels, while visiting her in Miami. I was probably around two years old and insisted on wearing them with absolutely everything the entire trip!” She’s also no stranger to the world of Jimmy Choo. “To me the brand is absolutely iconic,” she explains, “I’ve worn Jimmy Choos too many times to count, because they can make a statement, but also seamlessly fit in with many different looks.
From the selection of SS17 styles which she models here on set, it’s also the stacked shoes that made the biggest impression. “I love heels of all kinds,” she says, “especially chunky platforms. My favourite style from the shoot was a beautiful strappy heel in metallic purple and green—the straps were like the vines of the flower that unfolded across the toes.” As for how she keeps her shoes—and wardrobe—under control, Dakota insists that she is, “More on the meticulous side. But I must confess it could be more organized in there at the moment.”
Understandably Dakota’s red carpet style has evolved as she’s graduated from child star to leading lady. “The first red carpet I can remember was at the I am Sam premiere,” she recalls, “It was my first film, so my first premiere and I wore a satin, champagne coloured dress with capped sleeves. I had a purse that was black patent and shaped like a present, which I thought was very chic—I’m sure I still have it somewhere!” In stark contrast is her favourite recent look: a dazzling Miu Miu dress made from opalescent pailettes worn to attend the Venice Film Festival. “It looked like a mermaid’s tail, and it was truly my dream dress,” she smiles, “I felt absolutely magical in it and taking it off was really hard…—That dress, combined with such a glamorous location, was a very special moment for me.” As for blushing over style growing pains, Dakota says, “I don’t really look back and cringe too much—it’s definitely more of a warm feeling of nostalgia.”
“It looked like a mermaid’s tail, and it was truly my dream dress,”
When it comes to ambition and achievement, Dakota says it’s about staying true to herself. “I have been so lucky to have worked with so many talented and deeply good people thus far in my career—I definitely have a supportive network, for sure. I try to live my life in a way that I can be proud of and that my family and friends can be proud of. I think the basics are the same for everyone: be a good person, create meaningful relationships, enjoy life and don’t rush through time.” Wise words to live by indeed.