There’s no denying it — Naomie Harris knows how to choose the perfect red carpet dress (trust me, I’ve witnessed it first-hand). Her critically acclaimed role in the Oscar-winning film Moonlight in 2016 resulted in a Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Academy Award nomination for best-supporting actress, and a parade of impeccable red carpet looks from Raf Simons (his debut red carpet look as creative director of Calvin Klein), Giorgio Armani, Gucci, and others. (It’s worth noting that she was honored with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire from her Majesty the Queen that same year). But, Harris’s red carpet style is about more than good taste.
At the 2013 Oscars, Harris wore a stunning golden dress designed by then 20-year-old Ghanaian designer and winner of Suzy Cameron’s Red Carpet Green Dress Award, Michael Badger. The gown was an impressive feat of circular design made of certified organic crepe de chine, vintage glass beads, and chocolate candy wrappers. After our photo shoot in LA, Harris shared with us the inspiration behind her incredible style, and why she supports conscious fashion.
Naomie, thank you for being here with us today. We just did a beautiful photo shoot so I’d love to start by asking, how would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as colorful, playful, with a bit of sex appeal.
Is there anyone whose style you admire and why?
I really admire Zendaya's style. It's so her — it's reflective of her personality: super fun and playful.
How do you decide what to wear on the red carpet?
I am looking for what's gonna look great in a photo. And, what makes me feel beautiful, what makes me feel attractive, what makes me feel confident, strong, and is reflecting my personality.
In 2013, in collaboration with Suzy Cameron’s Red Carpet Green Dress organization, you attended the Oscars in a dress by designer Michael Badger made from certified organic silk crepe de chine, using recycled zippers, was hand-embroidered by the royal school of needlework with vintage glass beads and chocolate candy wrappers. And it was dyed with a dying process that used goldenrod and chamomile. The byproducts of which since they contained no chemical pollutants went straight into the compost heap. Super incredible. What inspired you to team up with him and them for that look?
What inspired me to get involved in 2013 in wearing this kind of consciously designed dress for the red carpet was because I wanted to make a statement which said that it's possible to make clothes consciously, and they can be just as beautiful as any other amazing dress that you wear on the red carpet. I wanted to show what's possible for everyone else.
Do you have or what advice would you give women who feel pressured to look or dress a certain way or maybe just a little shy in exploring their personal style but they wish to be more authentic or adventurous in their style choices?
For women who are struggling to find a kind of style voice, I want to be completely honest, I struggle as well. In my everyday life, I really struggle to find what suits me, that is reflective of my personality. What's so great about when you're on the red carpet and when you're doing a photo shoot is you get so much help. It takes a village to create this look. I don't think it's realistic to find it on your own. But I think if you are going to try — and I think everyone should try because you want to reflect your personality — then realize it's just clothing after all. It's nothing serious. If you mess up, no big deal. You wore one awful dress, you'll laugh about it and get over it. Just have fun with it.
Final question: What does healthy or conscious fashion mean to you?
Healthy or conscious fashion means clothes that are made in a way that doesn't harm our environment. We know that the fashion industry is hugely polluting to our environment. It's one of the most polluting industries, and that's incredibly sad. What's wonderful about sustainable fashion is it shows what's possible that you can make beautiful clothes in a way that isn't harmful to our environment.
Photographer: Guy Lowndes
Fashion Editor: Ryan Lobo
Make Up: Fiona Stiles
Hair: Larry Sims
Nails : Millie Machado using OPI
Creative Director: Laura Jones
Video Production: Douglas Emerson @ C49 Productions
Video Editor: Cal Laird
Sound Design: Chris Marino
Photo Assistant: Vince Perini
Fashion Assistant: Jane Steele