The annual BAFTAs provide an opportunity to showcase not only the best in film, but also the best in red-carpet fashion. A special night like this means you can always count on the stars and their stylists pulling out all the stops for beautiful casual and elegant dresses.
Sheila Atim – one of our February cover stars, who always knows how to make an entrance – was one of the best dressed of the night in shimmering silver Prada, matching opera gloves and sparkling Chopard jewellery.
Here, she takes us through her getting ready process, why Prada suits her so well, and why fashion is futile.
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“I’m wearing a beautiful silver – mercury colored – Prada dress with Chopard jewels. I’m prepping my skin with Dr. Barbara Sturm, who’s amazing at prepping and brightening my skin.”
How involved were you in the styling process?
“I’m very involved. My stylist is very forensic, so her eye for detail is brilliant. We work very well together because our tastes are very similar, but we’re also good at pushing each other and expanding our ideas on what we do. What I want to try next: Prada is a big contributor to this.” It’s a brand and their outfit suggestions have broadened our understanding of what we can be as a team.
“I love the details and anything creative. Obviously, I’m an actor by trade, so I love any opportunity to stick with creating a look – I’m very open to giving my opinions. I see the project as more than just showing off. It’s a good outfit, it’s an opportunity to create something and collaborate.”
What makes Prada fit your style?
“I have great admiration for the brand, Mrs Prada and everything she has built. It has managed to maintain such a unique style. Over the years there has always been a touch of power, elegance and edge. Everything is always very contemporary, but classic at the same time, so That’s what sits right with me. Anytime they pull something for me to wear in a joint, I love it and it works. It always seems to be inconsistent with the nature of the show, what the movie is about or what I’m trying to represent at that moment.
“I really enjoyed going to the Prada show in Milan last year. It’s always like an immersive experience and way more than a fashion show. It’s theater that I love the most, I worked in theater before I started working on screen and it’s really fascinating. It feels like a natural fit for me.” Personally, I wish I had that classic feel with something a little different. It’s a tough balance to strike, but as a brand, they do it well.
What clothes make you feel the most confident?
“It sounds obvious, but whatever makes me feel comfortable. So often we try to twist ourselves into something that doesn’t really speak to who we are inside. Finding comfort is key, because it allows you to extend yourself and what you are. In the clothes you wear, I’m already a part of you. Personally, I’m a bit lazy. “I can be and you can easily throw it on but it still looks good. That’s what I love about Prada, it fits perfectly and I feel very relaxed, but there’s still something about it.”
How has your style evolved over the years?
“I was a real tomboy when I was a kid. There was a time when I didn’t think I was wearing a dress or a skirt. That happened over the years or I would wear a dress with some coaches to try it on. And somehow make up for it. Now I wear a dress when I get invited to events with a dress code and it’s been a really fun journey. A big thank you to my agent and publicist, who were very supportive and involved in the process.
“As I’ve evolved, I’ve put a few limits on myself about what I can and can’t wear. Now, it’s about what I want to wear and finding a way to make that work for me. Whether it’s how I wear it, the color, the fit, or how my hair and makeup work with it, trying to say something new and I like to get rid of any preconceived notions of how to find an event and just go with the flow.”
How did your confidence on the red carpet evolve?
“I’m still nervous – it’s so intense but it’s so amazing. You spend all this time doing looks and talking to designers, stylists and publicists. Then in a minute it ends with flashing lights for 15 seconds. Not only myself, but the brand, the stylists, I want to credit the jewelry brands, facialists, hair and makeup teams, and everyone who contributed to the whole process. I’m always in the process of fixing my own train—now I wear a lot of trains, which is ridiculous as someone who doesn’t wear a dress—because I want to have it. Since then, I’ve felt good about myself. I can go to the place feeling relaxed.
“The red carpet can feel a lot, so I’ve learned to take my time and relax. There’s a lot of goodwill behind me and a lot of people work hard to make the look. Everyone wants to have fun and you’re often there to celebrate something, so make sure you celebrate yourself in the process.”
What is your most memorable fashion moment of the past few years?
“Well, there were quite a few Prada connections, so it was great to be able to wear the brand again. Last year I wore a beautiful crushed velvet dress in burnt orange to the Cannes Film Festival. Chopard jewelry. That felt so memorable and it’s great to have those connections back. It’s – you feel like you’re a part of these big families and they go on these creative journeys together. You get to know them better and they get to know you better. When you walk the red carpet or step on stage, it feels good to help elevate these brands. It’s like they’re saying, ‘We support you and we respect you.’
What is the ideal setup for your preparation?
“I’ve got to have some music going, a little soulful and good but not too much. Nerves can be high because everyone’s trying to get in shape. Facials help too – these can be very long days, so it helps to get started. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s approach I love it because it is anti-inflammatory and also has a darker skin tone.
“To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me. where Whether it’s a house or a hotel, I prepare. The most important thing is having my team around me and I really love them all. They’re great people and fun to be with, so it sounds like one big hangout – except I’m not the only one, like we’re getting ready for a night out. It feels special to have a beautiful group around you.
Whose style have you always admired and why?
“Zoe Kravitz, she’s always had a nod to the classics. There’s something very understated about what she does, but she’s unique. When she’s on the red carpet, you feel like she’s totally in it in the photos. That element and that’s what I aspire to.” I am working on that at every event. I love what she wears and I always have her as a reference in my mind when I think of a new look.
“Usually when you’re in public there’s an adjustment period where you have to understand yourself more than when you’re wearing it for yourself, but now it’s completely different and you have to try to bring as much accuracy as you can. It can take a while to find yourself with it and there are a lot of cameras and it looks good. It can feel overwhelming when you go to an event where people are. How do you get in and out. Is it like your best self? Once you start hitting the groove, it’s a great feeling.
Although fashion is known as vanity, why is the clothes we wear important?
“In the most basic way, it’s important because everyone wears clothes. We’re social people who communicate with each other, so everyone has to go out into the world and present themselves. We all want to present the true version and the best. So we’re able to do that through fashion, which is a means of expression. You can wear what you feel and who you are in person. You can use fashion however you want, it’s completely up to you. Along with the red carpet, these moments are important for actors like me who are only seen through the characters they play. It’s made an impact. It’s important for fashion to be fun, not careless. It should be an exploration for people to enjoy. It’s there to be enjoyed. So why not?
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