THE STYLE CHAMELEON

Cate Blanchett’s stunning presence on and off screen

Cate Blanchett at Cannes wearing an Armani gown. IMAGE COURTESY OF ARMANI

In movies, Cate Blanchett disappears and emerges as sometimes as Katharine Hepburn, Bob Dylan, or Queen Elizabeth I, depending on whoever the film role requires her to be. On the red carpet, she has the same confidence of a style chameleon.

Cate Blanchett wearing Chopard in Cannes, photographed by Greg Williams. IMAGE COURTESY OF CHOPARD

Yet in person, Blanchett is humble and goes around without a trace of vanity. When I tell her that, she blushes, breaks into a girlish grin, and thanks me profusely, as if she isn’t the two-time Oscar winner that she is. The president of the Cannes jury and one of the driving forces behind the #metoo movement, which yielded the now-famous 82-women march on the world’s most famous red carpet, Blanchett is a force to be reckoned with, on and off the screen.

Orchid earrings from the Red Carpet Collection, CHOPARD

My first piece of jewellery was a Cameo that my grandmother gave me, which I still have and wear. Most of my jewellery are sentimental, not necessarily expensive.

High Jewellery earrings worn by Cate Blanchett at Cannes, CHOPARD

A mother of three biological boys and one adopted daughter, she tells you right away that she hit the personal jackpot when she met her husband, fellow Aussie, director/writer Andrew Upton. They live in London with their children (the best schools for the boys, she says), and lead a quiet and normal life far away from the Hollywood buzz — when she’s not working, that is. But when she is, especially when she’s on the red carpet, Blanchett is the epitome of a glamorous Hollywood star.

Do you remember your first piece of jewellery?

My first piece of jewellery was a Cameo that my grandmother gave me, which I still have and wear. Most of my jewellery are sentimental, not necessarily expensive.

In Ocean’s 8 you steal a 150 million-dollar worth of Cartier necklace. What comes to mind when you think of Cartier?

When I think of Cartier, I think ‘keep it in the vault’. I am too scared to wear it.

What would you do if someone gave you that necklace, worth 150 million dollars?

I would cut it up and divide it between the have-nots in this world. And there’s an increasing number of have-nots in this world.

For the red carpet, how do you decide on the ‘look’?

Decisions are made quickly. The Giles Deacon I wore in Cannes in 2015 was an easy, instant pick. I saw it on a shoot and thought, ‘Where else could you wear that?’ I probably get shocking reviews on the red carpet, but I don’t read them.

You are styled by Elizabeth Stewart, one of the top stylists in the business. How is it working with her?

I love collaborating with Elizabeth, who is my long-time friend and stylist. It’s great to wear young emerging female designers when you have that platform. And being a woman who has a brain doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t like dressing up. I do it for a living.

How long does it take for you to get red-carpet ready?

My makeup artist, Mary Greenwell, can tell you how much time I spend with my beauty team for red carpet events. I’ve had a long creative relationship with a lot of designers, Mr Armani being one of them. My first check from my very first job, I bought an on-sale Armani suit, which I still have. But what I really wanted to do in Cannes was wear all-female designers. I love collaborating with designers even though my favourite wardrobe piece is trousers.

Please share with us your skin care secrets.

I stay out of the sun. I’ve learned that when you find something that works, you stick with it. I’ve been using the SK-II Essence for about 15 years now and was thrilled when they finally released it as a mist, because that’s what I have always done when I’m travelling — I spray it on. If I could only take one product with me, it would be that. I also love to use it during long hours on a film set. Rather than putting makeup on again, you can just refresh it and feel hydrated. It sets makeup without leaving that powdery look. When I’m on a film set, I feel the need to exfoliate because I’m wearing makeup so much longer.

Fragrance or makeup? Which is more important to you?

I could go without wearing makeup for sure. I’m very lazy when it comes to makeup. So when I don’t have anything on for the day, I just use mascara. And if it’s a big, exciting day, I’ll wear some lipstick. But fragrance really alters your mood. For me, fragrance is about memory, even more than imagery. It’s a really subtle but important way in which women can express herself.