The Stylist Behind Olivia Colman’s High-Fashion Bravado

By Laura Craik
Olivia Colman's black and green Prada look at the premiere of 'Wicked Little Letters' in London. Photo / Scott A Garfitt, AP

The Oscar-winning actor has become a fashion fixture. Who’s behind Olivia Colman’s wardrobe?

That Olivia Colman is modest and low-key are among her greatest charms. Kate Moss might have celebrated her 50th birthday with a raucous party in Paris, but that’s not really Colman’s style. What is her style, however, is an increasingly enviable wardrobe. Only 24 days her junior, it appears that Colman shares more with Moss than a star sign — she also shares her credentials as a trendsetter.

Currently promoting her new film, Wicked Little Letters, Colman has graced the red carpet in a series of fashion-forward looks that are all the more striking for being so at odds with the type of period roles for which she’s so well-loved. While no one is expecting her to rock up in an 18th-century gown such as she wore for her Oscar-winning performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite, nor were fans expecting her to appear in such a directional black trouser suit. Worn with slender cigarette pants and a simple white shirt, her oversized blazer looked strikingly androgynous, an effect only heightened by her cropped, bleached blonde hair.

This newfound bravado is a world away from the woman who once admitted she had never felt confident doing photographs or red-carpet appearances. “Being someone else is easy; being me is torture during those events,” she once said. Fast forward to 2024, via her arrival in Hollywood and an Academy Award for Best Actress, and she seems wonderfully at ease in even the edgiest of looks.

Much of the credit must go to her stylist, Miranda Almond, with whom she has worked since 2019. “Olivia is the absolute best,” says Almond. “Every job we do together, we have a laugh and make it fun. She is super-collaborative, and now that we’ve done so many events together, she’s very trusting of me to do my job, which is very freeing, as a stylist.”

A former Vogue fashion editor who now contributes to Harper’s Bazaar, Almond, who also styles British actresses Kristen Scott Thomas, Ruth Gemmell and Olivia Williams, began her career at the style magazine Dazed & Confused and has retained an affinity with the sort of experimental looks that defined that publication. “We like to keep things pretty classic for Olivia’s day looks — lots of trousers, blouses and men’s tailoring have been current favourites,” says Almond. “For the red carpet, we can be more daring with silhouettes and colours. For the recent Wicked Little Letters premiere, we went for a custom Prada look that had elements of the Fifties, an era that I think really suits Olivia.”

While Almond namechecks Dior, McQueen, Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Tory Burch and AMI as brands Colman has recently worn, she seems to particularly enjoy — and look great in — Prada. Significantly, it was Miuccia Prada who dressed her for her 2018 Oscar win, in a custom-made emerald silk gown with an embroidered train that took a dozen artisans more than 300 hours to make. Colman once detailed how she had a soft spot for Prada long before she became famous, telling friends: “One day, when I’ve finally made it, I will wear a Prada dress.”

That time has come. As her current Vogue cover attests, Miuccia Prada has long been regarded by the fashion industry as one of its most reliably chic and stylish dressers, and Colman certainly wouldn’t be the first to be inspired by her. But she is equally keen to support homegrown talent. “We also try to champion as many British brands as possible like Roland Mouret, Roksanda Ilincic and Burberry,” says Almond. Quite: at a recent Burberry party held at Harrods, London, guest of honour Colman looked striking in a green checked trench coat, worn with edgy beige boots.

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Colman has always been one of Britain’s best-loved actresses, ever since catapulting into the public consciousness as Sophie on Peep Show, her breakout role and the first of many memorable television characters she’s played over the years. But even after winning her Oscar for Best Actress in 2018, her style remained endearingly more small screen than silver. She always looked lovely, but it was part of her British, self-deprecating charm that she never seemed interested in fashion with a capital F, preferring instead to stick with a slew of elegant calf-length cocktail dresses that showcased her slender ankles. Classic jewel colours such as red, kingfisher blue and emerald green were her favourites, alongside failsafe black.

But if her style has changed, so has the attitude of the fashion industry. Famously snobbish, it was slow to embrace Colman, preferring to court the next hot young thing rather than what it perhaps perceived as a staid Middle England television star. While her fans would love her whatever she wears, it’s vindicating that brands are now vying to dress her. And how very Colman that, regardless of the label, practicality is always front of mind. “Comfort is key to Olivia,” confirms Almond. “I always try to make [everything] as comfortable for her as possible. Pockets are a very important feature!” We can all relate to that.

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