Olivia Colman was awarded a BFI Fellowship yesterday, 7 March, following her triumphant awards season. The news was first announced last month and the actress officially received the honour at the BFI Chairman’s dinner, hosted by Josh Berger, last night.
The actress won an Oscar for her performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite.
“I didn’t know what to expect this evening,” she said during her acceptance speech. “[It] turns out it’s a bit like a surprise birthday party… on the back of a lovely year.”
It was another occasion in which she demonstrated her understated red carpet prowess, with previous red-carpet choices including Prada and Stella McCartney. This time round, the actress chose to champion sustainable designer Deborah Milner – a black gown with a cut-away side that revealed a pair of custom-made trousers underneath. Colman’s stylist, Mary Fellowes, says she’s wanted to dress her client in such a look for a while.
“Deborah Milner and I did a back and forth on WhatsApp with sketches and came up with this concept,” Fellowes told us. “I thought it was especially relevant as being made a Fellow of the BFI is such an endorsement of intelligent acting and this linear look, which plays off the masculine/feminine axis, reinforces Olivia’s power and intelligence.”
While Colman’s outfit choice might be understated, she amped it up with Swarovski jewellery, starting with a striking Christopher Kane necklace. “The idea to use Atelier Swarovski came from when I spontaneously looped their classic Christopher Kane Bolster through the neck of this outfit,” said Fellowes. “I wanted to up the glamour ante so we combined it with Atelier Swarovski’s exquisite and sustainable jewels that spotlight conscious luxury.”
An optic white Jimmy Choo bag served as “the perfect surprise accent”, while the Manolo Blahnik shoes added colour and a sense of grandeur.
“With the look being inky black we decided to add a touch of personality and fun with the shoes,” said Fellowes. “Rust is such an unexpected colour, but works so well here. I also love that they have a mildly theatrical and historical feel which nods very subtly to The Favourite.”
Perhaps surprisingly for an actress of her status, Colman did all her own make-up. “She tends to keep her make-up natural and glowy,” says Fellowes. “She is so radiant that she doesn’t need much. Her boyish pixie cut is effortless and very low maintenance”
Fellowes added that Colman is every bit as great to work with as you might expect. “It is endlessly inspiring and a huge honour to work with someone not just so talented, but so principled and kind,” she said. “I cherish every fitting and moment we have working together.”