Elle Fanning has been working in Hollywood since she was just a toddler. Making her film debut at just two years old (playing the younger version of her big sister, Dakota, in the 2001 film, I Am Sam), Fanning already had dozens of on-screen credits to her name by the time of her breakout role in Maleficent at 16 years old. Of course, she’d displayed her style expertise with plenty of red carpet looks, too, which helped her win over fashion brands early on in her career.
In 2011, American designer Marc Jacobs chose Fanning as the face of his upcoming Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign, and later that year, the actress starred in a short film for sister duo Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s latest Rodarte collection. It was also around this time that Fanning began working with her longtime stylist Samantha McMillen, establishing herself as a style star before she even graduated high school.
Though she’s never been afraid of taking fashion risks with bright colors or unexpected silhouettes, Fanning is undoubtedly a modern-day master of Old Hollywood elegance on the red carpet—it makes perfect sense, as she previously named Grace Kelly as one of her style icons. It’s this chameleon-like ability of adopting fashion personas as diverse as her on-screen portrayals of historical figures, including Catherine the Great and fairy tale princesses like Aurora, that piqued the interest of luxury fashion and jewelry houses.
Fanning landed Miu Miu and Tiffany & Co. campaigns while still in her teens, before being named as a brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris makeup. Officially becoming a Miu Miu muse when she walked the runway for the fashion house’s fall 2018 collection, Fanning quickly added more luxury partnerships to her roster. In 2020, she made her directorial debut with a Gucci campaign, and more recently, she became the face of Paco Rabanne’s (now Rabanne) Fame fragrance, and worked with Cartier on a jewelry campaign that saw Fanning pay homage to none other than Grace Kelly.
Ahead, take a look at all of Fanning’s most memorable red carpet moments, from her early days at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards to becoming the queen of the Cannes Film Festival with her series of custom couture creations.
2007, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards
Fanning’s earliest red carpet days were spent alongside her older sister Dakota; it’s a precedent that the duo still occasionally follows, attending movie premieres and fashion shows together.
2010, The Nutcracker: The Untold Story Premiere
The premiere of her 2010 film, The Nutcracker, was an early example of Fanning’s favorite sartorial elements: sparkle and a solid hair accessory.
2011, Marc by Marc Jacobs Show
Chanel may have been Fanning’s first runway show, but in the summer of 2011, the then-13-year-old landed a fashion campaign for Marc by Marc Jacobs. Here, she attends the New York City show for the label’s spring 2012 collection, dressed in a matching red set. Before the end of the year, she’d also find herself modeling for Rodarte.
2014, Maleficent Premiere
Fanning’s Maleficent premiere gown was more Elsa from Frozen than Aurora, but it was a look befitting of a princess, nonetheless. Her icy blue, off-the-shoulder Elie Saab gown included a matching belt and sparkling embroidered detailing, accessorized with vintage-looking bracelets, a choker necklace and a hair comb that sat atop her side-parted low bun.
2016, The Neon Demon Screening at Cannes Film Festival
For her first Cannes Film Festival, Fanning wore a dreamy blush-pink gown. The strapless design was from the Zuhair Murad spring 2016 couture collection, and featured floral embroidery from the bodice all the way through the train. Though still a few months away from being named one of the faces of Tiffany & Co., the actress wore several baubles from the brand, including pink and green gemstone rings that matched her dress.
2016, The Neon Demon Los Angeles Premiere
Back in Los Angeles, Fanning celebrated her high school graduation with the premiere of her film, The Neon Demon—decked out in a dazzling sequin embroidered and needlepoint Dolce & Gabbana gown, of course.
2016, 20th Century Women Premiere
There isn’t a pastel color that Fanning can’t pull off, as evidenced by this buttercup yellow crop top and skirt combo. The elaborate design, from Rodarte’s spring 2017 collection, featured polka dots, ruffles and floral detailing, which Fanning’s glam team complemented with a metallic marigold eyeshadow.
2017, Ismael’s Ghosts Screening at Cannes Film Festival
Fanning stepped it up in a major way at her second Cannes Film Festival appearance, wearing a custom Vivienne Westwood gown that took more than 300 hours to make, according to Vogue. The strapless design was actually a reinterpretation of Westwood’s Bird of Paradise dress from her spring 2005 collection, but it was made more personal with a hand-painted train, for which Fanning collaborated on with the English fashion designer—it included a pink unicorn and a shooting star with Fanning’s name.
2017, How To Talk To Girls At Parties Screening at Cannes Film Festival
For a screening of her film How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Fanning switched things up with a more bohemian look. The pastel green Gucci gown featured a flower-trimmed train and embellished detailing along the skirt and bodice.
2017, Cannes Film Festival
Keeping the floral theme going, Fanning’s next Cannes look was this colorful gown from Dior’s spring 2017 couture collection. Inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Jardin Fleuri, the gown’s multicolored flower petals were made from feathers that were individually cut and attached by hand.
2017, The Beguiled Screening at Cannes Film Festival
For the screening of her second movie at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Fanning went back to one of her tried and true favorite designers: Rodarte. The lavender tulle gown was a bespoke design that Fanning noted was inspired by Edgar Degas’ ballerina artwork, and the actress’ team perfectly accessorized the look with delicate Chanel jewelry, barely-there makeup and a black velvet ribbon tied around her ballerina bun.
2017, Mary Shelley Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival
Corset styles have become a staple for Fanning both on-screen and off (most notably later down the line starring as The Great’s Russian empress, Catherine), and this blush-pink lace number from Alexander McQueen is an early example. Embellished, bow-adorned sandals, polished waves and a soft pink lip completed the ethereal look.
2017, Miu Miu Show
Having just starred in Miu Miu’s spring 2017 campaign, it was only natural Fanning was a front row guest at the Italian fashion house’s Paris runway show in October. For the occasion, Fanning wore a strapless jumpsuit with sparkling embellishments, pairing the look with a crisp red lip, Miu Miu crystal mules and flag earrings.
2018, Berlin International Film Festival
A bold departure from Fanning’s usual red carpet aesthetic, the actress has called this Valentino couture gown one of her all-time favorite looks. Featuring sweeping caped sleeves in bright orange, the gown’s contrasting pale blue skirt and oversized bow made for a dramatic moment at the Berlin International Film Festival.
2018, Miu Miu Show
Trading the red carpet for the runway, Fanning opened and closed Miu Miu’s fall 2018 show during Paris Fashion Week.
2018, Galveston Premiere
For the premiere of her film Galveston, Fanning wore a custom Miu Miu gown with a soft yellow bodice trimmed in rhinestones and sequins, cut-outs at the waist and a flowing floor-length skirt. To complement the bow at the front of the dress, Fanning’s hair was styled into slicked-back pigtails, with baby blue ribbons.
2018, I Think We’re Alone Now NYC Screening
Just a few weeks later, Fanning switched things up sartorially when she wore this yellow Oscar de la Renta suit for the premiere of I Think We’re Alone Now. Paired with a striped red turtleneck and matching Vivienne Westwood spiked heels, Fanning’s team gave the whole look a mod twist with faux freckles and Twiggy-inspired lashes.
2019, Met Gala in Miu Miu
Fanning’s first Met Gala was actually in 2011, but her Barbie-inspired Miu Miu look in 2019 was a standout. In keeping with the camp theme, the actress opted for a custom coral crop top and matching wide-leg pants. Fanning’s accessories were the real stars of the show here, including an oversized charm necklace, neon-pink nails pierced with individual charms and stacks of colorful gemstone rings from Tiffany’s.
2019, The Dead Don’t Die Screening at Cannes Film Festival
Back for another Cannes takeover, Fanning kicked things off with a bespoke peachy-pink silk Gucci gown. The vintage-inspired silhouette featured structured shoulders, a long cape and a plunging neckline that highlighted an embroidered purple and ivory flower at the waist. Fanning paired the look with Chopard diamond earrings and a massive heart-shaped purple tourmaline ring, as well as a classic red lip and sleek low bun.
2019, Les Miserables Screening at Cannes Film Festival
Fanning served as a jury member at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, which meant even more couture moments from the actress. She wore this floral Valentino number for the screening of Les Miserables, and kept the garden party going with her beauty look, which included a wraparound milkbraid accented with mini roses and daisies throughout.
2019, Chopard Love Party at Cannes Film Festival
When Vivienne Westwood is involved with Fanning’s look, you know it’s going to be good, and this custom creation is no exception. The neon pink silk gown, which Fanning’s stylist called “Marilyn meets Marie Antoinette,” featured a corseted bodice with frayed edge detailing, and was paired with an assortment of diamonds from Chopard.
2019, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Screening at Cannes Film Festival
Fanning temporarily ditched the floor-length gowns for a custom Dior ensemble that oozed Grace Kelly in the French Riviera-set classic, To Catch a Thief. Fanning’s take on the ‘50s style took the form of a tulle skirt, ivory blouse and a custom wide-brim hat made by British milliner Stephen Jones.
2019, ESPY Awards
It may have been the ESPY Awards, but Fanning wore a gown fit for the Oscars. Shimmering from head-to-toe, the silver Celine design featured an asymmetric cut that was defined at the waist. A bouncy blowout, mini cat eyeliner and peachy lip completed Fanning’s glam moment.
2019, Disney D23 Expo
Ahead of the Maleficent sequel, Fanning embodied a modern-day Aurora in a pink organza dress from Kimhekim, with a scene-stealing satin bow tied at the waist. In keeping with the color palette, Fanning wore pink Stuart Weitzman pumps and a rosy shade of lipstick, with matching flushed cheeks.
2019, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil Premiere
Gucci’s then-creative director Alessandro Michele dreamed up the perfect silk chiffon gown for Fanning at the Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil premiere. Meant to resemble Sleeping Beauty waking up in a field of flowers, the detailed look included crystal embroidered straps, floral embellishments and sheer tulle gloves, which were embroidered with crystal drops of blood.
2019, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil European Premiere
For the European premiere the following week, Fanning went for a more regal look, in a custom gown by Armani Privé. The seafoam green design was composed of a flounced organza top over a bustier that was embellished with pearls and crystals, plus a multi-layered skirt. To show off the details of the ensemble (as well as her oversized opal earrings), Fanning sported a sleek bun and frosty eyeshadow.
2021, LACMA Art + Film Gala
We’re used to seeing Fanning in sweet pastels and princess-y gowns, but the actress proved she has an impressive style range when she wore this all-black Gucci number. The dramatic dress featured an open back with sheer panels of fabric over high-waisted briefs and a bralette, Fanning played up her villainous turn with a berry lip that matched the bejeweled flower at her dress’ neckline.
2021, Vulture Festival
To promote the second season of Hulu’s The Great, Fanning (briefly) took a break from gowns, trading in dresses for a nude-pink corset top from Vivienne Westwood, which she paired with black high-waisted pants from The Row.
2021, The Great Premiere
Fanning’s custom Versace look, with a floor-length black taffeta skirt, for the season two premiere of The Great was all about the details. The gown’s pale pink bustier was the focal point, with its crystal embroidered motif of Catherine the Great and two 18th century women (a request made by Fanning). Fanning’s beauty aesthetic followed suit, with a black cat eye and shimmering pink eyeshadow, a matte pink lip and a lengthy ponytail, accented with oversized black bows.
2021, InStyle Awards
To present her longtime stylist Samantha McMillen with the InStyle Award for Stylist of the Year, Fanning sported another bold look, in the form of a bejeweled chain link bustier from Balmain’s spring 2022 collection. Matching gold rings, a floor-length black skirt and an orange-red lip finished off the look.
2022, The Girl From Plainville Press Day
Fanning opted for an all-black Carolina Herrera ensemble while promoting The Girl from Plainville, channeling her inner femme fatale in this midi, with a sweetheart neckline, bold shoulder and long sleeves.
2022, Cannes Film Festival
Back in Cannes for the 2022 Film Festival, Fanning returned to her signature ethereal style in a custom blush Armani Privé gown. While the dress offered plenty of sparkle, with crystal embellishments along the strapless bodice, the actress added some jaw-dropping jewelry from Chopard, including a heart-shaped diamond necklace, matching heart-shaped ring and three-tier diamond bracelet. Rosy pink makeup and undone waves, accented with the tiniest glittering bow, completed the princess-worthy moment.
2022, Emmy Awards
To celebrate her Emmy nomination for Best Lead Actress (her first!) for The Great, Fanning turned to the show’s costume designer Sharon Long and seamstress Catherine Shaw for her red carpet ensemble. The trio decided on an Old Hollywood-inspired black strapless gown, trimmed with pale pink petals at the bust, plus a dramatic black and pink skirt cape.
2023, Alexander McQueen Show
This edgier look for Alexander McQueen’s fall 2023 presentation was surely one of Fanning’s best fashion show moments. Dressed in a black trench coat from the collection, Fanning added thigh-high stockings, sunnies and a bold red lip that matched her McQueen Seal bag.
2023, Jeanne du Barry Screening at Cannes Film Festival
While sitting front row at the McQueen show earlier in the year, Fanning saw a sculptural bugle bead and crystal-encrusted gown make its way down the runway, and inspiration struck. To make the look her own, Fanning and her stylist worked with McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton to pair the original bodice with a pale pink tulle skirt. Cartier jewelry, a knotted updo and winged liner with a soft peach lip rounded off Fanning’s “dress of dreams” at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.