Zoe's Blog

Olivia Colman Shines A Spotlight On Sustainable Fashion As She Is Crowned A BFI Fellow

It's scarcely been two weeks since Olivia Colman scooped up the Best Actress statuette at the Oscars 2019, but, last night, The Favourite star was back on the podium giving another acceptance speech – to receive her British Film Institute fellowship.

“There isn't an actor who can infuse each moment on screen with such great humanity, drama and humour,” director Yorgos Lanthimos said upon presenting the accolade to Colman, which has previously been awarded to Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchett. “No one can appear so fragile, magnetic, fierce, funny and real from one second to the next, or all at the same time.”

Naturally, Colman stole the audience's hearts with another speech that was resolutely her and not showy at all – no raspberry-blowing as per the Oscars, however. “I didn't know what to expect this evening,” she said. “[It] turns out it's a bit like a surprise birthday party… on the back of a lovely year.”

For the landmark career moment, Colman chose to shine a spotlight on sustainable fashion. Her black gown with a draped neck feature and a high slit, which revealed a tailored satin crepe trouser, was created especially for Colman by Deborah Milner, a designer whose missive is to make “haute couture using the challenges of sustainability as a catalyst for creativity”.

Milner established her brand's green codes in 2005 with a collection of “Ecoture” and has been an active participant in Eco-Age's #GreenCarpetChallenge, which was founded by Livia Firth to show that beautiful red-carpet wear does not have to exploit the environment. The material for Colman's gown was supplied by Taroni, an Italian mill which was awarded the “Most Sustainable Producer” at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards 2017, and has been committed to making materials that are ecologically and ethically sustainable at every stage of the textile supply chain. For silk, in particular, this involves the breeding of silkworms in areas of organic cultivation, reeling, spinning, dyeing and weaving, before the fabric is ready to be transported to the studio of a designer such as Milner. 

Continuing the conscious dressing theme, Colman and her stylist Mary Fellowes chose the Lola rings and Luna earrings from the Atelier Swarovski by Penélope Cruz fine jewellery collection. The line is created from Swarovski Genuine Topaz set in responsibly sourced gold and Swarovski Created Diamonds gems which are lab-grown and show the possibilities of creating problematic materials, such as leather, in a forward-thinking environment.

“We've always been interested in how to be as ethical as possible on the red carpet,” Fellowes told Vogue of the principles that underline her working relationship with Colman. “In addition to Swarovski's sustainable design process, the brand, which is helmed by a working mother [Nadja Swarovski] is taking active steps to support women and film. Olivia has been wearing pieces from very famous houses, so we thought it would be great to support a brand which is doing great things for the planet.”

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