Photography: Courtesy of Max Mara.
Queen by day job, lady by night, whatever the role, Natalie Dormer clearly reigns supreme.
''I am most comfortable in the rehearsal room,” says Natalie Dormer on a chilly afternoon in Milan. Here to attend the Max Mara fall/winter 2016 fashion show, this vision of beauty and elegance is dressed in a silk top and cashmere palazzo pants and matching coat—the quintessential English Rose. It’s a fitting moniker considering a rose is the sigil of the House of Tyrell in Game of Thrones, the HBO series in which Dormer plays Queen Margaery Tyrell. The 34-year-old has the regal charm of an Old Hollywood star, and the wisdom of a veteran theatre actor. But when it comes to the roles she is most known for, she might just relate more to Cressida, the film director from the Capitol in The Hunger Games.
“My exposure to fashion is through the great actresses I love, who had relationships with designers from the past,” she says as she opens up about her life. When asked who she would choose as her ultimate idol, the actress immediately responds, “Vivien Leigh, 100 percent!” But then, looking down at her outfit, she says, “I put these trousers on and suddenly, I’m Katharine Hepburn. These pants, that strength… It’s her, definitely. And, Grace Kelly as well,” she trails off.
As with her style icons, Dormer confesses to being somewhat of a magpie when it comes to her personal wardrobe. “The interesting thing about being an actress is that you’re dressed by other people so often. So I pick up things that I’ve been introduced to by different costume designers or design houses. Like, now, I’ve got an amazing Max Mara coat on and it will go everywhere with me. But I dress like a Londoner in my down time, with a nod to femininity and some funk and edge in there too,” she adds, smiling. And what’s her greatest indulgence? “To sit down with really interesting people over good food and good wine; to have the opportunity to talk about ideas and concepts as opposed to working every hour, this is the epitome of luxury [to me].”
Dormer admits that fashion is not her natural habitat. “I am a little bit of an alien,” she admits before sharing, “With the theatre, television and cinema, I finally feel, after a decade, that I’ve done my ‘Malcolm Gladwell’—he said to become really proficient at something, you need to clock in 10,000 hours.” Recipient of the 2016 Women in Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award, Dormer is experiencing a turning point in her career: A recognition for her outstanding performances, and her embodiment of style and grace. Like Zoe Saldana, Emily Blunt and Hailee Steinfeld before her, this year, Dormer is recognised as an actress who has starring roles in blockbuster franchises both on the big and small screen, and yet her true passion still lies in theatre.
She might feel like an outsider for now, but the fashion world is welcoming this English Rose with open arms. No matter how the relationship ends up, she will always have her safe space—the theatre rehearsal room. As, she concurs, “It will always be.”
Wool and cashmere double-breasted coat with kimono sleeves; shearling vest; cady palazzo pants OPPOSITE: Double pure camel hair reversible coat