Lately, fashion-y corners of the Internet have been full of chatter about the “Chalamet factor”—that is, whether certain runway looks would make sense in Timothée Chalamet’s Bones and All press tour wardrobe. But while it’s fun to argue about whether the actor’s very good custom bloodred Haider Ackermann halter jumpsuit made him look more like Mick Jagger or Mr. Tumnus, I’d like to propose that we direct more of our attention to Taylor Russell, his costar in the cannibal teen romance whose looks have, arguably, been even better.
When Chalamet wore that Haider Ackermann look at the Venice Film Festival, Russell opted for look 54 from Demna’s second Balenciaga haute couture collection, a Kelly green strapless piece that mimicked a gown in the front and a minidress in the back. I could have spent hours scrolling through tweets about Chalamet’s look, but instead, I felt compelled to find out who Russell’s stylist was.
It took more than an hour before I discovered it was Ryan Hastings, and that was only because of a rogue hashtag with his name in the caption of a photo of Russell shared by Chanel makeup artist Nina Park. Hastings doesn’t have an Instagram, and when I wrote to him, he told me doesn’t do any press. That feels fitting for Russell, who didn’t even put her Balenciaga look on her Instagram, where she has posted only 19 times since 2019. (Maintaining some distance from social media—now that feels like a lost art of It girls past!)
The idea of a “Chalamet factor” implies there’s something mystifying about what he might wear next, but Russell’s style feels to me more like a puzzle worth solving. Partly, that’s because even though she’s been a working actress for nearly a decade, Bones and All seems like the film that might propel her to Chalamet-level notoriety. Despite her secrecy on social, Russell has gained more than 30,000 new followers since the press tour began. Honestly, at the BFI London Film Festival, Timmy might as well not have even been there.
For the occasion, Russell wore the Daniel Roseberry Schiaparelli couture look: a black skirt suit with a jacket adorned with grape appliqués that took upward of 150 hours and five fittings to perfect. Looking as if she had just elegantly emerged from being entangled in a grapevine, she tipped the sharp boater hat with one hand; her other fell to the side of her champagne corset, which was adorned with a velvet bow on each hip. One Twitter user captured the general reaction online: “EVERYBODY SHUT UP!! Taylor Russell in Schiaparelli Couture!!” Of course, it’s easy to shut up when your jaw is on the floor.
At the New York Film Festival, Russell wore a custom black strapless Prada dress with diamond bow details and a diamond Cartier headpiece that looked like a grounded halo. At the Telluride Film Festival, she wore a more understated low-rise Balenciaga look with an oversized leather blazer. And after winning Best Young New Actress in Venice, she changed out of couture and into a Balenciaga catsuit that ruched at her neck and thighs. In between all this, she managed to open Jonathan Anderson’s incredible spring Loewe collection in a strapless black velvet dress with a hidden skirt jetting out of her hips like a pared-down robe à la française. On her feet: a pair of heels with a single monstera leaf and anthurium that seemed to sprout from her toes.
This past weekend, Russell attended the Academy’s second annual Museum Gala in Los Angeles wearing a sliced halter-neck leather dress from Sarah Burton’s most recent collection for Alexander McQueen, which was seen first on the runway just four days prior. While the Internet debated whether Bella Hadid’s spray-on Coperni dress was an homage to Alexander McQueen’s spring 1999 collection, there’s no question Russell’s look was. The dress referenced look 20 from that very show, with pockets that hit right below the chest.
More mesmeric than Russell’s right-off-the runway looks, though, might be her archival ones, which can actually be traced back to an equally enigmatic celeb: Euphoria’s Alexa Demie.
Demie and Russell have been best friends since they starred in A24’s Waves together. In the rare photos of them running through Los Angeles or Paris, they look every bit as Bonnie and Clyde as Russell and Chalamet do in Bones and All. The friends tend to frequent Aralda Vintage, a small archival vintage spot tucked in the Hollywood Hills that stocks pieces like the blue Issey Miyake bodice from the fall 1980 collection or the spring 2003 Margiela shoelace bustier Beyoncé wore in her “Fighting Temptation” music video. The store’s easily identifiable red walls and large Hollywood-style mirror often appear in Demie’s and Russell’s selfies when they’re posing in ’90s Alaïa.
The store’s owner, Brynn Jones, says she met Russell when Demie (a friend) brought her into the shop to browse. Now, Jones often finds herself helping pull looks for Russell. The morning before the actress flew to Venice to accept the Marcello Mastroianni Award, she even called Jones. “Taylor and her stylist met me at the shop early, and we came up with the 2007 Ralph Lauren gown,” Jones says in an interview. “She’s such a timeless beauty, and it felt meant to be with that one.”
Last week on the press tour in London, Russell wore her second look from Aralda, a Vivienne Westwood dress from the underrated Dressed to Scale collection. “It’s not one of Westwood’s more popular seasons, but I love that those pieces are easily identifiable because of the big orb buttons,” Jones says. She adds that Russell is a genuine fashion fan who “knows her stuff” and tends to gravitate toward Jones’s personal favorite pieces on the floor, regardless of their cult status. Of course, fashion Twitter responded fervidly to this vintage look, with one user responding to the photos with a meme of someone stepping on a man’s head in a high-heel black stiletto. Felt.
Russell has been shutting us up and stepping on our necks because she’s giving us the kind of red-carpet eye candy we’ve been begging for—looks that represent real fashion knowledge and a willingness to take risks. Both her off-the-runway looks, which feel like the grails of the future, and her archival looks, handpicked from a fashion nerd’s dream vintage store, show that she can talk shop with the best of us too.