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My Favorite Method Dressers

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

In May of last year Vogue published a piece on “method dressing.” With a fairly self-explanatory name, method dressing is a styling technique many celebrities have been embracing for press tours or award shows, where the essence of their movie is then carried on to the promotion. When Vogue published this article we were in the midst of seeing celebrities like Halle Bailey, Jenna Ortega, Anya Taylor Joy, Margot Robbie, and Ryan Reynolds all donning method dressing on the red carpet. The trend of method dressing has continued into 2024 with Rachel Zegler utilizing method dressing to promote “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” but most recently Zendaya has been catching everyone’s eye with her method dressing for her upcoming tennis movie “Challengers.” Zendaya has actually utilized method dressing for some time now, but her recent looks have truly revitalized method dressing and why more celebrities should lean into it. 

For anyone who follows celebrity fashion on red carpets you would know that there are tons of videos on YouTube reviewing the ensembles. A critic I frequently watch is Luke Meagher, also known as HauteLeMode. Meagher is fairly tough on celebrities and their fits on the red carpet, and rightfully so. The red carpet is the perfect place to see the state of fashion in 2024. Overall, most celebrities seem to blur together in various dresses and plain suits that all look the same. Uniqueness and artistic expression has gone out the window as gimmicky fashion and whatever is trending reigns supreme. As much as fashion is a personal choice and form of personal expression, celebrities and celebrity fashion culture is made to be looked at. All the outfits are curated and even if we think not much thought has been put into the looks, there definitely has been. However, that thought does not seem to be working out, which is why method dressing is the exact thing we need to save red carpet fashion. 

So who are the celebrities leading the way for method dressing? Keep reading to see who my favorite method dressers are. 

  1. Rachel Zegler

Rachel Zegler became a standout method dresser in my book during The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes press tour. Styled by Sarah Slutsky Tooley, Zegler did an excellent job paying homage to the original Hunger Games films. Slutsky and Zegler capitalized on massive nostalgia for the films by having Zegler’s premiere outfits pay tribute to costumes of the Hunger Games’s original leading lady, Jennifer Lawrence. This is an excellent example of how method dressing is an extension of marketing for films. At the Berlin premiere of the film Zegler wore a black Alexander Mcqueen gown that honored Katniss Everdeen’s original girl on fire outfit with the bottom of the taffeta dress emblazoned with red to symbolize the original flames. At the London premiere of the film Zegler wore Dior and the ensemble was definitely a nod to what Katniss wore during the tribute parade in “Catching Fire” with its similar high neckline and charcoal black fabric. Zegler also had her hair styled in a similar way to Katniss and it truly tied the look together. Finally, at the Los Angeles premiere of the film, fans could not help but notice that Zegler’s Elie Saab gown looked extremely similar to the wedding dress of the character Annie Cresta in the final Hunger Games film. The gown referenced the original look through the similar veil Zegler wore in hair and flowing chiffon. 

Zegler’s method dressing was executed perfectly as it balanced referencing the films while also staying in line with Zegler’s own fashion preferences and style. Each look grabbed fans’ attention by giving subtle nods to the original films while emphasizing why people should see the new film. 

  1. Zendaya

I am not unique in loving Zendaya’s method dressing. Zendaya and her longtime stylist Law Roach have done an excellent job utilizing the method dressing technique most recently for Zendaya’s new film Challengers; however, she also used method dressing during red carpets for the Spiderman films. Zendaya leaned heavily into “tenniscore” —of course, with most her looks referencing tennis, the center of the Challengers movie. My favorite moment was the gown she wore to the London Premiere of the film. As Instyle Magazine wrote, “it’s not like the tennis reference was subtle in any way,” which is true, but it was not over the top. The white halter gown designed by Thom Browne was sleek and elegant while also fun by having little tennis racquets embroidered all over. 

Zendaya’s Challenger looks have been in the spotlight and have been one of the moments that sparked conversations about method dressing. However, I think it was Zendaya’s looks for the Dune premieres that truly set her method dressing apart. Throughout the premieres for Dune, Zendaya was truly the embodiment of the futuristic desert Dune is set in. From wearing an archival Mugler suit of armor to a custom Balmain dress for the Dune’s Venice Premiere, all of Zendaya’s looks were cohesive and beautifully inspired by the colors and textures of the desert. 

  1. Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie is also not a unique choice for a favorite method dresser, but I could not leave her out after the way she used method dressing to promote Barbie. Robbie took method dressing a step further during the promotions and premiere of Barbie by replicating exact outfits Barbies wore; from transforming into the “Enchanted Evening Barbie” or “Earring Barbie,” Robbie matched the ensembles to a tee. My favorite of Robbie’s looks was her replication of “Solo in the Spotlight Barbie,” where Robbie wore a glittering Schiparelli Haute Couture gown, and completed the look with all the original Barbie dolls accessories from her light pink handkerchief, and her black opera gloves, to the little red rose that sits on the hem of the dress. I especially love this look because I have a Christmas ornament of “Solo in the Spotlight” Barbie. 

Method dressing is an excellent way for stylists and celebrities to revitalize red carpet looks and enhance their creativity. Everyone who does method dressing well is able to balance referencing their movie or character while also delivering fashionable and unique looks. There has been discourse about who started method dressing after people began to notice the trend being utilized by Zendaya and Margot Robbie. Unfortunately, online discussion began to pit the two actresses against each other, demanding that one woman be crowned the queen of method dressing while the other shrunk back, defeated. This take on method dressing is disappointing for many reasons with the most obvious being that it is completely unnecessary and sexist to pit Zendaya and Margot Robbie against each other. The tactic of comparing women in the hopes of lifting one up and tearing the other down is getting old. Why does one have to be better than the other? Secondly, when it comes to method dressing, does it matter who started it or not? Giving credit where credit is due is very important especially when it comes to creative ideas and work; however, the technique of method dressing is not owned by anyone and is up to the interpretation of the person wearing the clothes. To add some fashion history to the debate, it should be noted that method dressing has been around for a long time, many years prior to the invention of social media with method dressing being seen on red carpets in the 90s and probably farther back than that. So regardless of who and when method dressing started, it is a welcome change to red carpets of the modern day.

Emily Manus

UC Riverside '25

Emily is a third-year public policy major. She hopes to write about her passions and issues that are important to her as well as the UCR community. Emily's interests include the arts, media, and culture.