“I always look for designs and shapes I’ve never seen before,” says Riley Keough of her approach to red carpet dressing. Last night, Keough made her Golden Globesdebut, which was also marked by her first Globe nomination. The 27-year-old actress received a nod for her role in The Girlfriend Experience, the Starz series based on the 2009 Steven Soderbergh–directed film by the same name. In the show, she plays Christine Reade, a law student who moonlights as an escort. In short, she’s a young woman who knows what she wants, a sentiment that’s also true of Keough.
For one thing, she refuses to sacrifice comfort for style—at heart she’s a jeans and T-shirt girl. “I sort of tend to shy away from soft and feminine most of the time,” Keough says. For the Globes, she chose a Chanel dress in accordion-pleat silk chiffon. The Art Deco-inspired design—embroidered with 35,000 glass and crystal beads, sequins, and silver metallic thread—was 200 hours in the making.
“We wanted to go Old Hollywood, classic movie star, while still letting her look young, fashionable, and cool,” says her stylist, Jamie Mizrahi. “Riley plays a strong, confident woman in the show and her look at the Globes is something only a strong, confident woman could pull off.”
In the hours leading up to the awards, Keough arrived at Mizrahi’s home in Los Angeles wearing pajamas and a puffer vest; she snacked on spoonfuls of almond butter for added energy. A tailor was on standby for last-minute adjustments to the elaborate dress, while a hair and makeup team debated on the precise shade of blonde for a faux-bang hair extension. Eventually they nixed to idea in favor of twisting Keough’s natural locks into an elegant red carpet up-do instead.
“The hair and makeup played a huge role in shaping the look, as it always does,” said Mizrahi. “Riley is open and willing to let me play dress up. But, ultimately, it’s a collaborative process.” Apart from the addition of Jimmy Choo sandals, a Chanel ring, and studs, the focus remained on the arresting wardrobe itself. “The dress was so beautiful that I decided to keep everything else simple,” Keough said. Last but not least, a finishing touch came in the form of a black silk ribbon, fastened in a bow just above the nape of her neck. The catch, according to Mizrahi: “We Postmated the fabric at the last hour.”