Whimsical, subversive, darkly romantic: The many styles of Ruth Negga

Carolyn Moore rounds up Ruth Negga’s standout style moments, explores the evolution of her fashion edits and picks the couture outfit we’d most love to see the actress in on Oscars night.

For the rest of the world, it might appear that Ruth Negga’s stratospheric rise has been the definition of an overnight success, but here at home, we know Negga has been slowly and steadily working her way to the top. 

For well over a decade she’s been a stalwart on the Irish theatre scene, while building an impressive TV and film resumé to boot.

But her Oscar-nominated performance as Mildred Loving has truly put her on the map, and since the movie’s premiere at Cannes last May, Negga has consistently found herself on all the best-dressed lists too.

Aided and abetted by her stylist, Karla Welch — who coined the hashtag #MegaNegga — Ruth has become a style superstar, and fashion has played no small part in ensuring the Oscar buzz which began in Cannes wasn’t drowned out by the time the Academy made its decision, eight months later.

And for fashion lovers and red carpet watchers, what an eight months it’s been. 

Welch has been working with the actress since Cannes, with the mantra “Dare to be different” topping their red carpet rulebook. 

She has referred to Negga as “a true collaborator”, telling the New York Times the star is possessed of genuine style and “inherently knows what she feels good in”.

And it shows. Negga has the regal air of someone who enjoys clothes and knows how to work them. 

She killed it at Cannes in a daring Marc Jacobs dress, and has since cultivated an intriguingly unconventional, darkly romantic red carpet style. 

Equal parts whimsical and subversive, her looks have run the gamut from pretty Valentino gowns to slick Armani tuxedos.

Whether she’s teaming a simple white tee with an explosion of a Chanel tulle skirt; flashing the flesh in sheer fabrics; or keeping it high concept in Rodarte, she does it with a confidence and ease that makes every red carpet outing a guaranteed red carpet win.

She took to the Toronto Film Festival in a tropical Valentino dress, and kept the style momentum moving in November in a dramatic Gucci gown.

Romantic with a subversive twist, the look encapsulated her winning formula, which she fearlessly departed from for her biggest win to date: The show-stopping custom Louis Vuitton she wore to the Golden Globes.

She has played fast and loose with designers, but has returned with unfailing success to Valentino.

“I’ve never put a Valentino on her that didn’t work,” Welch told the New York Times, but was quick to add: “She doesn’t play favourites.”

There’s no way to predict what this red carpet renegade will wear on Sunday night. 

It would be wonderful to see her in Valentino — and if she fancied flying the flag for Ireland, some of their couture pieces this season are in beautifully subtle greens — but whatever happens on Sunday, the Oscar for best dressed star of awards season this year definitely goes to Ruth Negga.

Ruth loves Valentino, Valentino loves Ruth, and this high-necked, waisted dress with sleeves in a pale, shimmering green ticks all her style boxes. Will she dare to be different on Sunday?
Ruth loves Valentino, Valentino loves Ruth, and this high-necked, waisted dress with sleeves in a pale, shimmering green ticks all her style boxes. Will she dare to be different on Sunday?


Eve Kelliher explores temples of Zoom to get verdict on relocation from boardroom to spare roomWhat we've learned from world's biggest remote working experiment

As those of us who love to have friends round are tentatively sending out invitations, we’re also trying to find a workable balance with necessary social distancing rules, writes Carol O’CallaghanTable manners: How to entertain at home post-lockdown

Helen O’Callaghan says asthma sufferers need to watch pollen levelsBreathe easy: Pollen tracker protects asthma sufferers

Testosterone levels drop by 1% a year after the age of 30, so should all middle-aged men be considering hormone replacement therapy to boost their mood and libido? asks Marjorie BrennanHow male hormone deficiency can impact both mood and libido

More From The Irish Examiner