Rooney Mara in Alexander McQueen

Posted on February 01, 2013

We have not particularly enjoyed the trend for white dresses on the red carpet, mainly because too many ladystars see white and default to virginal/bridal looks. They so rarely take the opportunity to wear white and do something interesting with it.

Rooney Mara attends the premiere of ‘Side Effects’ at AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York City in an Alexander McQueen dress paired with Nicholas Kirkwood shoes.

Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2013 Collection/Model: Esther Heesch (NEXT)

Mission accomplished, we’d say. No, we don’t like the shoes, and yes, we might ding the dress on a less suitable wearer, but this works like gangbusters. It’s beautiful in an unusual, eye-catching way, but it’s rather quiet about it. Plus, we just love that she’s wearing a shape not normally seen on the red carpet.

Not quite a WERQ, because, as we said, we don’t like the shoes (their color, specifically), but a stylish, interesting, sophisticated look.




[Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images,]

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  • I find the silhouette interesting, but lace over satin (or satin-like material, can’t tell what this is) still reads ‘bridal’ to me.

    • Valdri8

       I totally agree! Without the belt, it still looks very bridal to me.

      • Kathy_Marlow

         It definitely needs the belt.  I like it a lot more with it than without

        • Part of Rooney’s look though is that she wears complicated clothes with basically zero accessories. A belt might make it look less bridal (or not–I’ve seen a lot of brides with belts the last few years), but I think it would also make it look less like her look.

  • Love it. Love the shape, love the embellishments, love that despite this being a ruffled, embroidered little white dress, her hair and makeup make it totally not-bridal.

  • MilaXX

    For me without the belt it looks very bridal. I love the dress, but still – bridal. In fact the little capelet makes me think winter wedding.

    •  I totally agree with you. It really needed the belt to take it away from bridal territory.

    • Nancy Dunn

      Me, too. I find it very bridal, almost more bridal than most bridal dresses. The shoulder details give me that vibe.

    • Sobaika

      Agreed. It might have been too close to the model’s styling but she needed the belt and edgier shoes.

      • MilaXX

        Exactly! I understand not wanting to copy the runway look, but you need those elements to not see wedding dress.

    • mjude

      i am suprised she didnt wear the belt.

    • maggiemaybe

      The black belt and shoes are the only things keeping this out of bridal town. She looks like a mod Mrs. Havisham.

    • and the capelet/shoulders are not only bridal, they’re 80s bridal…

      • pop_top

         THIS. 80s bridal at the Justice of the Peace.

  • charlotte

    This looks more like her sister’s clothing style (as of what I’ve seen recently), but it works on the Audreybot as well. Those shoes will never work though.

  • sablehunter

    I like it better with the belt.  She looks great though.

  • Annabelle Archer

    I like the use of the nude shoe here. Sure, she is giving off major frigid bitch vibes, but she looks nice while doing so. 

    • Alyssa

      I like to think she’s going into an arranged marriage, and clearly not happy about it! But man, can she wear clothes!

  • funfashionfan

    Why does she always wear her hair like this? It would be nice if she would mix it up a little. Dress is adorable, though.

  • IAmJ

    I really love the way this dress is styled on the model. I think it needed to be styled more ‘aggressively’ on Rooney as well. Plus, with her posing, she’s not really working it like a McQueen dress should be worked.

  • Judy_S

    Is she keeping her name or going for hyphenation?

  • hillmad

    She looks like she’s ready for a “Dynasty” quicky wedding. Sorry, those shoulder pads say Linda Evans to me! Beautiful, but bridal.

  • She needed that belt or something like it and a black shoe, not a bootie though.

  • Tatiana Luján

    I love this so much that I don’t even care about the shoes. This is a WERQ for me.

  • are stylists not let in on what colour the backdrops are going to be?  I always wonder when you see things like this…

  • halleyg

    I like this, but think the length should be just a little bit shorter. Agree on the shoes.

  • The dress is DIVINE. The shoes are a HORRID pairing. McQueen is rolling in his grave right now b/c of those shoes….

  • eowyn_of_rohan

    She looks really great.  Glad she’s not trying to carry over Lisbeth Salander-inspired fashion picks now that her press run for that is well over.  She can transform herself pretty seamlessly.

  • A really amazing dress.  The workmanship on the embellishments is incredible. And Rooney Mara is one of the few humans who could bring this off without looking like an abandoned bride.

    Shoes?  Same style, in periwinkle blue. 

    • MilaXX

      I like your shoe choice, but that makes ut even more bridal to me because that shoe color would be my something blue

      •  How about charcoal gray?

        • MilaXX

          I think it just needs a fierce, edgy shoe to get away from the bridal look, not a nude pump

          • DeborahJozayt

            Something with spikes or studs, perhaps?

          • MilaXX

            Not sure I’d add a spike or a stud to the mix, just something a little more standout than nude

          • pookiesmom

            I would love to steal J. Law’s dotted shoes from the next Emilio Pucci post, rip off the bow, and place them on Mara here.

  • The dress itself is interesting. The wearer is boring me to tears. 

    • CakesOnAPlane

      Rooney Mara is never going to wear a color ever again.

  • Boy, she and her sister simply do not like to smile, do they?

    • eowyn_of_rohan

      Most male stars don’t smile wide on the red carpet or even crack a grin.  I’ve got no problem with ladystars who go that same route.

      • lamamu

         I agree. I like it that she keeps herself to herself in a quiet way.

  • Beautiful dress, perfectly shaped, but I’m not that sure about the hair

  • alyce1213

    Tentative winter bride who looks like she may bolt.
    This is not just bridal, it’s BRIDAL.

  • imspinningaround

    Wearing it with the belt as the model is doing might have given it some edge, but I’m sorry, all I see here is early ’90s Gunne Sax short prom dress

    • Karen Maslowski

       Not in a million years. Gunne Sax was never, ever that stylish and edgy.

  • LearnedFoot

    I think it still looks bridal (white + embellished will always be somewhat bridal to me), but I appreciate that she’s wearing a jacket! With sleeves! In January! So many ladystars lately have been wearing slight little slip dresses on the red carpet, and I just want to had them some gloves and a hat.

    • alyce1213

      I don’t think it’s a jacket though.  It seems to be a flared layer, which is attached to the rest of the dress and gives the appearance of a jacket.  And I appreciate the long sleeves too.  I’d get married in it.

  • Ruth Preston

    The only thing I see in that whole picture is the severe middle part. It looks like an airport runway. It seems like, since she’s promoting something that’s not part of the Lisbeth Salander franchise, she might have softened the hair up just a little?

    • Me, too!  I can’t get past the severe runway on the top of her head!  Please, side part!  I’m begging the lady stars!!

  • Stubenville

    No, hate the flared top. I see 1960’s lampshade.

  • Stubenville

    Rooney’s shoe is inoffensive but dear God, WHAT does the runway model have on her feet? Pilgrim booties?

    • decormaven

      Quilted pilgrim booties.

  • EveEve

    Zosia Mamet and Rooney Mara – separated at birth?  This still looks bridal to me.  Winter Bridal.  And I can’t with the heavy lace epaulets weighing down the shoulders

    • charlotte

       Made me think of Zosia Mamet,too.

  • SewingSiren

    I LOVE this . White can go too virginal. But she is has such a gothic vibe about her with the dark hair and severe center part.  She looks even better than the model. I agree the shoes are kind of blah, black would have been better. Who is looking at the feet though? not me.

  • Squarah

    Love this, love her, and I especially love that taupe-y eye makeup. The shoes are definitely dragging the whole look down, but I might like them with something else.

  • nannypoo

    I might have liked a little less embellishment on the shoulders, but I think she looks great.

  • The hair and makeup are gorgeous. The dress still screams bridal. Only Uli’s white dress from the recent Project Runway AllStars meets most fashionistas requirements.

  • ballerinawithagun

    Looks like bad Etsy to me. So disappointed in McQueen, I usually adore Sarah’s work. The top, jacket thing should flow instead of being all pointy at the hem. Too much embellishment on the shoulders. I like the return of shoulders but this is ridiculous.

  • Call me Bee

    Fabulous dress!  It would have been a WERQ if she’d worn that black lether belt with it–she’s so edgy she could handle it well.  But it’s still a “Well Done!” 

  • jennsilentcrow

    i’m sorry but it looks like she walked through a wedding cake from 1978, instead of poppin out of it. i just cant get onboard with the “75% off all white trim” aspect of this..

  • fiestyfashionfem

    Ok – I love the dress too.  But what WOULD be the right shoes for a dress like that?  I’m wondering?  TLo? Bitter Kittens?  

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      A soft gray (pewter?) suede pump.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    Very pretty, but totally bridal.

  • MzzPants

    The Audrey-Bot lives on!

  • cleverlady

    I love it.  It feels very matador to me without being costume-y.  The severe hair, lack of jewelry all finish the image.  Shoes:  I wonder how the right shade of red might have worked.

  • BrooklynBomber

    Ix-nay on the oes-shay; the dress needs something edgier, and she could pull it off.

  • B_C_J

    This dress is incredible and she does it justice. The make up is wonderful and I love the severity of the hairstyle, the perfect counterbalance to the embellished dress.  I love her Mona Lisa smile as well. The whole effect is STUPENDOUS.

  • lrober03

    I don’t like white dresses on the red carpet because I’m squinting and trying to brighten and darken my screen to see the detail on the screen…. I think I like it?

  • Belvane

    Have to disagree with you on this one, gentlemen. The dress is interesting, but she’s done nothing with it other than put it on. It would look as interesting — maybe more so — on a mannequin. With some great earrings and shoes, this could have been a look.  

  • MsBusy

    Young robot Mrs. Haversham.

  • Laylalola

    Really? Bad bridal is all I can see (aside from the alarming zombie/drugged-out facial expression, that is). 

    • alyce1213

      Agree.  I just don’t get all the love for this.

  • formerlyAnon

    I agree with everyone who says it was the belt that pushed  this away from “bridal” – but I’d have ditched the belt as well. I think it obscures the flowing lines of the plain fabric-lace fabric boundaries and totally ruins the feel of the garment as an organic whole in which the various parts work together.

    It makes it a different, and in my opinion inferior, garment, in other words.

    The shoes are taking the safe way out – but white of any kind except maybe in spectator pumps really WOULD have been too bridal, and going beyond white or beige would take some mad stylist confidence without the belt to provide an anchoring color.

  • another_laura

    I wish the pure white would go away because I can’t see the details with these photos!  Horrible shoes, should go without saying but I can’t help it I’ll say it anyway.

    • I hate black dresses and suits because I can’t see the details!

  • poketom

    I think the shoes are perfect. That skirt stops at a place that I think anything besides a nude shoe would have pulled attention and made her legs look stubby. 

  • Susan Collier

    I think it needs a belt (and not a thin white satin belt)—like the runway version—to make this read as Not Bridal. 

  • shawnhunter

    she’s so striking and you’re right, on a less suitable wearer the dress would not work.

  • SapphoPoet

    Love the dress. Wish she’d kept the belt and shoes from the model, though, because they bring a bit of edge to all the white and lace. Fabulous silhouette, though. 

  • I’ve been trying for the last couple of years to figure out what they did to Rooney Mara that made her go from a totally boring girl-next-door nobody to this otherwordly, mysterious stylish starlet, and I think it comes down to severe hair, full eyebrows, being rail thin, and making impeccable fashion choices every single time. You will never see Rooney Mara with cockerspaniel hair (unless you look at pictures of her from 2011 or earlier.) Whoever is behind all of this has been very, very smart, and I don’t think it’s her. 

    Every time I see her, I think of Old Hollywood, where they’d take someone and change their hair, their make-up, their style, their name, their relationships, and turn them into a persona they could market the crap out of and fit into just-so roles. I know stuff like this still happens, but nowhere is it more obvious than with Rooney, if you’re at all aware of what she did or looked like before Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    • What if her new stylist is making her more like her real edgy self and her old stylist was making her boring and safe?

      Funny she has the same hair as the model though 🙂

      • From comments she’s made about her role in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and how she looked before she would have had a stylist, I think she probably is a lot more normal, and would look more average if following her own instincts and preferences, than she appears. 

        She does have the same hair as the model! I didn’t notice that. I think it’s a big part of why it doesn’t look bridal. It’s just so ugly no bride would ever do that to themselves.

    • pookiesmom

      This is very interesting. I mean, it helps that she could act circles around a lot of the starlets out there. A big part of why people (or at least, I) respond so well to her edgy persona is that she’s really, really good in the Dragon Tattoo movies. In my mind it’s what separates her from, say, Kristen Stewart, who is also sort of trying to give off the edgy vibe (albeit not in as art-housey a way). She’s all image and very little talent, whereas with Rooney, the image is supplementary to the talent.

      I agree that the team behind her transformation is really, really smart though. They took all of the momentum from the Dragon Tattoo movies and ran with it. They also couldn’t have chosen a better avatar for this persona (whether it’s real or contrived), because Rooney has the perfect features for this mysterious, badass but feminine character. It’s a perfect confluence of look, talent, and marketing.

    • aahlife

      She had her nose refined and botox that gives her forehead a smooth look.  She grew out her and arched her eyebrows – all aided in giving her her current otherworldly look.

  • Imasewsure

    Great dress for her… wish she’d rocked some eye-catching Lady Gaga hooves with this one though

  • guest2visits

    She wears this slightly unusual dress beautifully; and I can see her in the model’s version with black belt and shoes, equally well.

  • SugarSnap108

    I really like the shape in profile, but from the front those shoulders are a bit much.

    And she should definitely have worn the belt to cut down on the Snow Queen from the Nutcracker vibe.

  • crash1212

    Well, it WERQs for me.

  • LuisaNL

    corpse bride. 

  • Trisha26

    Totally agree! She’s very cool but the shoes are so sad…

  • Whatever team is behind this new Rooney Mara bot is doing a hell of a job.  She always looks amazing now and interesting, but for me she’ll always be that girl in the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.  Perhaps when she gets more movies to back up this new persona I’ll believe it, but for now her stylists are werqing, not her.

  • marilyn

    This looks like a costume with the skirt chopped off.

  • mhleta

    Whatever might be interesting about this dress is murdered by the corpse color. I have to take a pass on these all white dresses. They almost always annoy me. 

  • mhlmh

    I prefer the white dress from a few posts back: Holland Roden in Alice + Olivia

  • mmc2315

    The belt and shoes on the runway version steer it clear of bridal.

  • Is it a bad thing that her hair part and make-up immediately made me think, “T’Pring”?

  • patticake1601

    It’s a gorgeous dress….for a bride.

  • famousamy

    She looks like she could be another Olsen sister.

    •  I was actually thinking “female Tom Hiddleston” in that close-up pic of her face. There just struck me as something Loki-esque about it. This is not, of course, a bad thing in any way.

  • MissAmynae

    I love me some Rooney/McQueen collaboration!!  Quiet is a great way to describe this.  Speak softly and carry a big stick, Roonster!

  • Lilithcat

    Has she taken up bullfighting?  Because that sure looks like a suit of lights translated into a dress.

  • librarygrrl64

    Different shoes, and I wish she had kept the belt.

  • Ah, a fashionable straight jacket, lol.  I like it, it looks good and she looks a little nuts.  Fucking hell tho, I hate her shoes.

  • MarissaLG

    So Spanish! Love it. 

  • altalinda

    I think that the dress is wearing her, instead of the other way around.

  • libraangel

    Don’t like the shoes either, but the dress is cool. Only I maybe would want it straight and about 1-2 inches shorter.

  • subwaycars

    Still over the white, and I don’t even particularly like the dress, but Rooney is pulling it off.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    It’s very pretty, but I find myself singing Don Quixote songs. Hrmm…

  • julesj

    Why would she wear those shoes???? They look so bad with that dress. 

  • Corazon Nunez

    Wow, she’s pretty.

  • margaret meyers

    This is as good as we’ve ever seen her.  Even her fey expression is working with this dress.

  • quiltrx

    I like it–quite different, and I especially like all the ‘icing’.

  • Lilak

    My goodness, Rooney Mara can even wear a wedding cake well!  

    (But the photo I’d want to keep looking at is the headshot … ) 

    • l_c_ann

      I’d happily give the top of the bolero a home in a deep-box picture frame against a dark background.  The work on the shoulders deserved to be appreciated on its own without all the stuff going on scroll down.

  • what kind of shoes would you have chosen then?! I AM FLUMMOXED.

  • I like this. I also much prefer it without the belt and shoes that the model is sporting, but I would have put different shoes on Rooney. 

  • Aurumgirl

    It’s a wedding dress.  Slightly different from the vast majority of them in that it has sleeves, but that’s the only deviation from the “textbook” wedding dress, no matter how it is accessorized.  The girl who accessorized it with hoofy boots and a big wide black belt is still about to march down the aisle. 

  • pookiesmom

    She looks amazing, but her persona is doing 100% of the heavy lifting here. The dress is gorgeous, but I feel like she is the only starlet on the planet who could take it out of bridal territory.

  • ccm800

    still bridal. 

  • LOVE it in the last pic (profile), but from the front, I don’t like where that cape/Bolero hits on her.  But the profile and back views make me love the dress.

  • unbornfawn

    For me, white is a summer color and rarely does it seem suitable in the winter.