The moment that Nicola Coughlan first appeared on the style set radar is easy to pinpoint.
We were still bathing in the afterglow of the lascivious first season of Bridgeton, Netflix’s Regency era when Coughlan attended the 2021 Golden Globes. She went all out in a buttercup yellow Molly Goddard gown that featured an empire waist and layers of gold tulle. The 35-year-old completed the look with a tie cardigan, a sleek blonde bob and lots of pink eyeshadow.
The look was even more stunning considering the pandemic had kept her from attending the ceremony in person. She might be the only person who has ever looked chic on Zoom; for us viewers it was lust at first sight.
Since then the Derry girls Star’s style has continued to evolve, and while others may stick to the same tried-and-true formula, Coughlan keeps doing something new, experimenting with both her beauty look and her fashion sense.
Her dreamy Golden Globes outfit was just the beginning. She wore a custom-made bright orange Valentino dress to the Baftas last year, a ruffled periwinkle-blue Selezza London dress to a Tiffany launch at Harrods, and was lauded for the jeweled and feathered Richard Quinn gown she wore at this year’s Met gala performed.
And when an invitation to the Met Gala wasn’t enough to solidify her fashion status, Coughlan makes frequent appearances as well Fashionand she was asked to be a judge RuPaul’s Drag Race. Is there a higher Schneider award?
But Coughlan wasn’t always a fashion girl. Like she said Fashion In May, she used to be “pretty intimidated” by the industry, but her curiosity began to develop as she was surrounded by lavish dresses Bridgeton. She had just started dipping her toes into the world of high-end fashion when she met stylist Aimee Croysdill. Shortly thereafter, Coughlan became the next big thing on the red carpet.
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“Nicola approached me. She knew she had that Bridgeton Press tour is coming up, so we had our first blind date in Selfridges,” Croysdill tells me.
By this point, she’d already worked with several high-profile actors, including Laura Haddock, Lolly Adefope and Natalie Dormer — but it just clicked when she met Coughlan.
We always want to try something new, but also stay true to Nicola’s style
“We always meet; It’s funny how often we think the same thing,” says Croysdill. “Nicola has the most amazing collection of film references and I come in with the fashion reference that makes for a brilliant start to any red carpet concept. We always want to try something new, but also stay true to Nicola’s style.”
These references include everything from Shirley MacLaine in the 1964 film What a way! to Twiggy in the 1971s The boyfriend and Gwyneth Paltrow in Wes Anderson’s hipster classic of the early noughties The Royal Tenenbaums.
“I send references, colors and ideas to the fashion house and eagerly await the sketches,” says Croysdill.
“From there, Nicola and I tweak, refine and add components that we know work well. To see the ideas come to life when the giant boxes that they come in are unpacked is very exciting.”
There are two fashion houses Croysdill keeps turning to when dressing Coughlan: Valentino and Emilia Wickstead. Both allow for the modern yet timeless look the stylist has in mind Bridgeton Star.
She explains, “They always make the most incredible cuts and use chic, timeless designs with the perfect edge and modernity.”
It’s not just fashion editors who rave about Coughlan’s style — her looks have also garnered endless praise from social media fans.
“Whoever styles Nicola Coughlan gosh she does such a good job she is such a sweetheart and always looks lovely,” one person wrote. Another added: “Nicola Coughlan brings the energy of the big dress.”
Croysdill is delighted with the reaction. “Nicola is such a wonder; everything about her exudes kindness and her beauty radiates from the inside out. I think it’s exactly what the world needs.”
Perhaps the reason Coughlan’s style is so exciting is that she doesn’t have a typical sample size. It’s refreshing to see someone who isn’t gauzy wearing such high-end designers; It’s even better to see designers going out of their way to make bespoke dresses for you. In a way, she regains control of her body and her narrative.
Coughlan is used to people having opinions about her body, but that doesn’t mean she wants to hear them. In 2018, she called out a critic for calling her an “overweight little girl,” and in January this year, she took to Instagram to ask people not to share their opinions about her body with her.
“It’s really hard to take the weight of thousands of opinions about being sent straight to you every day,” she wrote.
Perhaps it’s Coughlan’s own subtle way of shifting the discourse around her body (which, let’s face it, shouldn’t be up for discussion anyway), turning to fashion — and having fun with it.
She often makes a deeper statement through the designers she works with. Take, for example, the candy-colored dress from Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino Spring/Summer 2022 collection that she wore to this year’s Baftas. Piccioli’s latest collections have focused on inclusivity; He has included models of every shape, size and ethnicity in his latest runway shows. For Coughlan to wear one of his dresses shows that she is on board with his vision, which is one step ahead of the rest of the industry.
“As a mother of two, I think ‘we’ as an industry need to celebrate kindness and realism,” says Croysdill.
“The standards were so tight that we have to rewrite them for our children’s future. It’s about celebrating who you are and I think Nicola is doing just that.”
The panache with which Coughlan navigated the red carpet suggests she’s poised to become an even bigger star. That’s already certain: your character Penelope Featherington will take on the leading role in the third season of Bridgeton when it releases early next year.
No one knows yet what’s next for Lady Whistledown – but we do know that with Croysdill by her side, Coughlan will continue to serve the looks. Long may the lust last.
https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/how-nicola-coughlan-made-red-carpet-dressing-exciting-again-41989654.html How Nicola Coughlan made red carpet dressing exciting again