By Andrea Cheng. Photos: Getty Images.
NBC’s hit drama This Is Us, starring Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, has achieved a great deal of things in a remarkably short amount of time (it’s only been on the air for six months, FYI), like earning a Golden Globes nomination, addressing sensitive issues (body image, drug addiction, race), and turning even the most resolute stoic into a weeping, blubbering mess. But what it’s also done is catapult Moore back into the spotlight after more than a decade of flying under the radar.
And if you’ve been tracking her moves on the red carpet, from the Globes to countless press junkets, you know she has banked a fair number of knockout looks this year alone. You might even have been surprised. Where did the ‘90s pop princess go? Is that the same girl who once dropped a song called “Candy”? And starred in A Walk to Remember, the movie that brought my entire generation to tears?
The credit goes to Moore’s stylist Erica Cloud, who gets it—she understands where people are coming from. “Mandy’s been out of the scene and that was maybe someone’s last reference point for her,” Cloud says. “She grew up in the public eye; back then she was a girl, and now she’s matured, she knows her sense of self, she’s a completely different person.”
The two met through mutual friends about a year ago and they immediately hit it off. And together, they fused their two aesthetics (sweet and feminine for Moore, masculine separates for Cloud) to construct a look that’s at once modern, yet timeless; minimalist, yet playful; sexy, yet modest—but most importantly, a look that successfully takes Moore out from a ‘90s context and places her securely in the present. And it all started with that plunging caped Naeem Khan gown (scroll down to see) she wore for her stroll on the Globes red carpet (you could say it was another walk to remember; sorry, had to).
“It was important that we incorporated sexiness to certain looks, because people are used to her being sweet and cheerful in her teens. And now she has a different type of presence, and it’s not obvious sexy—I think it’s more subtle, more sensual,” Cloud says. “The [Naeem Khan] gown was the first one we tried for the Globes and we knew that was it—there was a plunge, and the back was open, too, but because of the sheer cape, there was a nice balance.”
Since then, there’s been a parade of one hit after another, evolving from safe black dresses to more experimental looks that play on new silhouettes and bold colors. Cloud calls out an off-the-shoulder forest-green Lela Rose set, featuring puffed sleeves and a slight peplum top (a personal favorite of Moore’s), a one-shoulder orange Solace London gown, and a fluorescent yellow-and-lavender DVF dress designed by Jonathan Saunders as key examples. The next step? A push from Cloud for Moore to embrace separates and tailored suits, though that’s not to say that they’ll abandon dresses altogether.
“We’re trying to mix it up—if we do a super-sweet dress one day, then we’ll flip it and go for an androgynous suit the next time. It’s a very collaborative process—I don’t force anything on her, but we’ll find a happy medium,” Cloud explains. “She’s someone who I truly admire and believe in, and I’m happy that people are seeing that and it’s being reflected in the response to her show and to her red looks. I can’t wait to see what else we’re going to do.”
Keep reading to find out Cloud’s top five Mandy Moore looks from the year so far.
In Naeem Kahn at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards
“I have to say the Golden Globe Awards for obvious reasons—the [Naeem Khan] gown was the first one we tried for the Globes and we knew that that,” Cloud says.
In Lela Rose at the This Is Us Screening During PaleyFest
“Mandy has a great relationship with Lela Rose, and it’s because her designs are a modern take on sweet styles,” Cloud says. “We went to Lela’s fashion week show in New York and when this look came down the runway, we looked at each other and were like, ‘That’s it.’ It was our favorite—it’s a great balance between feminine and masculine. It shows skin, but not in an obvious way, and then there’s the voluminous sleeve. We love it.”
In Marc Jacobs at the Elle Women in Television Celebration
“This dress was so punk rock—it was covered in bottle caps and patchwork,” she says. “And I loved it because I was so proud of Mandy for going for it.”
In Adeam at the This Is Us Screening Finale
“This was a beautiful, elegant look. I don’t usually love a high-low dress, but this was an exception. And that tomato red is my favorite shade because I think it looks universally good on everybody,” Cloud says. “I also loved that she looked like the red-dress dancing lady emoji; she struck the same pose and posted it on Instagram.”
In Salvatore Ferragamo at the Directors Guild of America Awards
“This look was so Helmut Newton and cool. So simple, so sexy, so chic,” Cloud says. “It was just a black suit with a little sheer triangle bra, with androgynous hair and makeup. I was proud of her for doing the dark lip.”
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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