WWD – The story of how Rooney Mara added “fashion designer” to her résumé is not unlike that of many who spot a hole in the market and aim to fill it: she couldn’t find what she wanted to wear in stores, and, believing others might feel the same, set out to create it herself.
A longtime vegan, Mara was struggling to find clothing that was both animal-free and at a quality level above fast-fashion.
“I’ve always loved Stella [McCartney] and I’ve worn Stella for stuff, but other than Stella there really aren’t many,” Mara says over the phone from Los Angeles. “In the last few years there have been a few other places that have popped up like Susi Studio, who makes a lot of vegan shoes, and Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather. I know a lot of them because I don’t wear or buy leather anymore, so I had to search around. But it wasn’t really exactly what I was looking for, which was how this thing sprang about. I had a need and I felt like there was a sort of gap in the market.”
Born from that was Hiraeth, a line of vegan and ethically made clothing, footwear and accessories, priced between $160 and $1,500, that Mara founded with close friends Chrys Wong and Sara Schloat. Launched this past February, the line has expanded into Barneys this August, with plans for further growth on the horizon.
“I’ve known Sara since I was little; we grew up in the same town and went to school together and have always loved fashion together,” Mara says. “We had been talking about doing something like this for awhile.” She and Wong, a former wardrobe consultant for Barneys, met around seven years ago.
“That’s how this conversation started; if we’re searching for that wardrobe we might as well make that wardrobe, and maybe sharing that wardrobe for people,” Wong says.
With thanks to the wonderful Emily, I’ve updated our gallery with some great photos of Rooney from the Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot premiere held at ArcLight Hollywood on Wednesday night. It’s great to see her again!
MARIE CLAIRE UK – Rooney Mara is one of those actresses who always seems to make the right career choices. From The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the bestselling novel turned Hollywood blockbuster, to Carol, a beautiful tale about forbidden love, every film she’s in is either a box-office smash or a well-loved indie flick. The woman has been nominated for two Oscars for goodness sake. Well guess what? She’s made another great career-defining decision by signing up to be the face of Givenchy Parfum.
Already a friend of the brand, she’s often seen working the red carpet sporting the brand’s intricate designs, take for example last night at the 2018 Met Gala in New York. Romain Spitzer, Givenchy Parfums CEO, explains why she is the perfect fit for the brand: “Rooney is a captivating actress with a remarkable talent. Her committed and generous personality, elegant look and radiating intensity perfectly reflect the world of the new fragrance she will embody from Autumn 2018 onwards.”
She’s in good company; in the past Liv Tyler, Alicia Keys and our previous cover star, Amanda Seyfried, have fronted campaigns for the brand’s female fragrances.
Annoyingly, we’ll have to wait until Autumn to see any pictures, but if this pair is anything to go by we know that we’ll be hooked. If you can’t wait that long, she’ll be appearing as the title character, alongside Joaquin Phoenix, in Mary Magdalene, which is out now.
ANOTHER – In support of 2018’s Fashion Revolution Week – an opportunity to reconsider the industry’s impact on the world, and the people living in it – anothermag.com is running a week-long series of stories about ethical fashion. Here, we sit down with Rooney Mara to find out more about her new cruelty-free brand, Hiraeth.
Who is it? Seemingly not content with a career as a critically acclaimed, award-winning actress and dedicated philanthropist, Rooney Mara has turned her attention to the fashion industry with new design venture Hiraeth. As an almost lifelong vegetarian and longtime vegan, Mara’s brand was born not out of a burgeoning desire to design but more so out of a frustration with not being able to find clothes that allowed her to maintain her personal values, across all aspects of her lifestyle. “A few years ago I decided to stop wearing and buying leather. I really love clothes and it was really challenging to find anything that felt like it was high quality and designed, especially shoes,” she explains. “There are a lot of more inexpensive vegan options, and to me they were cruelty-free in the animal sense but I couldn’t be sure where they were being made and if they were cruelty-free in the human sense. There are a lot of people doing faux fur and faux leather but there isn’t really anyone who have also cut out wool or silk – we don’t use any animal products whatsoever.”
The word ‘Hiraeth’ translates from Welsh as ‘a sense of longing or homesickness for a home you never had, or cannot return to’. “It just really resonated with me with what we were trying to do,” Mara says. “It’s a feeling that I’ve had so many times in my life. In the world we live in today there’s just such a an extreme disconnection from everything, from each other, from the earth, from what we eat, what we wear. The meaning of Hiraeth reminded me of that of what we were trying to get back.” These feelings were mirrored in those of Mara’s childhood best friend Sara Schloat and they founded the brand together. “We’ve lived across the street together since I was one!” Mara says. “We’ve been best friends since we were 11 and have been wearing the same clothes since that time, we’ve always shown up in matching outfits by accident. We have very similar style and sensibilities.”
With neither of their backgrounds lending themselves to that of technical design, the creation process has been one of shared references alongside an appreciation for classic cuts and staple pieces. “I’ve always had very strong opinions about design in a sense but I wouldn’t call myself a designer,” Mara muses. “We have references from culture, art, we design that way, through sharing things. I think more than anything there was a mood that was very clear to me, I was particularly inspired by female artists who were socially minded or rule breakers, those pushing boundaries with art, people who were eccentric or showing the underbellies of societies.” The brand’s Instagram feed reads as an open scrapbook of these inspirations, as a portrait of Diane Arbus (who inspired a pair of studded faux-leather slippers of the same name in the debut collection) sits alongside drawings by Egon Schiele and Kiki Smith.
Why do I want it? The debut collection juxtaposes soft suiting, shirts and slip dresses in shades of ivory ‘satin’ with buttery faux-leather trousers and harnesses matched with sturdy, built-to-last footwear, in the form of combat boots and minimal loafers. Interchangeable and simple to self-style, it is created with wearability and practicality at its heart. “I love clothes, I love fashion and I love looking at it on other people but I don’t like getting dressed every day, so I wanted the clothes to have a uniform quality to them,” Mara explains. “It comes from my own sensibilities. We wanted to make clothes for a modern woman who is slightly rebellious and edgy but also dreamy and romantic. That’s kind of how I would describe myself, I like those two edges of things.”
Despite their firm brand values, Mara insists Hiraeth is not asking its audience to adopt an entirely new lifestyle to be able to wear the clothes. “It’s not realistic for most people, I think it’s better to go into it slowly,” she says. “I just wanted to provide another option that was both high quality and design. A lot of people who are going to buy our clothes probably won’t be vegan but maybe they’ll expand their consciousness about the materials of their clothes and shoes in a way they’ve never thought about before.”
Where can I buy it? From August 2018, follow @hiraeth.collective on Instagram to see the brand’s ongoing creation process, and launch announcements.
Mary Magdalene is currently due for a theatrical release in the UK and Australia, and reviews have begun to emerge over the past few days. Naturally, not all of them are positive, but I have included a short round-up of some that have been released so far – notably for their comments on Rooney’s performance. You can view the full review by clicking the respective publication links.
ABC NEWS AUSTRALIA – Rooney Mara, with a presence that’s magnetic, though sometimes enigmatic to the point of impenetrable. Cast opposite Joaquin Phoenix’s wild-eyed, troubled Jesus, she’s a solemn character who watches silently and tries to penetrate the surface of things.
NME – Mara’s standout performance is filled with piercing looks and smouldering intensity. She runs rings around Phoenix, who plays the Son of God like a stoned Obi Wan Kenobi – lots of gazing wistfully at the sunset and mumbling incoherently.
LITTLE WHITE LIES – Rooney Mara in the title role manages to hold our attention even when the film focuses on the preacher, her performance outshining that of Joaquin Phoenix as the Son of God.
EMPIRE – We get to see how Mary might really have lived, hauling fish nets with her sisters on the shore of Galilee, and resisting her father and brother’s attempts to marry her off with such nonconformist vehemence they assume demons have infested her soul. Portrayed with poise and resilience by Rooney Mara, she’s an initially compelling figure who appears in virtually every scene, whether enraptured by the sermons of Jesus (Phoenix), tending to the starving victims of Roman oppression, or defiantly tackling the jealousy of the other disciples, primarily the put-out Peter.
Although this wasn’t my first time watching Una, I’m still amazed by Rooney’s performance in this film. For me, it’s up there with Lisbeth Salander and Therese Belivet as one of her most complex, memorable and dynamic roles – and although critically acclaimed, unfortunately it didn’t draw attention from awards season. Over 700 screen captures from the Blu-ray release have been added to the gallery–please do take a look.
I’ve finally been able to update the gallery with some beautiful photos from Monday night as Rooney attended the Mary Magdalene screening in London, which was held at The National Gallery. My apologies for the delay adding them! Once again, thank you to the lovely Emily for the photos.
I’ve updated the gallery with Blu-ray quality screen captures of Rooney’s performance in The Secret Scripture, where she plays Roseanne ‘Rose’ Clear/McNulty, a young Irish woman who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital after being labelled a nymphomaniac and later accused of killing her baby. Although beautifully shot, I think this film will be quickly forgotten amongst her other work, but Rooney turns in yet another memorable performance (and her accent is very good). Enjoy!