Greta Gerwig has gone from improvising in no-budget films with her pals to starring alongside Ben Stiller in Greenberg, but what you've heard less about is the fashion education she's been getting lately. The 26-year-old actress was studying up, in a way, at a launch party for Prada's new Swing sunglasses line at Joe's Pub in New York. The house had lent her a camouflage dress for the occasion—"military Betty Draper," she suggested, referring to January Jones's pin-up housewife in Mad Men. (PHOTO COURTESY PRADA)
For the jazz-themed party, Prada put svelte models in sixties beehives and shades. "I love models up-close, they're so beautiful," Gerwig enthused. Fashion, the Columbia grad added, is "this whole part of New York that I knew existed, but was never part of." And while her roles in critically successfully little movies like Hannah Takes the Stairs and Baghead (whose creators, Jay and Mark Duplass, just dipped a toe into the mainstream with Cyrus) put her on the indie film map, they hardly prepared her for Prada parties.
But now that her star is rising—Gerwig is appearing alongside Russell Brand in Ivan Reitman's upcoming Arthur remake, and it was recently revealed that she's been cast in Whit Stillman's next project—and, having walked the carpet at international Greenberg premieres, she's starting to see the whole dress-up thing from the other side. "I think when you're sitting at home looking at magazines or watching the Academy Awards, you think to yourself, ‘Why do you look bad? I would do it right.' Then you're there and you're like, ‘Oh my god, it's so hard to look good.'"
Luckily, Ralph Lauren and Albert Ferretti have also been sending dresses her way, and Gerwig has struck up a helpful friendship with Vogue stylist Heidi Bivens. "She's the one who usually gives me the disapproving shake of the head," Gerwig said.
Of course, she isn't totally helpless. Gerwig cites the time a studio exec suggested using the wardrobe team from one of her earlier films. "He really liked the way I looked," she said. "But it was just me! I cut my own hair and bleached it and then picked out those clothes. I have style!"