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The Ascent of Annabelle Wallis

Film and TV have fallen for the British actress, and now fashion has come calling too

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Being typecast isn’t something that thrills most actresses, but Annabelle Wallis doesn’t take issue with the hand she’s been dealt. From her role in Showtime’s medieval drama The Tudors to her part on the BBC’s 1920s gangster series Peaky Blinders, Wallis has in recent years made a name for herself in the period genre. “There’s a very contemporary way to hold yourself,” she says, “and there’s also a more classic way that you find. I slip into that role easier.”

But that retro poise has little bearing on her contemporary fashion sense. A darling of the style cognoscenti, Wallis, 31, is as likely to be spotted en route to a shoot in a Sportmax leather blazer and Helmut Lang jeans as she is to be found onset in a bustle and petticoat. It’s gotten her noticed by the major fashion houses: Prada has been a comrade since her early twenties, Dolce & Gabbana dressed her for last year’s Met Gala and she plays muse for a forthcoming Chloé campaign. When it comes to being a red-carpet fashion plate, Wallis is thrilled—if a bit weary. “It’s a girl’s dream, isn’t it? But you’ve got to work hard to be worthy of that respect,” she says. “There’s a trend of actresses getting lost in that world, and I want to be known for what I do.”

This year will certainly see her better known for what she does. Along with continuing her role on the third season of Peaky Blinders, Wallis will be logging serious time on the big screen. She’ll appear opposite Jude Law and Charlie Hunnam in Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, and will take a turn alongside Sacha Baron Cohen in the spy comedy The Brothers Grimsby. Cohen himself approached her for the role, and is glad that he did. “She turned out to be a hilarious comedic actress with perfect timing,” he says.

Still, Wallis isn’t getting comfortable just yet. “This year is representative of having worked hard and getting to the point where you have more opportunities,” she says. “I think for girls like me, it’s very important to make the right choices to create longevity.” 

In main image: Dress, $5,995, DOLCE & GABBANA, dolcegabbana.it.
Hair: James Brown using James Brown London. Makeup: Liz Pugh, both at Premier Hair and Makeup. Photographed on location: Snap Studios, London.