Kristen Stewart, from pop icon to muse of a new style of cinema

Kristen Stewart in Chanel (courtesy Chanel)

She was the latest muse of Karl Lagerfeld. But what he was made of, he had already noticed a certain David Fincher who directed her, at the age of 9, in the thriller Panic room. The American director, presenting her alongside the most famous protagonist of the film, Jodie Foster, he found himself calling her “one of the most incredible actresses I’ve ever run into.” A baptism of fire that proved more than prophetic for Kristen Stewart, an instinctive and mysterious young diva, who often hid herself in the characters she interpreted to whom she was able to give fragility and strength, exploring their black holes and feeding them with her charisma to create, from time to time, unforgettable female figures. Mysterious like her, of course, but blessed with an absolutely commendable acting art that, over the years, has managed to balance blockbusters and indie films in equal measure. She diva and égérie of the most famous filmmakers but also shy girl and fearless activist. She is still the idol of teenagers and girlfriend of the most beautiful vampire in the world and, today, a committed actress and LGBTQ + champion in the smell of a wedding with her partner. An evolution that did not happen overnight but that accompanied Kristen’s personal growth in parallel with her career.

Brought to international fame by the saga of Twilight, the actress has not become fossilized in box office successes, but has mostly chosen to work in independent productions, interpreting complex and unconventional roles and sparing, from time to time, the judgment of critics. Named best actress of the decade in 2019 by Hollywood critics associations reluctantly, he catalyzed media attention both for his sentimental affairs and with his hardly pigeonholing personality that, more than all, conquered Karl Lagerfeld. Kaiser Karl made it the contemporary icon of him and of Chanel, recognizing that magnetism capable not only of evoking current women (enigmatic, intelligent, daring in their approach to fashion as well as to life), but to remember none other than Mademoiselle herself. To which Kristen, ça va sans dire, she lent her beautiful face in the short film Once and forever of 2014.

Kristen Stewart in Thom Bronw (courtesy Thom Browne / Getty Images)

But before she became an indie star with a couture pedigree, Kristen Stewart was an enfant prodige. This is thanks to the precocious talent, certainly, but also to the show-oriented family milieu. With a father who is a manager of the TV network Fox and a mother director and screenwriter, Kristen, who was born in Los Angeles in 1990, still found herself on the set when she was still a child despite having confided in her diary that she would have liked to entrust the sum of her aspirations to writing, or at least directing. But things did not go quite like this. At just over 8, Kristen had already made her first appearances on the small screen and had made her film debut in secondary but incisive roles that convinced Fincher to choose her as the diabetic daughter of Jodie Foster in the aforementioned Panic room of 2000. That his godmother was Foster, in retrospect, might seem like a sign of fate as the two-time Oscar-winning actress was not only a pioneer in coming out, but has a past as a child prodigy. Net of the ruminations, the fact remains that for the interpretation of her Kristen Stewart was nominated to the Young Artist Award 2003 and that her precocious shadow fascinated many directors who entrusted her with teenage roles always a little over the top, in which adolescence was investigated in all its nuances, including the darkest and most suffering (as in the Melinda Sortino raped by friend in Speak- The words I didn’t tell you, film of 2004) or placed side by side with sacred monsters from which it absorbed the craft like a sponge. From Sharon Stone And Dennis Quaid (Dark presences at Cold creek of 2003) a Meg Ryan And Olympia Dukakis (The kiss I was waiting for of 2007) passing through Robert De Niro And Bruce Willis (Disaster in Hollywood of 2007) up to Sean Penn who, in the same year, directed it in Into the wildthe film based on the manifesto-book of an entire generation.

Kristen Stewart at the Festival de Cannes (courtesy Chanel)

A respectable curriculum that was, however, overshadowed by the success of the cycle of Twilight based on the novels of Stephenie Meyerin which she was chosen to play the role of Beautiful Swanthe vampire’s sweetheart Robert Pattison protagonist of a perfect saga of love and death declined in 5 films. After which Kristen Stewart’s life was never the same. Ferried to the Olympus of teen idols, the shy young woman who was not very fond of crowds found herself having to deal with a global fame that engulfed her every desire for privacy. If she lost her private life (and, of course, the relationship she also had off-set with Pattison), Stewart did not hesitate to listen to the sirens of commercial productions but took the liberty, once more, to make counter-current choices that however, in the end, they turned out to be just as good.

In the meantime, however, her immature and vaguely androgynous beauty and her chameleonic attitude had captured the attention of Karl Lagerfeld who chose her as the face of the Chanel maison in more than one campaign, starting with the adv for Métiers d’art Paris-Dallas. 2013/14, until Mademoiselle Coco became a novel in her short film Once and forever, screened in Rome on the occasion of the presentation of the Métiers d’art 2015/16 collection which consolidated the professional and friendly relationship between the two. The relentless sense of style that characterized Kristen Stewart was particularly loved by the kaiser who found in her the same conscious lightness that the women of the maison, in homage to the founder, had to have and who loved to create extraordinary looks for her with which the actress walked the red carpets all over the world. She was the ideal ambassador of the Chanel signature thanks to her ability to transport the timeless luxury of the house in an absolutely natural and spontaneous dimension. A question of character but above all of a pure talent that made fashion another, important, mainstream stage for tailoring. Her rebellious and transforming spirit of her immediately made her the queen of an absolutely décontractée coolness, in which forays into a decidedly androgynous tom boy mood alternated with casual rock looks with sexy implications. With a constant. Her The idiosyncrasy for textbook stiletto heels, her Montée des marches barefoot in 2018 and the inevitable Converse Chuck Taylor in various chromatic variations.

Kristen Stewart in the film Spencer (courtesy Wikipedia)

But Kristen Stewart was certainly not a cover girl and to better define her image by abandoning the role of Bella once and for all, she began to make a series of bold choices from a professional point of view that had the merit, once more, of emphasize his versatility and his acting skills. So it was snow-white in Snow White and the Hunter from Rupert Sander (2012), a film also remembered for the sentimental complications that followed. There Marilou in On the road (2012) based on the cult novel by Jack Kerouacthe Lydia from Still Alice (2014) and especially the Valentinesecretary of Juliette Binochein Sils Maria (2015) of Olivier Assayas which earned her a prize César for her performance, the first American actress to win the French award. Woody Allen wanted her in Café society in 2016 and it was France that bulliedly returned to Stewart’s film book when, in 2019, she became the muse of the Nouvelle vague, Jean Sebergin the biopic inspired by the turbulent life of the French star in the sights of the Fbi for his political sympathies (see MFF of 4 January 2020).

But it was another biopic that consecrated the American actress and made her, literally, a princess. Or rather, she was a queen of hearts as she was Lady Diana to which the Chilean director Pablo Larrain dedicated the chat in 2021 Spencer (see MFF of 18 June 2020). In the imaginary reconstruction of the days preceding the divorce from Charles of Englandthe beautiful and fragile princess, disturbing and light at the same time was rendered perfectly on the screen by Stewart in an intimate and touching portrait and, above all, very elegant, thanks to the Chanel designer clothes worn on the set that earned her the first long-awaited Oscar nomination.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in a Twilight scene (Instagram @twilight)

Kristen Stewart had made Diana’s torment her own by finding in the princess many similarities with her life (“even if I don’t have to embody the ideals of a nation”, specified the actress), in particular with the often complex management of sentimental affairs. that fame brought under the light of the sun. And the paparazzi. Kristen had experienced firsthand what it meant to live a relationship followed step by step by the tabloids and had learned to exploit the media power that the private dimension of a public figure such as she was could have in influencing a large number of people. How? Simply by telling it. So it was that she stopped hiding her bisexuality from her world, but she made it a flag for others like her to do the same and feel really good about themselves.

And today, at just over 30, Kristen Stewart is the most interesting actress of contemporary cinema who is preparing to investigate on the other side of the camera, finally realizing her dream of directing that film, The cronology of watertaken from the writer’s mémoir in strong colors Lidia Yuknavitch which will enrich his creative vivacity with other, important nuances. (All rights reserved)

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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