“Clothes have always been important to me, mostly because I think they are a way of expressing yourself,” Maggie Gyllenhaal, whose latest role is the new face of New York City–based womenswear brand Lafayette 148, recently told Vanity Fair. “I remember my mom used to say that she always remembered things, places, and events by what she was eating, and I remembered them by what I was wearing.”
Lafayette 148, which Gyllenhaal described as embodying “elegance and a little bit of wildness,” tapped the Academy Award–nominated actor, director, and screenwriter as the face of their fall 2023 collection after she wore a black silk tailored jacket over a matching tea-length gown from the brand—which she paired with a bold red lip—to the Save Venice Gala in New York.
“Her take on modern evening…read slightly mischievous while refined,” Lafayette 148 creative director Emily Smith said. “This personified my admiration for her unique sense of sophisticated style and intellectual work—both on and off camera, and particularly in her screenwriting…. I admire her sense of ease, her sense of self and her humble, quiet, yet powerful confidence! I couldn’t be more excited to unveil this campaign and tell this very special story together.”
For Gyllenhaal, partnering with Lafayette 148 was a perfect fit because it was more than a modeling gig, but offered an opportunity to discuss her work. “Of course it’s clothes that are the center of all of this, but the clothes became a kind of excuse to talk about a lot of other things and a lot of things that are interesting to me, like writing and movies and women,” she said.
The forthcoming collection’s theme is “In the Library of Women” and was photographed at both the Brooklyn Public Library and in a Brooklyn brownstone, the borough that’s home to both Gyllenhaal and the brand’s design atelier. In the campaign, there’s an easy synergy between the clothing and Gyllenhaal as she moves through the picturesque scenes. As for her favorites from the collection, which Gyllenhaal calls “very wearable,” she spotlights pieces that have “real wildness to them,” notably a standout pair of gray leather pants. “They’re very kind of ’70s and I almost feel like Yoko Ono wearing it or something really cool. Unusual, beautiful color, gray,” she said.
Changing from a cozy champagne-colored coat styled with jeans into a crisp white blouse, suiting, a leather set, and knits, Gyllenhaal is modeling a wardrobe that mirrors her creative approach, one that allows for focus and feeling.
“My process is just about turning my attention to something…. Once you turn your attention to something, it can and hopefully it will become a situation where everything around you is grist for the mill. Everything around you becomes relevant to what you’re working on. A song you hear, an interaction you have. That’s when the work really gets flowing. I find often if I’m struggling with something, I can work, work, work, I can hammer at it, I can nudge it, and often that is not the right thing to do.”
“The thing to do is to kind of step back, it is true for acting too, to step back and just go, okay, let’s just see if I make space, [if this] will bubble up. But that only works if you’re already in the mindset of kind of, the project beating with your heart and being in your mind all the time,” she said.