Leomie Anderson: ‘Putting on this dress took 30 minutes – but it was such fun to wear’ – The Guardian

For the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the Cannes film festival this year, I designed my own dress from scratch with the designer Rami Kadi. We had three months to put it together – it was such an incredible experience. The dress was made from tulle with Perspex shards, so it looked like a mirrored body piece, with a massive matching train. I got to decide the shape and the colour – I felt as if I had total control of the final look, which was really important to me. As a model, it’s not something I often experience, so I felt really grateful.

Putting on the dress was a true struggle; it took about 30 minutes. We didn’t account for the body piece being so heavy and, because it was covered in the Perspex shards, it was quite painful to do it up. Once the dress was on, I couldn’t go to the toilet and I had to do my hair and makeup wearing it, but it was so much fun. Rami had to take the dress back after I had worn it because I couldn’t travel with it – and there is no space for even a bra in my room where I live, let alone a ballgown. But once I get my new house, I am definitely requesting it back.

The back of Leomie Anderson’s dress.

The back of Leomie Anderson’s dress. Photograph: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images

What people don’t know is that when you are on the red carpet, it’s very intimidating. Photographers are shouting at you to get your attention, so you are turning around, but then your dress gets all wrapped around your legs. They are still taking pictures and you just have to hold it together. When you watch videos of a red carpet event, they put lovely music over it and it looks really relaxed, but it’s not like that in reality: there is no music.

I like playing around with my look and making a statement. I don’t like to play it safe, but my day-to-day style can really vary: sometimes I feel very preppy and I might wear vintage Ralph Lauren, other days I want to be comfortable and cosy, and I will wear my own sportswear brand, Lapp. Sometimes I want to be glamorous and that’s when I have fun on the red carpet, go all out and think of something really dramatic to wear.