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U.K. Gold: Up-and-Coming British Stars

Abysmal climate conditions notwithstanding, Britain is a hothouse of beauty and talent.

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Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 04/10/2009

Abysmal climate conditions notwithstanding, Britain is a hothouse of beauty and talent. Among the English Roses who rank among Hollywood’s hottest are Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Rachel Weisz, to name a few. Now a new generation of fashionable female talent hopes to join their ranks. already household names in the U.K.- or on their way- each is hoping to bring her star power to this side of the pond in the year ahead.


EMILY BLUNT,
ACTRESS (26)

This story first appeared in the April 10, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

WHEN A STAR IS BORN: In her scene-stealing turn in The Devil Wears Prada, Blunt’s withering glares and perfectly timed put-downs earned her a spot on movie-makers’ maps. She recently took on a more regal role as the lead role in The Young Victoria, which opened in the U.K. in February and is awaiting U.S. distribution. Two more Blunt films, Sunshine Cleaning and The Great Buck Howard, debuted in the U.S. in March.

THE DEVIL’S ASSISTANT WEARS PRADA, TOO:
Blunt has a classic take on style, which veers from unstudied casual looks to sleek eveningwear, often opting for dresses by Prada and Marchesa.

MIRROR MIRROR: Blunt jazzes up her archetypal combination of pale complexion and blue eyes by experimenting with her hair color, including russet and chocolate brown.

CHANNELING:
Kristin Scott Thomas

THE REEL DEAL: Upcoming film projects include The Wolfman with Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro, which will open in October; she’s currently filming Gulliver’s Travels with Jack Black

KIMBERLEY NIXON, ACTRESS (23)

WHEN A STAR IS BORN:
Like many of her British acting brethren, Nixon cut her thespian teeth on period drama, having starred in the popular television dramatization of Cranford alongside Judi Dench and Francesca Annis, as well as an adaptation of Noel Coward’s Easy Virtue with Kristin Scott Thomas and Jessica Biel. She’s also appeared in more teen-oriented flicks, such as Wild Child and Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, which both opened in the U.K. in 2008.

COSTUME DRAMA: Nixon favors high-end brands, such as Matthew Williamson and Dior, as well as High Street ones, including Primark, Dorothy Perkins and New Look.

MIRROR MIRROR: Nixon opts for a fresh-faced look with a clear complexion and rose-hued cheeks.

CHANNELING:
Rosamund Pike

WHAT KIMBERLEY DID NEXT: While details were under wraps at press time, Nixon is due to begin filming a new project in April.

EMMA WATSON, ACTRESS (19)

WHEN A STAR IS BORN:
Playing wand-waving “mudblood” Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies since she was 10 years old, Watson has grown up on screen. She’s also played less mystical roles, including voicing Princess Pea in the cartoon The Tale of Despereaux, and appeared in a television production of Ballet Shoes.

MAGIC MOMENTS:
Belying her young age, Watson has seriously sophisticated style and regularly crops up at runway shows, such as Dior and Chanel.

MIRROR MIRROR:
Sporting strong eyebrows and rippling highlighted locks, Watson carries off both pale-and-interesting and California-cool to perfection.

CHANNELING:
Kate Winslet

FUTURE PORTENTS:
Watson is filming the final installment of the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, while mulling university options.

ALEXA CHUNG, TELEVISION PRESENTER (25)

WHEN A STAR IS BORN: A former model, Chung found fame on the small screen when she began hosting Popworld, a British, teen-oriented TV show, in 2006. Since then, her blend of shtick, style and savvy socializing have made her a household name. She’s been the host of numerous shows, including the music and fashion program Frock Me with designer Henry Holland and Gok’s Fashion Fix, plus she regularly hosts T4, a weekend pastiche targeted squarely at adolescents.

STYLE SURFING:
A cover girl for British Elle in October 2008, Chung has a chic yet relaxed style, which incorporates both high-end and High Street brands. She’s one of a cast of PYTs who decorates the front rows during Paris Fashion Week, and she DJ-ed at a Fendi party in March. In addition, she’s the face of fast-fashion chain New Look’s latest ad campaign.

MIRROR MIRROR: Chung tends toward a carefully disheveled look with slightly mussed up hair. Makeup is generally minimal, save for a slick of eyeliner.

CHANNELING:
Chloë Sevigny

STAY TUNED: Chung has filmed a pilot for an MTV show.

TALULAH RILEY, ACTRESS (23)

WHEN A STAR IS BORN:
Playing her English Rose credentials to the max, Riley played a schoolgirl in the 2007 film comedy St. Trinian’s alongside a not so studious cast of belles, including Gemma Arterton and Lily Cole. One of her earliest roles was as a Bennett daughter in the 2005 remake of Pride and Prejudice alongside Keira Knightley.

THE LIFE OF RILEY: A budding “It” girl, Riley often crops up on the party circuit and in fashion magazines. In October, she and close friend and actress Tamsin Egerton modeled Amanda Wakeley designs for a shoot in Tatler magazine.

MIRROR MIRROR: With a broad smile and tumbling brown locks, Riley alternates between high-octane vixen makeup, complete with look-at-me red lipstick, and pristine but perfectly pretty looks.

CHANNELING:
Julia Roberts

READY FOR CASTOFF: Riley is part of the star-studded ensemble cast of The Boat That Rocked, which also includes Emma Thompson and Philip Seymour Hoffman. It opened in April in the U.K. and will be released in the U.S. in August.

VV BROWN, SINGER AND MUSICIAN (25)

WHEN A STAR IS BORN: Brown’s debut album Travelling Like The Light is tipped to be a hit following its launch later this year in the U.K. (A U.S. launch date has yet to be confirmed.) Retro undertones give her toe-tapping, head-nodding sound an irresistibly catchy quality, a formula that’s worked like a charm for other Brit chart toppers, such as Amy Winehouse and Duffy.

BOP AS YOU SHOP: Her distinctive eclectic style—complete with Grace Jones-esque leopard-print hooded tops, shiny leggings and a rockabilly coif—epitomizes what’s hot in cool Britannia.

MIRROR MIRROR: Brown’s signature makeup includes lashings of eyeliner. Retro influences abound.

CHANNELING:
Alicia Keys goes to the flea market.

THE BEAT GOES ON:
Brown has a serious passion for fashion and has an online boutique, dubbed vvvintage.com, in the works. During London Fashion Week in February, she performed at the Ashish runway show and took front-row perches at Topshop Unique and Vivienne Westwood Red Label.

VICTORIA HESKETH (AKA LITTLE BOOTS), SINGER AND MUSICIAN (24)

WHEN A STAR IS BORN: Like fellow popstrel Lily Allen, pint-sized pop-star-in-waiting Hesketh, better known as Little Boots, has built up a fan base on MySpace, regularly serenading internauts from her home with her own songs and covers.

STYLE SCALE: A fan of Alexander McQueen, Felder Felder and Antipodium, Hesketh’s ensembles veer toward the sparkly end of the glitz spectrum.

MIRROR MIRROR: Hesketh’s no shrinking violet when it comes to cosmetics. She piles on false lashes and over-the-top eye makeup. Hair styles vary from Debbie Harry-like coifs to Heidi-style braids.

CHANNELING:
Kylie Minogue with a souped-up synthesizer.

BOOTS’ NEXT STEP:
Hesketh will launch her much-hyped first album in June.

 

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