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Jeremy O. Harris and Mel Ottenberg on Cannes Style: “Enjoy the Joy of Dressing”


Jeremy O. Harris is a bona fide Broadway-meets-Hollywood multihyphenate. And at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the Tony Award-nominated playwright and producer on HBOs Euphoria added another title to his resume: an actor in Sean Price Williams’ The Sweet East. The drama follows a young woman traveling along the Northeast coast of the United States and starring Talia Ryder, Jacob Elordi, Simon Rex and Ayo Edebiri.

The film premiered during the Director’s Fortnight portion of the festival on May 18, and in a FaceTime Audio interview on the way to another event the following day, Harris describes the cast’s approach to the red carpet as “walking down the street as if we were in a fantastic, behind-the-scenes French documentary of what it means to have your feature film debut at Cannes.”

For Harris, street style transitioned effortlessly into tapestry style thanks to the vision of celebrity stylist Mel Ottenberg, Interview magazine‘s editor-in-chief and Harris’ friend.

“Jeremy and I have been friends for a long time and it’s a lot of fun styling him. I really enjoy styling someone with a strong sense of style. It is a collaboration and (he) can also create many looks’, says Ottenberg The Hollywood Reporter By phone. “Jeremy has a natural, seedy ability to wear clothes in a way that is really cool. When he called me about Cannes, even though I was very busy with a lot of things I was doing Interview magazineI was like, “What the heck, because it’s really fun dressing him.” For the premiere, Ottenberg opted to dress Harris in Valentino couture menswear, sporting the sharp and relaxed black-and-white. white ensemble “a perfect choice for the event.”

“It’s very minimal, but it’s also graceful,” says Ottenberg. “It’s playing with the minimal vibe in fashion right now, but it’s still a little over the top.” (At the premiere after-party, Harris slipped into a more daring, all-red Ernest W. Baker look.)

THR the actor talks about his role as Matthew the sweet east, his pre-carpet preparation routine and his dandy-like approach to the art of dressing.

Jeremy O. Harris wore Valentino Haute Couture to the premiere of ‘The Sweet East’ at the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 18.

SGPItalia / Valentino

How did Cannes’ surroundings inspire your outfit and overall aesthetic for the premiere?

What I love about Cannes is that Cannes is one of the few places where both the respect for the film and the respect for the aesthetics allow you to enjoy the pleasure of getting dressed, right? So I decided to wear Valentino couture to enjoy the fun of dressing. That was one of the things Mel and I talked about a lot. This is my first time being an actor in a film at Cannes, so I really wanted to treat myself like the great actresses and show up and brag.

I wore the brand from head to toe. I don’t actually work with Valentino, but Pierpaolo (Piccioli) is a friend of friends, and Mel had such a great idea to come out with a bang, and I felt like… I never really show my tits , do you know? It was a good chance to be less Ivy League prep and more of a sexy flirt.

How is your working relationship with Mel? How much of your own style does he elevate, or does he really take the reins and are you willing to follow suit?

When you look at how he worked with Rihanna, it was really bad that he took a person who already had such a deep, complex, and rich personal style and allowed her to showcase her style in the best possible way. I think we will do that too. He showed me all the clothes he already knew was in my wheelhouse and also showed me things that might be outside my comfort zone. And in doing that, it forces me to do something different.

What was your actual preparation process like? How do you prepare and dress for the carpet?

I had two wonderful women who worked with me… and they showed me a lot of love. They gave me a massage, both on my scalp and on my face. We just loved each other a little while listening to (Korean-American singer) Yaeji’s new album With a hammer and just had a good laugh at all the different ways we could accentuate my beauty with a little tugging and tugging and highlighting and braiding. It was two women of color just hanging out with me. That’s the space I like to be in. My mother was a hair stylist and she took great care of the women she worked with. I like to surround myself with people who have the same sense of care when it comes to hair and makeup.

Do you fancy your role as Matthew in The Sweet East kinda inspired how you approached your tapestry style, or was that jeremy?

It was Jeremy, but it was also a nod to Matthew. Matthew is a bit of a glamazon. When you see in the movie he wears Thom Browne head to toe in one scene, and in multiple scenes he wears Bode head to toe, most of which are from my actual closet or were gifts from Emily Bode herself . I feel like Jeremy O. Harris and Matthew are both in their fop era, and so they’re very excited to be glamorous, queer fops of film and TV.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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