If you’re like us, you’re still talking about The Undoing: the delicious HBO miniseries starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant was one of the year’s binge-worthy (and dramatic) shows. Actor Lily Rabe, who you know from American Horror Story, was also one of the series’s best casting choices, starring as Sylvia Steinetz, the best friend and confidante to Kidman’s character. Now that the show has aired and is part of the mainstream conversation, Rabe admits she was initially surprised at the hype that the miniseries received. “I was surprised, but not because I didn’t think people would love the show—but because I just find it’s never useful for me to try to anticipate how something will be received,” she says. “That part of a job is the icing, and this one turned out to have a lot of delicious icing.”
To generate that hype, Rabe has been embarking on a virtual press tour this past month, pulling off a series of Zoom appearances. Now that almost all events have been moved online, stars have had the chance to focus on waist-up, pared back looks instead of going for the drama. But Rabe didn’t stick to that script. Instead, she committed to a romantic theme that translated just as well on video as it would have in a studio. The clothes were worthy of a real-life step and repeat: Rabe slipped into floral frocks with tons of whimsical detailing, like puffed shoulders and billowy hems, by labels such as The Vampire’s Wife. The end result was one of the fiercest press tour wardrobes of 2020, proving a digital experience can still be entirely fabulous.
Going into the tour, Rabe, who is a lover of fashion, wanted to rebuke the idea of waist-up dressing, and commit to full-on looks instead. Her many floor-length gowns, for instance, couldn’t even be seen on camera—yet Rabe still went for it, Christian Louboutin heels and all. “I scrapped the idea of thinking about [virtual press] as limiting, or that it’s only waist-up, and just chose pieces I would wear if I were doing press in person,” says Rabe. “Fashion lights me up and is such an integral part of doing press—why short shrift any of it just because we are in front of screens for the time being?”
The actor worked with stylist Jessica Paster to find outfits that mimicked her everyday style, albeit amplifying it with a more glamorous finish. “Lily has a cool, clean style,” says Paster. “And she wears clothes beautifully: At 5’9, Lily wears the clothes—the clothes don’t wear her!” Together, they pulled looks from Khaite, The Vampire’s Wife, and Maison Mayle, among other brands. “[The looks] are quite reflective of my day-to-day style, however, perhaps not entirely reflective of my quarantine style,” Rabe says. “I was particularly hungry to wear some of my favorite designers like Maison Mayle and The Vampire’s Wife. Jane Mayle and Susie Cave are uniquely inspiring to me as women, as designers. My favorite of the run was the deep blue The Vampire’s Wife. To me, it’s perfect.”
Playing dress up in these elegant, floral frocks and ruffled blouses gave Rabe an opportunity to keep playing with fashion, as she’s done throughout the year. “I was pregnant in the beginning of the year, and pre-pandemic, was finding ways to continue to wear some of my favorite pieces from my closet—Mayle, Khaite and The Row—with my growing belly,” she says. “After March, I admittedly shifted gears, but I still found ways to wear things that brought me joy. In fact, we ended up in a routine of dressing up and dancing after dinner for months, so I was pulling long skirts and dresses out of my closet for me and my older daughter, and then just adding tutus and tiaras.” Her The Undoing press tour looks may not have been as personal and memory-making, but they were still a case study in major chicness.
Below, more of Rabe’s best press tour looks.