How Stylist Samantha McMillen Dresses a "Unicorn" Like Elle Fanning

Elle Fanning BFA - Publicity - P 2016
Steve Lucero/

Elle Fanning BFA - Publicity - P 2016

Given Fanning's mantra is "never say no to sparkle," her stylist makes sure there's always plenty of shine.

In defiance of the date on the calendar, fall fashion ads and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the L.A. heat was raging on Tuesday afternoon, subsiding just a tad to a sultry 85 degrees by the time guests began arriving at a private residence in Beverly Hills for a poolside dinner as the sun set over the city. 

The occasion, hosted by stylist Samantha McMillen, was the celebration of ASOS fall collection, which included thigh-high suede boots admired by singer Eden XO and her stylist, Johnny Wujek, as well as glitzy accessories — a tiara and a sparkling clutch, to be specific — which almost seemed to be calling to McMillen's longtime client and date for the evening, Elle Fanning. 

"Never say no to sparkle," Fanning joked to Pret-a-Reporter of her red-carpet mantra. "My nickname is actually 'Unicorn' with Samantha," she admitted. The pair have been working together for five years (McMillen also dresses the elder Fanning sister, Dakota), and have cultivated a passion for all that glitters, from eye makeup, to sparkly center parts and of course, gowns.  

Most recently, the pair worked together on the press tour for Neon Demon, a film about vampire models which has plenty of sparkle in its own right. "We always draw a little inspiration from the film, but we also choose the items we like the best and if it happens to crossover it’s a bonus," said McMillen of the duo's strategy for press tour. 

We can expect to see both sisters on the red carpet in the coming months, (Elle for Twentieth Century Women, Dakota for American Pastoral) and you can rest assured that McMillen has had her eye on the recent runways for looks. "I’ve been requesting away as the shows go on. I’m probably annoying!" she said, listing Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung and Rodarte among the season's standouts. 


A photo posted by Elle Fanning (@ellefanning) on

Though McMillen is scouring the runways, she adds that their process is, ultimately, a collaborative one. "We send each other ideas all the time," she said, speaking on one of her favorite looks of recent memory, which was Fanning's Zuhair Murad couture gown at the Cannes Film Festival.

"The goal is always that even if you don’t remember which movie it was for, you remember that she was there," noted McMillen. "And that night I don’t think anyone will forget. 

UNFORGETTABLE: Elle Fanning in Zuhair Murad Couture at Cannes Film Festival. (Photo: Getty Images)