Rooney Mara, who plays the lead role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Mara edged out Scarlett Johansson, Carey Mulligan and Ellen Page to nab the role), is a relative newcomer to the fashion game, but she is putting her cool-girl spin on everything she wears, especially when she hits the Holy Grail of photo ops: The red carpet.

In the film, Mara transforms into the gothic heroine with the help of some fashion and beauty pros. Makeup maven Pat McGrath designed the signature haunting makeup look complete with bleached eyebrows and kohl-rimmed eyes while Danilo (Gwen Stefani’s long-time hair stylist) dreamed up Salander’s edgy jet-black bowl cut and long-time Hollywood stylist Trish Summerville created the wardrobe, heavy on ripped jeans, leather, torn t-shirts and Belstaff moto boots (Summerville also collaborated on a film-meets-fashion limited edition Tattoo collection with H&M.)

Below, we dissect Mara’s recent red carpet fashion hits:

Red carpet: 8th Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards Dinner

Image courtesy of D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Cementing her status as fashion darling, Rooney Mara was included on the exclusive guest list at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund dinner in November. Everyone can wear black, most people can wear white, but blush tones – that’s a special style skill. Mara went beyond the pale and showed off her softer side in fashion designer Calvin Klein’s blush-toned sheath dress. Mara balances the dress’ fragility with prim jet-black bangs, defined and structured brows and black cherry lipstick.

Red carpet: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo London premiere

RoonyMara-Givenchy.jpg Image courtesy of Mike Marsland/

At the London premiere, Mara was the “Girl With the Givenchy Gown,” – a sweeping couture gown at that. Stepping out in Brian Atwood heels, Mara gets fashion points for wearing stark winter white (even though the dress seems to be a little ill-fitting around the bust line, n’est ce pas?). The delicate lace sleeves, plunging back and peek-a-boo slits on the shoulders and mid-section all add to the ghostly beauty of this look. The only thing we wish is that Mara would “own” the dress a little bit more; she could use a few pointers on how to work a red carpet to her advantage – as a rookie, she tends to look passive in front of the camera, despite the “wow” factor of her style choices.

More of Rooney Mara’s red carpet style on the next page…

Red carpet: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo New York premiere


Image courtesy of Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Rooney Mara used the New York film premiere of Tattoo to toe the line between exhibitionist and ladylike in her black
Prabal Gurung cocktail dress (from his Spring 2012 collection). The slashed little black dress boasted sheer flutter sleeves, sheer panels covering her back (replete with a teasing trail of buttons down to there), daring cutouts around the mid-section yet the high neckline keeps it from being overtly sexy in a predictable way. The delicate sheer accents balance the style’s sharp lines. And by wearing her hair in a slick ponytail and vamping up her pout with scarlet lipstick, Mara again hits the right beauty notes.

Style predictions for Mara on the red carpet during awards season

So how will the 26-year-old’s style evolve? All eyes will be watching come awards season, given that she is already nominated for a Golden Globe and perhaps an Oscar nomination is not far behind.

If nothing else, we are willing to bet on graphic shades of either black or white. Not that she’ll wear it conventionally. As proven by her red carpet choices thus far, the actress’ always adds an unexpected twist, proving Mara has fashion chutzpah. She demonstrates exactly
how to wear tricky pieces, and how to wear them well. Come Golden Globes, it would be refreshing to see her step out in a sleek and slim tuxedo à la Lanvin or perhaps a decadent Rodarte number. One thing’s for sure, designers will be clamouring to suit-up this rising fashion star.

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Prabal Gurung Spring/Summer 2012 collection