Move over Alexa: 10 British celebrities and It girls you need to know now
Whether it’s the accent, the inherent ability to pattern mix or their close proximity to Kate Middleton, there’s something about Brits that just seems so cool. Blend one Burberry coat, one ironic slogan tee and a dash of self-deprecating humour, and you’ve got yourself an enviable sartorial muse.
Certainly, this formula has worked for It girls like Alexa Chung, Cara Delevingne, Sienna Miller and Kelly Osbourne, who’ve managed to become notable names across the globe. But then there’s those other Brit girls. You know the ones. Those girls who have blown up in the U.K. but seem to prompt nothing but a “huh?” this side of the pond.
Enter our handy guide to British celebrities including rising models, chart-topping musicians and one American who adopted the swinging city as her own. Consider yourself confused no more.
Red-headed songbird Paloma Faith—she of the painted-on-eyebrows, ornate hairstyles and fifties-inspired stage makeup—is a regular fixture at London Fashion Week. This part-time actress, full-time singer has two double platinum studio albums that spawned countless singles (listen to “Picking Up the Pieces” right now). Slightly kooky and always refreshing, we’re most obsessed with her vintage pinup look. She told stylist.co.uk “To me a great style icon is someone who doesn’t take fashion too seriously, someone prepared to take risks and wear mad things.”
High society daughter and light-footed dancer, Cressida Bonas is the potential future wife of Prince Harry. Some claim it’s too early to speak of an engagement, but the 24-year-old caught royal onlookers by surprise when she sacrificed her dream of dancing to become a personal assistant and focus on her relationship (because dancing is too unsavoury for the upper crust?). The Boho-chic, unfussy “Cressy” opts for long maxi dresses, Doc Martens and overalls, a reflection of her laid-back and slightly reserved personality. Cressy’s only sore spot? William once crushed on her elder sister Isabella, so some speculate Kate’s not thrilled with Harry’s choice.
Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor
Atlanta is the daughter of Amanda de Cadenet, who partied her way around London in her teens, before marrying (and later divorcing) Atlanta’s dad, Duran Duran’s John Taylor. Raised in LA, Atlanta recently returned to Britain with her American drawl in tact to start her career. Named a “London Fashion Week It Girl” by Vogue, the DJ and rockstar progeny has modeled for Net-A-Porter, blogged about fashion week for Elle and most recently partnered with Forever21 for their fall collection. She told W Magazine that touring around the world with her dad influenced her rocker-style: “It was normal to wear a ripped band shirt that hadn’t been washed in months… no one was in khakis.”
Blame London-born Suki Waterhouse for dashing your secret fantasy of snagging Bradley Cooper. The 20-year-old Burberry model and bushy-browed actress is in a long distance relationship with the Silver Linings Playbook star, despite a 17-year-old age gap. Waterhouse was in relative obscurity until modeling gigs with French Connection, Kate Spade, Balenciaga and Vogue. Now she’s bonafied Twitterati and an aspiring actress, starring alongside Lily Collins in 2014’s Love, Rosie. Waterhouse is known to pull off slacker-chic in her downtime. “I don’t know how to describe my style,” she told The Herald. “Sometimes it’s just a case of what’s nearest to the bedroom door.
Deemed “UK’s Rihanna,” Rita Ora claims she’s not as confident being sexy as her Barbados counterpart. Rest assured, the girl can rock a red lip and peroxide hair like no other. The so-called “wifey” of Cara Delevigne recently tweeted pics of her and “Uncle Karl Lagerfeld” at a recent photo shoot in Paris like it was NBD and she premiered a line of makeup with Rimmel this past fall. The Jay-Z protégée and “How We Do (Party),” singer is currently recording her second studio album with partial help from DJ Calvin Harris who just happens to be her boyfriend.
Holliday Grainger has serious acting chops. Let’s start with her gun-toting lead role in December’s Bonnie and Clyde miniseries with Into the Wild’s Emile Hirsch (it’s exciting enough for A&E, Lifetime and History to air at the same). Then there were her career-making roles in The Borgias and Mike Newell’s adaptation of Great Expectations, which premiered at TIFF. Grainger opts for classic silhouettes on the red carpet, pulling off a bold look by Peter Pilotto as confidently as a glitzer number by Valentino. Watch for her in Kenneth Brannagh’s upcoming Cinderella… she’ll play a wicked stepsister next to Lily James’ portrayal of the glass-slippered princess.
Labeled Britain’s “sweetheart,” Cheryl Cole is paparazzi-bait. The singer achieved 20 top ten singles and six platinum albums with the band Girls Aloud, but pulled a Beyonce in 2009 when she went solo. Since then, the 29-year-old has recorded three studio albums and landed covers on British Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. Cole often wore glamorous red carpet looks by Julien Macdonald until they had a fallout. Now she’s all about Henry Holland. Cole is currently having “secret” talks with X Factor’s Simon Cowell about returning to the UK version of the show as a judge (possibly with Rita Ora). She was notoriously sacked off the US version but we have faith she’ll pull this one off.
Perrie Edwards is one quarter of Little Mix, Britain’s girl band du jour and the first band to ever win The X Factor. There’s a strong possibility you know her better as the ever-fashionable fiancé of Zayn Malik, fellow X Factor alum and One Direction’s most mysterious member. In August 2013, the 20-year-olds became engaged, much to the chagrin of some 1D fans who threatened to kill Edwards for “stealing their man.” Edwards told Seventeen her fashion sense is a mixture of Kelly Kapowski’s colourful ‘90s wear from Saved By The Bell and Madonna circa her punk phase.
Sophie Turner landed the coveted role of flame-haired Sansa Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Now, the 17-year-old balances schoolwork while filming in Croatia and Ireland. The naturally blonde-haired actress is a style upcomer off-set, donning lacey numbers in feminine silhouettes and scoring an ethereal editorial in Interview Magazine. She won the lead role in Isabel Coixet’s indie thriller Panda Eyes, but she manages to stay grounded, telling Interview: “I will be able to look back on my teen years as spent on a television set just having the biggest bunch of fun,” she says. “At the moment, I can still treat acting as my very favorite hobby since I don’t have a mortgage to pay!”
BBC Radio 1 presenter Fearne Cotton regularly appears on best dressed lists alongside the celebs she interviews, including Florence Welch, Lana del Rey and Katy Perry. She’s a household name in the UK, having hosted popular TV programs such as Top of the Pops. She also became the first regular female presenter on BBC Radio 1’s Chart Show, which she co-hosted with Reggie Yates before landing her own weekday morning show. Cotton launched her Spring 2014 fashion line for Very.co.uk at London Fashion Week, featuring bright and versatile frocks with a slight ‘60s-vibe.