Of course, there are others who matter: Mila Kunis, with her huge liquid eyes and tart personality; Kristen Stewart, who can seemingly channel anything from a rebel yell to a nouvelle vague heroine; the stunning sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, born fashion girls who can also act; and the amazing Natalie Portman, who has dazzled since she was a child actor. In many ways, these style icons are America’s gift to the world—our best chance to influence global culture. When an American actress puts on a gown and walks the red carpet anywhere on the planet, attention is paid. Those images stick in the world’s collective memory: Style is born at the movies.
Looking back through 40 years of W archives, Lynn Hirschberg traces the long and winding lineage of American style icons— from Faye Dunaway and Barbra Streisand to Scarlett Johansson and Rooney Mara. It’s a story made for (and by) Hollywood.