Stylist secrets: Brilliant Nyansago on dressing Elín Hall for the Cannes Film Festival

elin hall
Brilliant Nyansago on dressing for CannesCourtesy of Chanel

Last week, the Icelandic singer and actress Elín Hall made her debut at the Cannes Film Festival, where her new movie, When the Light Breaks, had been shortlisted in the 'Un Certain Regard' category. Hall plays the lead character of Una, a young student who is grappling with grief while also harbouring a secret.

Naturally, such an occasion called for some appropriately elevated fashion, and the star turned to the celebrity stylist Brilliant Nyansago and the quintessentially French fashion house of Chanel. They settled on two looks: a floaty, postcard-print dress by day, and a shimmering gold gown for the premiere that evening.

Below, Nyansago talks us through the process of picking out the film festival fashion with his client, why these dresses felt like such a good fit, and what he aims to achieve on the red carpet.

Talk us through the look – how did you decide on this particular look for Elín?

"From the very beginning, Elín and I were leaning towards Chanel. For the photocall look, we wanted to set the tone for what was to come: the premiere look. The stamp-printed cape felt appropriate for Cannes – almost like a postcard from the French Riviera. The look in itself is delicate and airy with a sense of playfulness. Elín is a perfectionist and excellent at taking posing direction; she utterly transforms into a character the minute she steps in front of the cameras and exudes this confidence.

elin hall
Courtesy of Chanel

"The premiere look was love at first sight – a golden sheer lace dress with a very risky deep plunging neckline, but we were committed to make it work. One of the many things I admire about Elín is that she understands when a dress requires her to be equally as fearless as the look is – and she owned it. I cannot thank the Chanel family enough for making this all possible and for being so welcoming. It’s always an honour."

What was your starting point?

"My starting point is always research. I spoke in-depth with Elín about her character Una’s fashion narrative throughout the film – it's quite dark – and [we discussed] how emotionally heavy it was to play a grieving role. When it came to the fashion direction for Cannes, the sentiment from our initial conversation was to stray away and break free from her character. Given the recent surge in popularity for method dressing, I found it refreshing to do something in complete contrast to her character’s style."

elin hall
Courtesy of Chanel

How involved is Elín in the styling process?

"Working closely with Elín has been an enchanting experience; she’s eloquently in tune with her body and understands the movement of clothes. She also has impeccable taste. It’s an honour to have her trust and she has given me the freedom to carefully curate her sartorial narrative."

How would you describe Elín’s personal style?

"Elín is incredibly grounded and this is reflected in her personal style – there’s a bohemian element and a sense of ease. It's effortless, classic, timeless and unapologetic. It’s also worth noting that she truly dresses for herself and that has strongly led my approach to her Cannes wardrobe."

elin hall at the photocall for 'ljosbrot' when the light breaks at the 77th cannes film festival held at the palais des festivals on may 15, 2024 in cannes, france photo by michael bucknervariety via getty images
Courtesy of Chanel

Do you try to mix established and emerging brands when dressing clients? How do you discover new designers?

"I love supporting emerging brands, particularly recent graduates and student designers – there are incredible talents out there that need to be seen and I always aim to use opportunities to highlight emerging designers."

What are you aiming to achieve when dressing a client for something like the Cannes Film Festival?

"It’s less about what I want to achieve and more about making sure the client is heard. I want to be a vessel for my clients’ story-telling, through impactful fashion narratives that becomes conversations. In this case, Elín is the lead and there’s a certain expectation that comes with that. My goal was for her to feel elevated – and, most importantly, to feel like herself."

celebrity sightings day 2 the 77th annual cannes film festival
Pierre Suu - Getty Images

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