Call Jessica Chastain hopelessly old-fashioned, and she’ll take it as a compliment.
“For the longest time, people would say to me that I didn’t feel very modern, that I seemed from another time,” the 38-year-old actress confides. We would have to agree. She is currently draped on a settee in the VIP room of Piaget’s exclusive backstage lounge at the 31st annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica with Bette Davis-like insouciance. Thanks to her alabaster skin, titian hair and languid eyes, Chastain looks like she could have wandered off a vintage Hollywood film set. Give her a cigarette holder and you could call her Katharine Hepburn.
“I’m inspired by antiques,” she continues. “I look at things that have a wink to the past, but are also reinterpreted in some way and made to feel modern…and maybe that’s what I am.”
It’s certainly what she favors. Though she’s wearing a modern outfit including a lacey blue Elie Saab gown, Roger Vivier stilettos and a stunning necklace made of 18-carat white gold set with 88 blue sapphire beads, one cushion-cut emerald, two cabochon-cut emeralds and 210 brilliant-cut white diamonds from the new Extremely Piaget collection, she has made the entire ensemble feel timeless.
“There’s a throwback, or an essence of the ‘60s and ‘70s in [the Extremely Piaget] collection, and that’s what I feel like—I feel like a throwback to something else, but it’s not like I’m wearing something that feels like my grandmother would have worn,” she admits adding, “I also love that I’m wearing a lot of gems right now, but it still feels like it’s appropriate to wear [here] at the beach.”
Although she’s now a New Yorker after moving to Manhattan last summer, Chastain is no stranger to Santa Monica—or the Spirit Awards. She lived in the beach city for years, and is still comfortable enough there to take sunrise strolls as she did this morning on the beach, before heading over to the tented oceanfront ceremony to act as its honorary chair, present two awards (Best Male Lead and the Piaget Producers Award) and step into the shoes of Piaget’s international spokesperson.