Home » ‘The Apprentice’ star Maria Bakalova on method-dressing as Ivana Trump in Cannes

‘The Apprentice’ star Maria Bakalova on method-dressing as Ivana Trump in Cannes

‘The Apprentice’ star Maria Bakalova on method-dressing as Ivana Trump in Cannes

When it comes to promoting a new film, so much of what people remember about the red carpet is the fashion. And what bigger spotlight than La Croisette, the famous catwalk of the Cannes Film Festival? Such an illustrious stage involves careful sartorial planning, which is why the actress Maria Bakalova – who stars as Ivana Trump in the new biopic The Apprentice about her ex-husband, Donald – called upon the help of stylist Jessica Paster.

Of course, nowadays, all anyone seems to talk about is “method dressing”. First, we had it with Margot Robbie and Barbie, then with Zendaya for Dune and Challengers, and more recently via Anya Taylor-Joy and Furiosa. With such a famously fashion-obsessed character, it’s no wonder Bakalova and Paster were keen to channel the 1980s power-dresser.

a person sitting on a chair outside

Emilio Madrid

Bakalova wearing Trump-inspired fashion in Cannes

preview for Maria Bakalova at 'The Apprentice' photocall in Cannes
maria bakalova

Emilio Madrid

maria bakalova

Emilio Madrid

“She was very outspoken and she channelled that through her clothes,” shares Bakalova. “She wasn’t shy, she wouldn’t hide. She was ahead of her time and wore so many memorable outfits that are still relevant today. She loved big shoulders, she loved to show her waist. Every outfit was beautifully planned, and she loved accessories and big jewellery.”

For Cannes, Paster knew excess was important. “Cannes is opulent; it’s all about excess!” she tells us. “People love the richness, the beauty – everything is in excess, so when people get dressed to see a movie, they’re dressed to the nines. That means you can be creative with the looks.” When the duo met with Self-Portrait’s creative director Han Chong ahead of the festival, everything just fell into place. “ Han loves to make women feel beautiful and empowered, he knows what suits your body and he enhances your beauty,” says Bakalova. “When we met in Los Angeles last month, he gave me confidence and definitely understood the idea Jessica and I had. We had so much fun going through the collection.”

maria bakalova

Emilo Madrid

maria bakalova

Emilio Madrid

During the festival, Bakalova wore several Self-Portrait looks – ones that reminded Paster of the sorts of things Ivana herself would have worn. “Maria and I knew from the beginning that this was the direction we wanted to go for Cannes,” shares Paster. “We watched a one-hour documentary about Ivana, and it was fabulous. Little did we know that she modelled when she was younger, for designers like Thierry Mugler and Versace. She loved her clothes and collaborating [with designers] on her looks. Ivana always matched her necklace to her bracelet, rings, shoes, and clutch. She loved to put a look together, even if she was just stepping out to get groceries.”

maria bakalova

Emilio Madrid

Bakalova’s first look featured a black fringed bouclé jacket and matching shorts, paired with a custom-made pink silk pussy-bow shirt and vertiginous heels. “Ivana loved a good pump,” explains Paster. “She adored the richness of colours and the combination of different fabrics, not only in her interiors at home but also in her wardrobe. That’s why we added the oversized jewellery and necklace – it captures that opulent feel.”

Look two was a dress that featured a belted black crepe bodice and white chiffon pleated skirt, with diamanté buttons. “The structured shoulders combined with the feminine bottom half create a feeling of balanced elegance and powerful femininity,” Paster explains. The most fun look was a sequin bustier with a power jacket over the top, paired with sparkling Chopard jewels. “If you look at pictures of Ivana going out in the ’80s, it’s all sequins and beaded fringing,” Paster says. “This look really captures that essence.” A fourth and final look consisted of a chic cream skirt suit, which was styled with dark Chopard jewellery.

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Emilio Madrid

maria bakalova

Emilio Madrid

It’s Paster’s goal that her clients feel confident on the red carpet, something she undoubtedly achieved with Bakalova. “I felt confident, empowered, beautiful and I think that’s how Ivana felt when getting dressed,” the actress says. “Getting into character is a lot more than playing dress up, especially when portraying such an iconic woman. You need to have that deep connection, understand her philosophy of life, her experiences – the good and the bad. But the fashion, the outfits? That’s the fun part. It brings the character together. And I can’t wait to show that outside the screen; it’s going to be a very memorable tour.”

maria bakalova

Emilio Madrid