WEST HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES: For Elizabeth Debicki, the number of billboards outside her hotel room in Los Angeles were the part that shocked her most about Hollywood. “I woke up in a hotel on Sunset and was 20 years old, had never been to America and I had landed at night,” explains Debicki, her Australian accent as eloquent as they come. “I remember I opened my windows and there were just billboards. I thought, ‘What is this strange Lego Land?’. It was so weird. Imagine if you opened your windows in Sydney and there were billboards everywhere. You’d probably think ‘What happened?’”
If these seemed somewhat of a culture jolt, then seeing herself on a twenty-foot-high billboard some years later was surely a “I’ve made it” moment. “I really liked seeing [the billboard] for [my movie] Widows. I was like, ‘Ooh,” she exclaims. “But I’m waiting for the penny drop, I hope it never comes actually. That would be dangerous wouldn’t it, if you started to believe it in a funny way.”
Since those days, the landscape of Hollywood looks a fair bit different; it has done some serious house cleaning of sorts as its reckoned with its past and its future post-Weinstein. The Women In Film Awards held every year in WeHo campaign for a new day, one of gender parity and women helping one another. This year, Debicki picked up the 2019 Women In Film Max Mara Face Of The Future Award in a lavish, two-day affair hosted by the Italian atelier. The accolade is awarded to somebody who is experiencing a turning point in their career through her work in the film and television industry– and, according to Debicki (who had many a Max Mara wardrobe change across the days and nights), the brand’s involvement with WIF is a “completely symbiotic” relationship.
“Max Mara are very, very chic. The kind of chic that you feel like you’ve just got to check if you do still have toothpaste on you. It’s that chic where you think you are together and then you meet someone from Max Mara and you’re like, ‘Oh no,’” Debicki muses. “They’re lovely.
“The women who run this brand are remarkable. They’re young, they’re super, super powerful and they’re very honest and very political. I think that’s why the brand is so female-friendly.”
“I’ve always loved them. When people ask about my relationship with Max Mara, I looked in the [store] windows for years going, ‘Wow, look at that beautiful coat’ because it always looked like the epitome of what you hoped you would one day wake up in – just head to toe Max Mara,” she continues. “I went to one of the shows in February and I really felt the models looked kind of strong and beautiful and like their best selves. It’s that brand where you think, ‘If I could look like that every day…”.
If only Debicki could grapple the idea that we look at those billboards and think this very thought about her. Perhaps in time, that aforementioned penny will drop.