Her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress last week confirms 27-year-old Swedish actress Alicia Vikander is set for a brilliant 2016. It's not often that an international actor takes center stage at Hollywood - the most recent examples have been French stars Marion Cotillard and Lea Seydoux - and this crossover is always fascinating to observe.
Like Cotillard, Vikander grew up with the theater. Raised in Göteborg, Sweden, she lived with her mother, a successful stage actress; yet her earliest career dream came to her age five after a Christmas outing to see The Nutcracker ballet.
At 15, she moved to Stockholm to train at the Royal Swedish Ballet School. Film directors who now speak of her talent unfailingly remark on her discipline, a trait they attribute to the early years of classical dance.
“The theater is a great place for a kid to grow up because the grown-ups actually play for a living. And because of that I think they were open to us in a way most adults aren’t.”
- Alicia Vikander, in an interview with Vogue
Forward to 2015, and Alicia, with seven releases, was the year's most ubiquitous screen presence. Praised for her enigmatic cinematic energy, and the depth she brings to her characters, this recognition was sealed at awards season this year. Braced with nominations for The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, Alicia took home her prize in a yellow Louis Vuitton gown, a gorgeous colour for her sun-kissed complexion.
Named "the new muse of the Maison" since their F/W 2015 campaign, Alicia has been making her presence felt quite fashionably. A steely June 2015 editorial spread for Interview magazine and another from Dazed and Confused October 2013 are favourites. Her red carpet style, glamorous but never overkill, is remarkably on point. There's a lot to learn from the unexpected ways she puts her look together, and refreshingly in celebrity land, she is someone fairly involved in the styling process.
If you haven't seen them yet, The Danish Girl and Ex Machina are out in theatres. Alicia is also in Testament of Youth, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, and The Light Between Oceans - opposite her boyfriend - another international star who crossed over - Michael Fassbender.