The Story Behind Jordana Brewster's Fast & Furious Couture Moment

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The Fast & Furious franchise has been a mainstay in popular culture for 20 years. So, the debut of the last film in the Fast saga naturally needed to be big. One of the few 2021 releases to be screened exclusively in theaters, Fast 9 is already the top-grossing movie of the year—racking up nearly $300 million at the box office internationally. All of which made this weekend’s Hollywood premiere even more eventful. A thrilling return to large-scale, in-person red carpet events, it brought out the star-studded cast and a host of designer fashion. 

Leading the pack was actor Jordana Brewster, whose magenta Atelier Versace gown gave the night a thrilling haute couture moment. In the lead-up to the evening, Brewster felt a sense of optimism about the project. “From the press junket to the premiere, I could feel the positive energy,” she shared post-event. “There was an excitement and a lack of cynicism that I’ve never seen before. The fact that we can finally open our film and watch it in theaters is a marker of how far we’ve come.” 

To honor that spirit, Brewster and stylist Katie Bofshever wanted a look worthy of reemergence. The Versace gown, with its sequin embellishment and tone-on-tone hand-embroidered florals, fit the bill. “This dress felt like a celebration,” says Bofshever. “I was totally in love with the fall show and reached out to Versace immediately in anticipation of the premiere. We iterated on a few different options and ultimately ended up with this fabulous fuchsia dress.” 

Photo: Jenna Jones

For Brewster, who grew up looking at the brand’s legendary fashion campaigns by Richard Avedon, wearing a Donatella design felt like a full-circle moment. “I am so nostalgic for the ’90s shoots and campaigns with Claudia Schiffer and Stephanie Seymour. Growing up, those models were everything to me,” she says. “Versace is iconic. It celebrates the feminine form. [It] celebrates glamour and curves and is unapologetic, that resonates with me at this point in my life.” After wearing prim looks from lines like Brock Collection and Oscar de la Renta during the film’s press tour, Brewster’s Versace moment also offered a change of pace. “I wanted to pivot from a ladylike look to something bolder and adult,” she says. “I loved the color and the cut. It was playful, daring and reminded me of Carnival in Rio, where I grew up. When I first tried on the dress, it fit like a glove. No alterations were necessary, which is almost unheard of. To me, that was a sign. This was the dress.”

Given the excess of detail within the dress, Bofshever and Brewster opted to keep the rest of the look simple, accessorizing with Tiffany & Co. diamond studs and a matching pair of Versace platform sandals. [The earrings] added just the right amount of sparkle, then the petaled rings picked up on the floral motif of the dress,” says Bofshever. “There was a lot of back and forth about shoes, including late-night texts about custom dye-ables.” Footwear debates are all part of the process, and Bofshever considers working with Brewster to be a joy. “Jordana was my very first client and is a dream to work with,” she says. “ I am so lucky she’s willing to put her trust in me. Aside from being incredibly beautiful, she is also super easy going and always down to try something new. We laugh a lot at fittings. Just look at her “fittings” highlight on Instagram to see what I mean!” 

Photo: Jenna Jones

The final touch came courtesy of makeup artist Emily Cheng and hair stylist Ted Gibson, who created a seamless beauty look that didn’t skimp on the glitz. “We wanted to do very glamorous makeup but still keep it summer-y. So, playing off the petal embellishments on her dress, we did a coral-y eye look.” says Cheng, who used the Eyes to Kill eyeshadow quad in ‘Festival’ to create a dramatic tangerine cat-eye. 

With each element of her premiere look in place—and a second Versace dress waiting in the wings for the afterparty—Brewster was ready to hit the carpet at the TCL Chinese Theater with co-stars Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, and Tyrese Gibson. Along for the Fast & Furious ride since the franchise’s first entry, Brewster acknowledges that the night wouldn’t be possible without 2001’s groundbreaking film. “We reflected diversity to the world before it was trendy to do so,” she says. “We reflected our audience, and that resonated with them. I also think that like Robin Hood, we may be doing bad things, but ultimately we are doing them for good.” 

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