Emma Watson’s Best Style Moments

From starring in the ‘Harry Potter’ series to wearing custom haute couture, Observer takes a look back at Emma Watson's best style moments.

Emma Watson has become a true red carpet style icon. AFP via Getty Images

It’s been more than 20 years since Emma Watson made her on-screen debut as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. And during that time, the British actress has gone from a child star who became a household name at the age of 11 to Hollywood leading lady with a diverse portfolio of films. From thrillers to comedies, Watson’s big-screen career has also included quite a few blockbuster hits, such as the live-action Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast in 2017 and Greta Gerwig’s take on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, Little Women, in 2019.

Along the way, the actress carved out a unique sartorial path; one that’s grown to prioritize sustainable and ethical practices (and has pushed big brands to do the same). Thanks to her early start to acting, Watson became a style star before she even turned 18, with world-renowned fashion houses like Chanel and Burberry clamoring to dress her for red carpet events. That soon turned into official fashion partnerships, with Watson first teaming up with Burberry at age 19 for the British brand’s fall 2009 and spring 2010 campaigns. But it was her introduction to the ethical fashion brand People Tree that proved to be the most influential for Watson, who traveled to Bangladesh with the brand in 2010.

“It became clear to me then that sustainability in fashion is a critical issue given how the industry can have damaging impacts on the environment, on workers’ rights, and on animal welfare,” she recalled to British Vogue in a 2020 interview after announcing she would join the board of directors at luxury fashion group, Kering. “It’s also a feminist issue,” she continued, adding, “It’s estimated around 80 percent of the world’s garment workers are women aged between 18 and 35.” 

That appointment with Kering included serving as the chair of the sustainability committee, a title that closely aligned with the actress’ established accomplishments. In 2011, Watson worked with Italian designer Alberta Ferretti on an environmentally-friendly capsule collection, and in 2014, she was named a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. By 2016, Watson began making headlines for wearing red carpet gowns made from recycled materials, and in 2017, she created an Instagram account (@thepresstour) dedicated to sharing the details behind her eco-friendly red carpet looks.

From her very first Harry Potter red carpet to wearing custom creations that put sustainability at the forefront, relive Watson’s best fashion moments ahead.

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James and Oliver Phelps at Harry Potter premiere
Emma Watson. Getty Images

2001, ‘Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone’ Premiere

For her first big red carpet event at the UK premiere of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Watson went for an ankle-length gray dress and purple accents in the form of snakeskin boots, a feather boa and a hair bow.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets Premiere
Emma Watson arrives for the world premiere of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” at the Odeon Leicester Square. Getty Images

 2002, ‘Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets’ Premiere

The following year, Watson chose a ruffled slip dress in pastel pink, with matching eyeshadow, for the UK premiere of the second Harry Potter film.

Emma Watson Attends The Harry Potter Premiere
Emma Watson Attends The Harry Potter Premiere. Getty Images

2002, ‘Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets’ Premiere

Watson’s camo print suit with floral embellishment details at the New York City premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets proved that she wasn’t afraid of taking fashion risks (and signaled her future penchant for a red carpet pantsuit).

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" London Premiere - Arrivals
Emma Watson. FilmMagic

2004, ‘Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban’ Premiere

“I’ve been interested in sustainability in fashion ever since I had to properly engage with it during my time of junkets and promotional tours for Harry Potter,” Watson reflected in an interview with British Vogue. In perhaps the first public glimpse into that interest, the actress wore a vintage dress from the 1920s for the premiere of the third Harry Potter film. The plum-colored gown included tiers of tulle throughout, a ribbon belted at the waist and a corsage of white flowers along one shoulder.

U.S. premiere of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"
Emma Watson arrives at the U.S. premiere of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

2005, ‘Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire’ Premiere 

It would be more than five years before Watson teamed up with Alberta Ferretti on an eco-friendly capsule collaboration, but she donned a blue dress from the Italian fashion designer for the New York City premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005.

Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Party ? Red Carpet
Emma Watson. FilmMagic

2007, Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Party

2007 marked a shift in Watson’s red carpet style choices, as evidenced by the black and gold Chanel number that she wore to attend a gala dinner in London. The feather-accented gown was a custom take on a design from the French fashion house’s spring 2007 couture collection, and Watson styled it with simple black heels, a gold clutch and a tousled updo.

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents the Los Angeles Premiere of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
Emma Watson arrives at the “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. WireImage

2007, ‘Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix’ Premiere 

For a premiere celebrating the fifth installment of the Harry Potter film series, Watson wore a white minidress from the Chanel spring 2007 collection. The mock neck silhouette had a mini cape, which included colorful embellishments that matched those on the skirt of the dress and allowed the actress to keep the accessories to a minimum.

The National Movie Awards 2008 - Outside Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

2008, The National Movie Awards

Watson continued her high-fashion streak at the British National Movie Awards, switching up designers with an Alexander McQueen gown. The Grecian-style dress included an off-the-shoulder neckline with crystal embellishment and draped sleeves, which Watson accessorized with matching heels (also McQueen), delicate diamond earrings and rings, and a touch of Chanel with her globe-shaped clutch.

Chanel - Paris Fashion Week- Spring/Summer '09
Emma Watson attends the Chanel PFW Spring Summer 2009 show. WireImage

 2008, Chanel Show

By 2008, Watson was already a regular in the fashion front row, from Vivienne Westwood in London to Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. But her dedication to wearing Chanel on the red carpet and attending the French fashion house’s shows (as evidenced here in a silver dress and jacket set with leggings) led to rumors that she would officially join the Chanel family as the face of its Coco Mademoiselle perfume.

"Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince" UK Premiere - Inside Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

2009, ‘Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince’ Premiere

In another vintage moment, Watson channeled the Swinging Sixties with a patterned number by British fashion designer Ossie Clark. The dress included a plunging neckline and hidden slit along the skirt, and Watson chose to complement the pattern’s red detailing by weaving red ribbon throughout her boho-inspired braided updo.

Burberry: London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2010 - Arrivals
Emma Watson attends the Burberry show at London Fashion Week. WireImage

2009, Burberry Show

Rather than sign with Chanel, Watson’s first official job in fashion was as the face of Burberry’s fall 2009 campaign. Just a few months after the Mario Testino-photographed campaign was released, the Harry Potter star attended the British fashion house’s spring 2010 show in an embellished gold minidress that she styled with a black leather belt and platform shoes.

"American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity" Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

2010, Met Gala

After reprising her role at Burberry with a second campaign for the spring 2010 collection, Watson attended her first Met Gala alongside Burberry’s then-creative director Christopher Bailey. Naturally, she wore Burberry for the occasion, posing outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a custom-made gown that included asymmetric ruffle detailing and a one-shoulder silhouette.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - World Film Premiere Inside Arrivals
Emma Watson. Getty Images

2010, ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ Premiere

Watson may have switched things up on the sartorial front with a sheer lace Rafael Lopez minidress at the UK premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, but it was her new pixie haircut that made headlines.

ELLE Style Awards 2011 - Inside Arrivals
Emma Watson. Getty Images

 2011, ‘ELLE’ Style Awards  

Before her 21st birthday, Watson was presented with ELLE’s Style Icon award by Vivienne Westwood. Taking a more casual approach to the event, Watson opted for a gray minidress by Hakaan that included white paneling and cut-out detailing along the side. An elaborate gold bracelet served as the only accessory of Watson’s look, which was completed with nude Louboutin heels and a beauty combo of exaggerated lashes and a side-parted pixie.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 - World Premiere - Outside Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

2011, ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ Premiere

Watson went all-out to celebrate the final film in the Harry Potter series, kicking things off at the world premiere in London in Oscar de la Renta. An icy-blue tulle skirt was the standout detail of the princess-worthy gown, which also featured an embellished bodice.

"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

2011, ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ Premiere 

To officially say goodbye to Harry Potter, Watson attended the final film’s New York City premiere in a golden Bottega Veneta corset gown. The strapless ball gown closed the show for the Italian fashion house’s fall 2011 collection, and Watson added an even more dramatic spin to the dress with a beauty look that included a slicked-back pixie and a dark smoky eye with touches of gold along the inner and outer corners.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Special Screening
Emma Watson. WireImage

 2012, ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ Screening

Making separates formal enough for the red carpet, Watson wore Christian Dior couture to a London screening of The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2012. The all-black ensemble started with a strapless peplum-style dress and fitted black pants that were accessorized with matching Dior pumps, diamond stud earrings and a Tiffany & Co. Heart Key Pendant necklace.

"PUNK: Chaos To Couture" Costume Institute Gala
Emma Watson. FilmMagic

2013, Met Gala

For her second Met Gala, Watson teamed up with Prabal Gurung on a custom black gown with an asymmetrical neckline. The thigh-high slit and ab-baring cutout gave a subtle nod to the “Punk: From Chaos to Couture” theme, and Watson added a twisted updo and mismatched Fred Leighton diamond earrings for good measure.

EMMA WATSON - 66th Cannes Film Festival
Emma Watson. Corbis via Getty Images

2013, Cannes Film Festival

On the Cannes Film Festival red carpet, Watson returned to an old favorite in Chanel couture when she joined the cast of the Sofia Coppola-directed film, The Bling Ring. The classic design included a floor-length white skirt and black sequined bodice, which Watson made more modern with an undone low knot and diamond cuff earrings.

71st Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

 2014, Golden Globe Awards

2014 would prove to be a pivotal year in Watson’s style journey, beginning with a Christian Dior couture ensemble at the Golden Globes. The two-piece look was part of the French fashion house’s fall 2012 couture collection, and Watson’s version included a backless gown as bright as the red carpet worn over fitted black pants. Navy Roger Vivier pumps added another pop of color to the look, as did Watson’s matte orange-red lip, which perfectly matched her dress.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

2014, Academy Awards

A few months later, Watson attended the Oscars in a full-length metallic gown by Vera Wang. To complement the shimmer in her dress, Watson accessorized with stacks of diamond rings, diamond hoop earrings and embellished star clips that held her tousled updo in place.

'Noah' Germany Premiere
Emma Watson. Andreas Rentz

 2014, ‘Noah’ Premiere

From the front, Watson’s Wes Gordon dress at the premiere of her film Noah looked like it was on the simpler side. But once the actress hit photographers with an over-the-shoulder pose, she showed off a racerback cut topped with a long ribbon bow that flowed down to the floor. Watson kept her hair more modern with a slightly structured style, and a bright red lip helped to give the look a more timeless feel.

"Noah" - UK Premiere - Inside Arrivals
Emma Watson. WireImage

2014, ‘Noah’ Premiere

Watson wore another standout look for the UK premiere of Noah in a silk halter gown by Ralph Lauren that included a thigh-high slit. To show off the open back, the actress wore her hair swept up in a high knot that was accessorized with sparkling rhinestone clips.

Valentino : Front Row - Paris Fashion Week : Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015
Emma Watson. WireImage

2014, Valentino Show

Breaking from her more classic red carpet looks, Watson headed to Paris Fashion Week, where she attended a show for Valentino in a lacy bralette and maxi skirt set. To add an edgy element to the otherwise feminine look, Watson styled the ensemble with a black leather jacket, red pumps and mismatched earrings.

UN Women's "HeForShe" VIP After Party
Emma Watson. Getty Images

2014, UN Women’s HeForShe Launch Party

As part of her work as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Watson helped the organization to launch its HeForShe campaign in support of the advancement of gender equality. After delivering a speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Watson attended a celebratory event in a sleeveless black dress by Hugo Boss, which she paired with Jimmy Choo heels, a clutch bag, some delicate jewelry and a red lip.

BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards Presented By BBC America And United Airlines - Arrivals
Emma Watson. Getty Images

2014, BAFTA Los Angeles

Watson closed out the year similar to how she started it, attending the Los Angeles BAFTAs in a two-piece look that included black trousers. Wearing Balenciaga from the spring 2015 collection, the actress paired the pants with an ivory off-the-shoulder top with sheer long sleeves and embellished detailing, which made for the perfect way to highlight her Jennifer Fisher reverse choker necklace and matte pink lip.

102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner - Arrivals
Emma Watson. Getty Images

2016, White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner

Watson tied red, white and blue into her look at the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner in a white strapless gown worn over navy pants from the Osman fall 2016 collection. The dress was covered with red poppies, which Watson’s then-stylist Sarah Slutsky Tooley noted had been hand drawn and painted by the designer himself before being completed with 3D hand embroidery. A pair of navy suede Louboutins and a classic red lip tied the whole look together.

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals
Emma Watson. FilmMagic

2016, Met Gala

For the “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” theme at the 2016 Met Gala, the actress collaborated with Calvin Klein and the sustainability organization Eco-Age to create a custom ensemble that was made from recycled plastic. Designed in five separate pieces that could be re-worn, the hybrid look included black trousers, a white and black bustier and a detachable black train—all using cotton, satin and taffeta fabrics that were woven from yarns made from recycled plastic bottles.

"Beast And Beauty - La Belle Et La Bete" Paris Photocall At Hotel Meurice
Emma Watson. Corbis via Getty Images

2017, ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Paris Photocall 

To keep fans up to date on all of the details behind her eco-friendly outfits during the press tour for her 2017 film, Beauty and the Beast, Watson launched an Instagram account aptly named The Press Tour. Teaming up with stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray, Watson shared one of her first looks in Paris, wearing a custom take on a design from the Louis Vuitton spring 2017 collection. Watson’s royal blue number was made from a polyester yarn that was entirely sourced from recycled plastic bottles, and it included a halter neckline with a pop of red fabric, cutouts along the side and back of the bodice and a black arm band that created an off-the-shoulder effect.

Disney's "Beauty And The Beast" - UK Launch Event
Emma Watson. Stuart C. Wilson

 2017, ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Premiere

Next up, Watson attended the UK premiere of the film in London wearing a princess-inspired gown that was custom-made for the actress by Emilia Wickstead, which Watson’s stylist paired with Manolo Blahnik sandals and dainty, handmade earrings from Catbird. Both the dress and the cape-effect train were made using leftover fabric that would have otherwise been destroyed. 

Premiere Of Disney's "Beauty And The Beast"
Emma Watson. FilmMagic

2017, ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Premiere 

In Los Angeles, Watson took a break from the dresses and put a modern spin on the Disney princess look with a black jumpsuit by Oscar de la Renta. The strapless one-piece included a deep V-neck with a golden rose-adorned belt at the waist. And in one of her best beauty looks yet, Watson paired a negative space cat eye and rosy pink lip with an elaborate braided updo that had a golden feathered halo and quills pinned throughout.

"Beauty And The Beast" New York Screening
Emma Watson. FilmMagic

2017, ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Premiere

For her last stop on the Beauty and the Beast press tour, Watson hit the red carpet in New York City wearing a Givenchy couture number that was crafted from certified organic silk. The bespoke gown included a thigh-high slit and sheer paneling across the front of the bodice, while the back showcased even more detailing with an oversized bow that highlighted an open back. Watson carried a sustainable clutch by Bottletop and accessorized with Ana Khouri jewelry made from fair trade gold, plus a classic beauty look that included a volumized updo and a rich red lip.

"The Circle" Paris Photocall At Hotel Le Bristol In Paris
Emma Watson. WireImage

2017, ‘The Circle’ Paris Photocall

Before the end of the year, Watson celebrated another movie premiere, The Circle, for which she turned to Louis Vuitton’s 2018 resort collection. The two-piece look started with a sleeveless white T-shirt that was worn under a sheer black dress crafted from handmade silk lace and embroidered with a gold leaf and sequin design. To complete the look, Watson accessorized with a M2Malletier bucket bag and ankle strap pumps from Santoni, an Italian shoe company powered by solar panels.

The 90th Academy Awards - Vanity Fair Party - Los Angeles
Emma Watson. PA Images via Getty Images

2018, ‘Vanity Fair’ Oscars Party

Rather than create a new design for the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscars party, Watson pulled from the Ralph Lauren archives. The black velvet dress originally made its way down the runway as part of the American designer’s fall 2013 collection, and the embellished neckline added a glamorous touch (and eliminated the need for any ornate jewelry).

"Little Women" World Premiere
Emma Watson. Getty Images

2019, ‘Little Women’ Premiere 

Watson once again teamed up with stylist Sarah Slutsky Tooley for the highly-anticipated premiere of Little Women. Embracing the winter season, the actress selected a Balenciaga gown from the spring 2020 collection, paired with velvet over-the-knee boots and a shell-shaped clutch bag (both Balenciaga). Though Watson chose a berry-brown lip and matching eye makeup, she added plenty of sparkle with dainty gold headbands, stacks of gold and diamond rings and diamond wing earrings by Fred Leighton.

The Earthshot Prize 2021 - Green Carpet Arrivals
Emma Watson. FilmMagic

2021, The Earthshot Prize 

In 2021, Watson attended the inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards in London, which was founded by Prince William and British broadcaster and biologist Sir David Attenborough. Given the award ceremony’s focus on climate action and sustainability, Watson wore a custom upcycled look by Harris Reed that paired a backless tulle dress with flared black pants.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2022 - Red Carpet Arrivals
Emma Watson. Corbis via Getty Images

2022, BAFTAs

Watson sported another black and white ensemble at the 2022 BAFTAs, this time in a custom Oscar de la Renta gown. While the original design from the fall 2022 collection was a minidress, Watson’s version included a black velvet bodice and a tiered cream skirt that was lengthened into a flowing train. Since the front of the skirt was entirely open, Watson opted for René Caovilla velvet chandelier pumps that were decorated with rhinestones and crystals, and an ivory clutch and Tatiana Verstraeten diamond jewelry completed the look.

Celebrity Sightings In New York - September 15, 2022
Emma Watson. GC Images

2022, The Kering Foundation’s Caring For Women Dinner 

Having joined the board of directors at French luxury group Kering in 2020, Watson attended the first-ever Kering Foundation Caring for Women benefit dinner. For the occasion, she worked with stylist Law Roach, who selected a white lace dress from the Alexander McQueen 2023 resort collection (Kering owns the British fashion house). The feminine design featured an open back and cutouts along the bodice, but Watson added a bit of edge with a black spiked clutch and chunky black platforms (also McQueen). Barely-there makeup of a pale pink lip and mini cat eyeliner complemented the dress, as did the delicate white gold and diamond earrings, rings and bracelet by Pomellato.

2nd Annual Soho House Awards
Emma Watson. Getty Images

2023, Soho House Awards

Watson went a more boho route for the Soho House Awards with a floor-length gown from the Dior fall 2023 couture collection. The two-piece design started with an embroidered mesh bodice that draped over top of the actress’ pleated silk chiffon skirt.

Prada Spring/Summer 2024 Womenswear Fashion Show - Arrivals And Front Row
Emma Watson. Getty Images for Prada

2023, Prada Show

After joining Prada to serve as the face (and director!) of its campaign for the brand’s refillable fragrance, Paradoxe, Watson attended the fashion house’s spring 2024 show in Italy. Naturally, she turned to Prada for her front row look, selecting a black minidress with a halter neckline, black pumps and the Arqué Re-Nylon shoulder bag.

Emma Watson’s Best Style Moments