The 'Wednesday' star's signature style has been carefully crafted.
It’s no small feat to go from bright-eyed network TV child actor to the reigning queen of gothic glam, but Jenna Ortega has managed to do just that, and nowhere is her style evolution more clearly illustrated than on the red carpet. After getting her start in family-friendly fare on the CW and Disney Channel, Ortega shifted into the darker realm of spookiness and slasher flicks, joining the iconic Scream franchise reboot and America's favorite kooky, creepy family as the titular character in Wednesday. With the help of longtime stylist Enrique Mendelez, the actor's rise has been reflected in her best and blackest red carpet looks.
Even before cementing herself as a darkly decadent fashion icon, the Scream VI star's red carpet style had a vibe not dissimilar from her current aesthetic, albeit without the lingerie-inspired slip dresses and daring cutout silhouettes. Considering that Ortega took her first red carpet steps in her early teens, the fluffy princess-y gowns and tulle-layered minidresses she wore back in the day make a lot of sense. "I started working with Jenna when she was 14 years old," Mendelez previously told InStyle.
At the time, he opted for the similar styles to what other Disney stars like Selena Gomez and Zendaya were wearing, but Mendelez quickly worked to ensure her red carpet looks reflected her unique taste. "As she became older, I had to pivot, listen to her, and tune out all the outside noise," he shared, adding that "a lot of looks we've created come from conversations that weren't specific to a carpet. When we have fittings, we sit down, we have conversations, and I match how she's feeling."
When a look feels right, it always hits. Ahead, 17 of her most show-stopping looks from the steps of the Met Gala, star-studded movie premieres, and more.
Jenna Ortega in Thom Browne at the Met Gala in 2023
Jenna Ortega's 2023 Met Gala look couldn't have veered more sharply away from the pink, rhinestone-encrusted ensemble she'd worn the previous year. To fit the "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty," theme, Ortega wore head-to-toe Thom Browne. Her custom dress, wound in pearl-studded chains, layered with bows, and revealing a glimpse of a frilled pannier hoop skirt, paid homage to Lagerfeld's time at Chanel while staying true to its maker. But most importantly, it felt perfectly Jenna.
Jenna Ortega in a Jean Paul Gaultier Blazer Dress at the Premiere of 'Scream VI' in 2023
Ghostface, but make it fashion. In a striking deconstructed Jean Paul Gaultier blazer dress, Ortega was black and white and vamp all over. Deconstructed suiting inherently has an air of elegance about it, but the vibe was enhanced by the actor's Jimmy Choo platform sandals and Tiffany & Co jewelry.
Jenna Ortega in a Black Vintage Versace Gown at SAG Awards in 2023
The moody vibe isn't the only thing Ortega's SAG Awards look had in common with her Scream VI premiere ensemble. For both events, the A-lister wore the same sky-high Jimmy Choo sandals. The extra height allowed the gunmetal metallic train on Ortega's vintage Versace gown to fall perfectly, highlighting the sculptural draping that made this dress a standout when it debuted in the brand's Fall 1994 collection, a full eight years before Ortega herself was born.
Jenna Ortega in Blush Gucci Gown at the Golden Globe Awards in 2023
At the 80th annual Golden Globe Awards, Ortega skipped her now-signature color in favor of a peachy nude shade. The gown, plucked from Gucci's Spring '23 collection, fit Ortega like a glove and featured the pleating, draping, and movement that she favored long before enrolling in Nevermore Academy.
Leaning fully into the luxe nature of the look, Ortega accessorized with mixed metal rings, layered diamond necklaces from Tiffany & Co, and a silver pair of her go-to Jimmy Choos peeking out from under her gauzy hemline.
Jenna Ortega in a Black Lace Versace Gown at the 'Wednesday' Premiere in 2022
Fun fact: Jenna Ortega's black-as-night bridal look for the Wednesday premiere was styled in part by the star herself. "She said, 'if we're going to do it, we're going to go all the way, we're going to go camp, and I'm going to wear the veil,'" Mendelez recalled of the lace Versace gown from the brand's Spring 2023 collection, paired with vampy Versace Aevitas point-toe platform pumps to match.
Jenna Ortega in a Saint Laurent Gown at a Critics Choice Association Event in 2022
Sheer layers have always been a part of Ortega's red carpet aesthetic, but she's only recently traded in sheer long-sleeves and tulle overlays in favor the fully sheer style adored by so many celebs. At the Critics Choice Association's Celebration of Latino Cinema & Television, Ortega paired a see-through Saint Laurent dress with a single opera-length glove in matching mesh.
Jenna Ortega in a RVN Suit at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival in 2022
Honored at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival with the Breakthrough Award for her role in the ultra-gory horror movie X, Ortega served up a rare oversized suiting moment — no easy feat when you're just over five feet tall. Her wide-leg pants and double-breasted blazer, both designed by RVN, managed to fully articulate an oversized vibe without overwhelming the actor.
Jenna Ortega in a Black Valentino Minidress at MTV Movie & TV Awards in 2022
Proving that a goth aesthetic can be both haute and hot, Ortega delivered a glamorously accessorized look at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. From her structured Valentino wool minidress's off-the-shoulder silhouette to her Valentino platform pumps and diamond Tiffany & Co. jewelry, Ortega's look was both dark and delicate at once.
Jenna Ortega in Marco Bologna at the MTV Movie & TV Awards in 2022
Ortega didn't just swap silhouettes when she changed into this chocolate Marco Bologna suit and lacy black bra to accept the award for Most Frightened Performance at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards. The Scream actor switched vibes entirely. Replacing her white gold Tiffany jewelry with yellow gold pieces from the same brand and stepping into a pair of bronze Stuart Weitzman sandals, Ortega's second look of the night had undeniable big boss energy.
Jenna Ortega in a Pink Valentino Minidress at Meta Gala in 2022
For her first-ever Met Gala look, Ortega went with the color that captivated everyone that year: hot Valentino pink. The ultra-short hemline of her custom dress was tempered with matching tights that gave the micro-minidress a bit of a tunic vibe. The satin Le Silla heels Ortega wore also marked the star's first foray into what would become her signature footwear of choice: sky-high platforms.
Jenna Ortega in Gretel Z. at the InStyle Golden Globes After Party in 2020
2020 marked a fashion turning point for Ortega, who went a bit more daring than previous looks for the Warner Bros. x InStyle Golden Globes after party in a sheer floral lace Gretel Z. dress, coordinating gold jewelry, and metallic accessories.
Jenna Ortega in a Tulle Monsoori Gown at the Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2018
At the 19th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards, Ortega took a step towards the dark side in a Monsoori gown that featured plenty of pink and black tulle. While the 16 year old had favored belted maxidresses before, this time her waist was cinched with a black studded belt — foreshadowing her style trajectory to come.
Jenna Ortega in a Pink Anaya Dress at the Premiere of 'A Wrinkle In Time' in 2018
Pale pink color palette aside, the gauzy and ruffled Anaya tea-length dress Ortega wore to the premiere of Disney's A Wrinkle In Time could easily fit into the star's current red carpet ensemble rotation.
Jenna Ortega in a Pink Cinq à Sept Gown at the Premiere of 'Christopher Robin' in 2018
Ortega's preference for long, pleated dresses took the form of soft pink tiers at the premiere of Christopher Robin. Thanks to the cutouts and pale shade, this look feels like a precursor to her 2023 Golden Globes look.
Jenna Ortega in a Gosia Baczyńska Gown at the L.A. Premiere of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' in 2017
In 2017 it was rare to see Ortega walk a carpet in a look that didn't feature some kind of pleating. The Gosia Baczyńska number the A-lister wore to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere balanced the bright embellishments that marked her earlier looks with a somber black-and-white color palette.
Jenna Ortega in a Dhela Dress at the 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' Premiere in 2017
In case it wasn't clear that Ortega's metallic, colorful striped knit dress and pin-straight hair were inspired by Cher, Melendez confirmed as much on Instagram.
Jenna Ortega in an Opening Ceremony Dress at the Global Green Pre-Oscar Gala in 2017
This look Ortega wore to a pre-Oscar Gala in 2017 suggests that she already had a seed of her current aesthetic brewing when she was a teen. Over the next five years, elements of this look — like the silky slip dress base, sheer overlay, and ruffle-edged sleeves — would gradually evolve into the vampy and provocative red carpet style Ortega is now known for.
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