It's been a big year for the star of the new film Big Sur. Kate Bosworth talks finding love on set, Beat Generation style, and her latest collaboration with Topshop.
This year has been a whirlwind for Kate Bosworth—featuring a new movie, new design collaboration, and even a new husband. In the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur, written and directed by Michael Polish (Bosworth’s now spouse), the 30-year-old actress plays “Billie” Dabney, Neal Cassidy’s mistress turned Kerouac’s lover. While Bosworth’s character in the film may not be adept at love—the audience sees Billie, a young, single mother, experience a series of relationship mishaps—in real life, the actress is pretty much floating on cloud nine.
Bosworth met Polish on the set of Big Sur, and in late August, the duo officially tied the knot—Bosworth in a custom-made Oscar de la Renta gown. “[De la Renta] has just seen it all,” Bosworth told Lucky magazine (she covers the November issue), “the fact that I’ll be able to share my most important moment to date with him is profound. I couldn’t control my reaction to sitting with him and talking with him about my wedding dress. I was trying not to cry, so I probably had this bizarre twisted face on.”
Meeting with de la Renta to discuss wedding dresses, however, was not Bosworth’s first foray into fashion design. Just last week, the actress unveiled her second collaboration with British retailer Topshop, a 46-piece collection described as “the ultimate capsule wardrobe for winter.”
Bosworth sat down with The Daily Beast to talk finding love on set, her character’s style in Big Sur, and why her collection with Topshop is much better this time around.
How did you prepare for the role of Billie?
It was such a new thing. The material is so challenging. Also, there isn’t a lot of material about Billie that exists, so I felt the need to take a suitcase full of words on the women of the Beat Generation. I wrote to Michael, and I said, “I would like to immerse myself in this world. What do you suggest would be appropriate for me to read?” He sent me a package, and I flew to Mexico on my own for about ten days and just read. Then, I felt sort of caught up on the perspective of different women of the time. These were sort of sober witnesses to the madness, so it was an amalgamation of thoughts of different women from the time.
I think the important thing to me was to be able to translate Kerouac’s words true to myself and true to the character, so that there was a connection with the audience. We talk[ed] about how easy it is to repeat words and yet not have a connection with them in a way that you need to in order to move people.
How would you describe Billie’s style in the film?
Bic Owens, the costume designer of Big Sur, is very talented. She doesn’t just come with a rack of clothes for you to try on— [the clothes] really tell a story. I worked with Ann Roth as well, and it was the same approach to delving beneath the material. We saw Billie as quite fashion-forward in San Francisco. Maybe she was a model. We don’t know much about her, so we’ve had to fill in those pieces a little bit.
It seemed like she really only wore neutrals and black.
The Beat Generation, that was their thing. All the pieces that were pulled were costume pieces, so they were of the time. I remember this pair of Capri pants, the backs were checkerboard and the fronts were black. She was fashionable—she was a mom, but she was obviously experimental. We kind of filled in [the blanks] with her wardrobe quite a bit. Then when we were in Big Sur, Michael changed her palette to different shades of green.
What was it like to work with your now husband?
Mike was the main draw for me to do this movie, because everyone can appreciate that Kerouac is an incredibly challenging adaptation. I knew that Michael Polish would make something interesting. And I was willing to jump on board, because, like you say [looking at Michael], “you’re going to live and die by the sword.” So I was willing to live and die with [Michael], because I was such a fan of his work.
On top of the release of Big Sur, your second collection for Topshop also debuted this week. Was this collaboration easier than the first?
It was great. We had more time. It felt like a very complete extension of my aesthetic. So that was exciting to put into the world—that kind of classic, minimalistic American approach to fashion that I’ve always been attracted [to]. And of course, the way we all work is that I work with the design team in London. Kate Phelan meets the team, and then I have my group that I work with, and then [we discuss] sensory—whether it’s jersey or knits. We all come together, and I talk to them about what I feel is relevant at the moment.
Then I show Michael what we will be doing and he visualizes the campaign—the short film that we’ll be doing—and that’s how we work together in that space. We love working together and we inspire each other. I do something in particular; he does something in particular.
Do you hope to do more design work in the future?
Oh, yeah. I am cognizant of the learning curve and the importance of understanding the process of manufacturing, concept to delivery. There’s lot of moving pieces to creating a collection. This has been a great opportunity for me to gain some knowledge and to take that to the next chapter, wherever that may lead me.
How’s newlywed life treating you?
I love being married. There’s a comfort and a safety to being with your best friend and your partner who believes in you. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, that person is going to be there one hundred percent.
This interview has been edited and condensed.