Zooey Deschanel: Dark Lady

Zooey Deschanel, star of this fall's pitch-black indie comedy Eulogy, strikes a moody pose at one of Santa Monica's hipster hangouts.


Zooey Deschanel--indie actress, cabaret chanteuse and Courreges-mad collector of '60s mod coats--is one of the few mortals who can pull off the Ivy Leaguer-meets-Irish sprite look.

We meet just as the press-day gruel for her latest project, Eulogy--an eccentric comedy about a batty family coming together for their patriatrch's funeral--is winding down. She's playfully preppy in jeans and a magenta cashmere sweater with dainty chest ruffles. Her top, she explains with a fashionista's delight, comes from a vintage store in Vancouver. "They make things out of old clothes that they can't sell, and this is a mix between a sweater and a shirt. It's cool, right?"

A rhetorical question, because pretty much everything about the 24-year-old, L.A.-based actress is as cool as pie. For starters, she's named after the male protagonist in J.D. Salinger's seminal novella Franny and Zooey. Her dad is award-winning cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, and like a true Hollywood tot, she grew up singing and acting in musicals. As a teenager, she played a sassy, rock-obsessed kid who tosses at her dorky little brother the immortal line, "Someday, you'll be cool!"

That film was Almost Famous--Deschanel's breakthrough at age 18. Her roles since then (in films like Elf and The Good Girl) have only cemented her deliciously moody artistic persona.

On the red carpet, she has been playing muse to her favorite L.A. designers: Petro Zillia, Corey Lynn Calter and MarcoMarco. They have been custom-making retro-flavored outfits to match the actress' sense of style, inspired in part by the irreverent charm of '60s New Wave icon Anna Karina. "Sixties fashion is such an obsession of mine," Deschanel says. When she sings and plays the ukulele in the cabaret duo the Pretty Babies, she glams it up in MarcoMarco's and Corey Lynn Calter's ladylike cocktail dresses, accessorized with flowers and bows.

The coolest thing about her upcoming part in the sci-fi romp The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? She gets to wear a wide-legged aqua jumpsuit and a karate sash--"So '60s French New Wave!"


Sorina Diaconescu