The Hobbit star Evangeline Lilly

The Hobbit star Evangeline Lilly

You’d think an acting career spent working in mostly all-male casts - first as Kate on the groundbreaking series Lost, more recently as elf Tauriel in The Hobbit - might have turned Evangeline Lilly into a bit of a tomboy. In fact the opposite is true. “I started out as a tomboy, but as a result I’m much more girly” she laughs. These days the 35-year-old Canadian actress loves a splashy Versace frock for the red carpet, while off duty she’s all about a pair of well cut Zara trousers. We sat down to talk style crushes, prosthetic elf ears and why losing her clothes in a house fire was oddly liberating.

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, which I think has given me perspective on buying expensive clothes. I don’t care what the label is on something, I just care that it expresses my style. I’ll often find more things in a thrift store than at Neiman Marcus.”

“As a teenager my siblings and I would only be bought clothes twice a year, on birthdays and in the fall just before school started, when we were allowed one new outfit. At 16 I was so desperate for something new to wear that I went down to our Halloween costume box and put on a skirt we’d used for a gypsy costume to wear to school!”

“My style crush is Linda Evangelista. I’ve always thought she’s amazing - feminine and sexy but with that cool hint of androgyny. I try to channel that mix of masculine and feminine style in my own wardrobe.”  

Linda Evangelista on the catwalk in 1990

“For the first Lost screening I went to the mall in Honolulu and bought a green flowy dress from BCBG Max Azria. I never imagined in a million years that I would ever have anything like a stylist, I just thought to myself ‘how exciting, an excuse go and buy a fancy dress!’ I loved wearing it. To this day I think it’s one of the nicest red carpet dresses I’ve ever worn.”

“In 2006 the house where I was living in Hawaii burned down. All I had left were the clothes on my back, my wallet and my car. It was actually quite a positive feeling. I was like ‘oh my god I’m a gypsy, I could go anywhere right now!’ For a long time afterwards I was quite reluctant to go shopping, but it’s amazing how quickly things accumulate.”

I’m very involved in the costume of every character I play. As Tauriel on The Hobbit it was really important that the wig and prosthetic ears were comfortable. If something feels unnatural it’ll throw off your concentration. I’ve kept something from every set I’ve worked on, though it’s really not allowed so I shouldn’t say what!”  

Evangeline as Tauriel in The Hobbit

“I’ve had a lot of luck wearing Versace on the red carpet. My figure is quite compact and Versace feels like just the right fit. I’ve also just recently discovered Zuhair Murad. His pieces are strong and structured but so sexy and figure flattering too.”

Evangeline on the red carpet in Versace in 2006

“This is pretty ridiculous but I wear sandalwood fragrance from The Body Shop that’s actually meant for your home, not your body! I don’t really care I just love the smell of it. I also get a lot of compliments when I wear Michael Kors.”

“My Mum worked for Estee Lauder for years. I had my first makeover when I was eleven years old in 6th grade. I don’t think a tonne of make-up is very flattering on a young woman so when I started out I wore very little. Now I’m 35 years old I think I can carry it off better than I used to.”

Evangeline at The Hobbit premiere last year

Love Love Love: Lily’s fashion favourites

Zara trousers
“I like the way they’re cut with a high waist and a narrow ankle. Comfortable but stylish.”

Michael Kors perfume
“I always get compliments from people when I wear this scent”

Leather jacket
“A leather jacket goes on over everything. Dresses, jeans, shorts - you name it.”

The Hobbit is in cinemas 13th December. Lily’s children’s book The Squickerwonkers is available to buy now.

Interview by Lucy Pavia / @lucypavia