We’re just two weeks into the star-studded movie awards season but already two questions keep bouncing around the GRAZIA office long after the ceremonies ended on our giant office television.

One: “What do you think Gaga will wear to the Oscars?” (Assuming of course that she’s nominated and likely to win for Best Original Song at the very least).

And two: “OMG, who IS that Kiki Layne and why have we never noticed her before?”

The answer to the why part of the latter is simple: Layne’s first major movie role was as the lead in If Beale Street Could Talk, a critically-acclaimed drama based on the best-selling book of the same name. In it, 26-year-old Layne, who has a degree in acting from DePaul University, plays Tish, a woman trying to get her wrongly-accused husband out of jail before the birth of their child.

Clearly, she’s beautiful, but what we’re loving is her sense of humour, even at the most high-brow red carpet soirees. Any woman who rocks a nose ring at a fashion show one week then looks princess-like in couture at the Golden Globes during the next, clearly has style sass in spades.

Layne might be as unknown as Gaga is phenomenally famous, but this clever Cincinnati native has fashion cred in spades – and this is only just the beginning.

We predict she’ll give the equally talented singer a run for her money as the best-dressed star at the Academy Awards this year. Quite frankly, we love them both so let’s just call it a tie. (How very Critics’ Choice 2019… we love seeing two women #winning together.)

THE LOWDOWN

Name: Kiandra (Kiki) Layne

Nationality: American

Known for: her breakthrough performance in much-lauded 2018 drama film If Beale Street Could Talk. She’s also starred in several smaller-budget movies since graduation.

Nominations: Black Reel Award, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Florida Film Critics Circle Awards, Savannah Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Critics Circle Awards.

1. Her red carpet style

While Layne could carry off any ballgown with grace, she most often opts for dresses with a fitted bodice and statement skirt. She’s not afraid to embrace colour and loves jewel detailing, off-set with some small element that shows her rebellious streak. A chic minimalist this woman is not.

2. Her party event VIBE

An extension of her red carpet vibes, but stepped up several notches. Given the luxury labels are now scrambling to dress her, you’ll often see the actress in a head-to-toe runway look, much like the Chanel or Gucci two-pieces she’s wearing in the gallery below. Again, rebel elements feature heavily, whether its Adidas trainers with a disco-sequinned Gucci mini, sweet side buns twists from her braided extensions or the nose ring she often teams with otherwise elevated cocktail looks.

 

3. her fashion week STYLE

This lady puts the G back into the moniker Gucci Gurl. Clearly a friend of the brand and Michele’s out-there aesthetic, she’s often spotted wearing its gear off-duty and at party events. That’s not to say she’s all gold brocade, jewelled chunky trainers and wild sunglasses 365 days. The chic blush-toned Dior look she wore to a show afterparty hosted by GQ in Los Angeles (see the gallery below) was as minimalist as you’ll ever see Layne (fabulous hair included) but still packed a punch.

 

4. Her off-duty LOOK

More is more is clearly her mantra, whether on the movie promo rounds or off-the-clock. Layne’s clearly a fan of the late ’80s street style and leans to retro-look stone-wash denim, cartoon-vibe prints, neon, chunky trainers and oversized earrings. It takes confidence to rock out-there clothes in a regular everyday arena, but that’s clearly something this talented performer has in spades. Official style crush status: confirmed.

Kiki Layne in her kitschy off-duty kicks in Paris. (Credit: Instagram @kikilayne)
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