STYLE

Is Helena Bonham Carter A National Treasure?

22/06/2011 10:38 | Updated 22 May 2015

When Marc Jacobs was looking for a new face to represent his label he didn't choose a Hollywood blonde, size-6 starlet or a skinny supermodel – he chose Helena Bonham Carter.

Yes, that's the very same Helena Bonham Carter who's been topping those worst-dressed lists for the last decade.

Remember how the fashion set couldn't suppress their sniggers when she rocked up to this year's Golden Globe Awards wearing mismatched shoes?

And let's not forget all the times she's been compared to a 'bag lady' because she's been snapped out and about with her director husband Tim Burton looking like she's just fallen out of bed.

But now the tide is beginning to turn and Helena is well on the way to becoming a national treasure – and this makes me very happy.

Why?

Well, in a celebrity landscape populated by reality TV stars and wannabes, Helena is a breath of fresh air.

First and foremost, she's a talented actress who has recently enjoyed great success with films including The King's Speech, Harry Potter and the award-winning TV biopic Enid. She has managed to make the transition from being cast as a 'corset queen' in a number of period dramas and has played darker roles in Fight Club and a number of Tim Burton's films including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.

She's a working mum with two children (her son Billy was born in 2003, her daughter Nell in 2007) and she lives with her family in three adjoining houses in north London (one for him, one for her and one for the children). Despite endless speculation about their unconventional domestic arrangements, Helena clearly doesn't care what anyone else thinks and finds it funny that they're seen as the "bonkers couple".

Predictably, the images for the Marc Jacobs campaign capitalise on Helena's eccentric sense of style.

She poses for one photograph with her tongue sticking out and black spots painted all over her skin.

In another, she's photographed upside down, sprawled on the ground in a pink scalloped dress, polka dot tights and a tiny pill box hat. She looks like a bonkers mermaid.

In a third image she's panting and begging like a dog while wearing odd gloves and two doughnut-shaped hats on top of birds nest hair.

Yes, she looks a little bit mad, but she also looks like she's having fun, which makes a nice change from the usual shots of pouting teenage models, doesn't it?

It goes without saying that Marc Jacobs is a fan. He's applauded Helena's "exquisite self expression" and, given that she made the Vanity Fair 2010 Best Dressed List, he's obviously not the only one who's nurturing a style crush on HBC.

Luckily there's no chance of Helena letting all this adulation go to her head. She admits that the Vanity Fair accolade was "a triumph!", but still can't bring herself to take fashion seriously.

She says: "It made me laugh because I thought it was a joke when I found out.

"But when I saw the article, I thought, 'Oh, the photos they've chosen are as bad as the ones they print when I'm worst dressed'."

She told People magazine: "Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong. But fashion is all about having fun. I think fashion has been hijacked by the fashion industry creating rules on what one should wear and I feel like breaking the mould and seeing that the world won't crumble."

But the main reason I love Helena is because she represents all the best things about British women. She's a bit of a rebel, looks like she knows how to have a good time and doesn't buy into the idea that you have to pump your face full of fillers and spend half your life in the gym to look good. Hell, sometimes you don't even have to brush your hair.

Earlier this year she said: "I feel more sexy than ever... I feel fine about shapes and things. It's nice to have curves. To be a woman."

So I think that Helena is more than qualified to take her place alongside women like Dames Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren and Julie Andrews.

She might not have the title yet, but she's got the attitude - and if she can get it together by the comparatively tender age of 45, then I'd like to think that there's still hope for the rest of us.

Helena, we salute you.

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