The Meaning Behind Rosamund Pike’s Golden Globes ‘Saltburn’ Look

Photography by Getty Images

Elspeth Catton would be proud.

When Elspeth Catton is introduced in Saltburn, the aristocratic matriarch declares that she has a “complete and utter horror of ugliness.” It’s a pretty cruel thing to say, but it’s perfectly telling of her out-of-touch character (played by Rosamund Pike). At the 2024 Golden Globes, the actor brought Elspeth’s unsettling Saltburn essence to life.

Pike — who was nominated for Supporting Actress in the film — graced the red carpet in a fabulously morose look that mirrored her on-screen alter ego. Pulled from Dior’s 2019 couture collection, the ensemble comprised a black lace tea-length dress over a fishnet long-sleeve with floral appliqués. To top it off, she wore a voluminous matching heart-shaped fascinator.

The headpiece, by Philip Tracy, featured a theatrical bow (girl power?), which further added to the irony of this darkly elegant visual. And as it turns out, there’s an on-theme explanation for why she wore it.

Pike revealed that she had a skiing accident over the holidays, causing her face to be “entirely smashed up.” In true Elspeth fashion (imperfection = no), she rushed to cover the injury with a sartorial statement. If any look can make you feel curious, inspired and uneasy all at once, it’s this one.

Could she be headed to a funeral? Might she be on her way to a wedding? Is this just an average look for Tuesday dinner at Elspeth’s sprawling estate? All of these possibilities could be true — and that’s what makes Pike’s complex Saltburn character so alluring.

Rosamund Pike in Saltburn
Photography courtesy of Prime Video

Elspeth is blissfully lacking in self-awareness and basic human empathy. In a movie filled with awful people, she truly shines for her unwavering unapologetic approach. “I’ve never wanted to know anything,” she reflects matter-of-factly at one point in the film, lounging outside her literal castle of a home in a breezy caftan. “She’d do anything for attention,” she says coldly of a friend who has died by suicide later in the film.

Her physical aversion to all that is not fun to look at speaks to the core of her beliefs. She is beautiful, and thus feels it is only fair that she surrounds herself with other equally pretty things.

Fittingly, Saltburn costume designer Sophie Canale gave Elspeth a vintage, bohemian wardrobe with flowy silhouettes and a relaxed flair. After all, she may be incredibly judgemental, but she won’t ever look uptight or stuffy.

Rosamund Pike in Saltburn
Photography by Chiabella James/Prime Video

On the contrary, she exudes peaceful ignorance as she meanders about the property’s gardens saying outrageous things with sobering seriousness. (“I was a lesbian for a while, you know…It was all a bit wet for me in the end, men are so lovely and dry.”)

Elspeth Catton is by no means a good person. She is however, shockingly shameless, intensely funny and undeniably dark. She may be morally murky, but my God, the woman can dress. And at the Golden Globes, this is exactly what Rosamund Pike delivered.

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