• Jacket and skirt by Oscar de la Renta; pumps by Christian Louboutin

    An unassuming-looking young woman steps into a restaurant on the Bowery in New York, escaping from an early summer rainstorm. She unwraps a raincoat to reveal skinny jeans and a simple gray T-shirt. As she turns to say hello, her quietly pretty face breaks into a smile. I have to look twice before I’m sure it’s actually her.

    Only then do I realize that I’ve been expecting the actress Christina Ricci to arrive dressed head to toe in black and sporting a frown. After all, the former child actress – who made her name as the famously morbid Wednesday Addams in the Addams Family movies – has never been known for playing it pleasant. Case in point, her turn as a troubled teenage seductress in 1997’s The Ice Storm, not to mention her chilling role as

    “I’ve always loved LADYLIKE clothing. My MOTHER, a model, had an IMPACT on me”

    a serial killer’s lesbian girlfriend in 2003’s Monster.

    Yet as we slide into a booth and begin to talk, it is clear that, in person, the actress is far from gloomy. At the age of 33, she cuts a tiny figure and could easily pass for 22. Her hazel eyes are large and expressive; her shoulder-length hair falls in brownish-red waves. “It’s not a day for dressing up,” she smiles, apologizing for seeming a little rain-bedraggled (the T-shirt is J.Crew; the jeans Rag & Bone; the boots last season’s Target).

    When I explain I’d love to talk clothing, she launches into a detailed description of the shoot you see here. “The clothes were beautiful,” she enthuses. “There was a lot of lace; very pretty and ladylike, but not overly frilly – exactly what I like.” In other words, Ricci may play dark roles, but her conversational style is sweetly chatty – and her sartorial preferences skew toward feminine, modern and romantic. “The minute the sun comes out, I’m wearing little dresses,” she says.

    This appreciation of fashion has been a constant in a career that

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