Exclusive interview: Kate Winslet is the face of Longines new Dolce Vita timepiece

The British actor and longtime Longines ambassador, Kate Winslet speaks about her love of watches as she's announced as the face for the new Dolce Vita YVY watch. Also the roles she's relished and the importance of living every moment to its fullest

By Kim Parker

Kate Winslet is the face of Longines new Dolce Vita x YVY timepiece

As Kate Winslet draws the curtains on an unspeakably hot day in Paris, she loses none of her own warmth, chatting merrily away to the assembled group of journalists gathered in her hotel suite.

Dressed in a breezy Rag & Bone shirtdress and sneakers (which she will later swap for an elegantly tailored jumpsuit for the evening), she’s here to speak about Longines‘ new unisex Dolce Vita x YVY timepiece, which she models for the Swiss watchmaker in its latest campaign. Created in collaboration with the leather designer Yvonne Reichmuth of YVY (pronounced ‘evie’), the watch has been envisioned as a unisex timepiece that anyone can wear and was inspired both by Reichmuth’s edgy corsetry work as well as leather horse bridles – a nod to Longines’ historic association with the equestrian world.

Here, Winslet discusses just why she considers the Longines Dolce Vita x YVY watch to be a ‘powerful’ new timepiece, highlights from her storied acting career and why it’s important not to take time for granted.

Longines Dolce Vita x YVY is available with black, cream or tan leather straps

Q: It’s great to meet you, Kate. Tell us about the new Dolce Vita x YVY watch – what is it that you love about it?

It’s just so cool. It’s androgynous and it looks powerful. It’s also clean-looking and chic – fancy, but not too much. I’ve always been drawn to more chunky-looking timepieces. I need them to roll with my lifestyle and to work with everything. You might be able to swap out your earrings or lipstick every time you change your outfit, but it’s less practical to do that with a watch. I need something that looks good with everything. I particularly love the double strap, which looks as if it’s been wound round your wrist.

Q: Longines, as a brand, has had ‘elegance is an attitude’ as its motto for a long time. What does ‘elegance’ mean to you these days?

For me, what ‘elegance’ means has changed in the last 10 years or so. It’s synonymous with luxury, sure, but now both men and women can be ‘elegant’. It’s no longer a word reserved exclusively for women, or describing a feminine type of style. That time has gone and I love that. I think real elegance means power. It means being comfortable with oneself, being true to oneself. That’s important to me.

Q: How has your appreciation of time evolved over the years?

I appreciate it more. My mother died five years ago and since then, I’ve found myself thinking, ‘Okay, we have to live for every day.’ We absolutely don’t know what’s around the corner. So stupid things like holding grudges, or having an issue with someone, is all just nonsense. I never really did that, but now I definitely wouldn’t let things linger.

The double strap on Longines’ new Dolce Vita x YVY watch was inspired by equestrian bridles

Q: How has being a timepiece ambassador changed your relationship to watches?

Well, I do wear a watch all the time, which I didn’t before I embarked on this relationship. I’d be lost without it. I just don’t want to be this person who’s always looking at their phone. A few weeks ago, I left my watch somewhere as I was rushing about and didn’t have it for 24 hours. I couldn’t believe how much my screen time went up, because I was checking [my phone] all the time. So yeah, I love my watch.

Q: You’ve said in the past that it’s hard as an actor to tell what audiences will like whilst you’re shooting something. After such a fabulous career, do you find that any easier?

No, not at all. What audiences want, and what they are vocal about, is changing all the time. And we, as performers, have to respect that. I care about digging deep and doing good work, that’s always been the case for me. But you can never know what’s going to be popular. When you think about Mare Of Easttown, we never would have anticipated that it would end up this crazy, successful thing with people obsessively tuning in. Perhaps there was something going on globally, perhaps because of the pandemic, that drew people towards the story, and to this character – this middle-aged, flawed woman. She just felt like all of us. She felt the way we were all feeling. I was blown away by it.

Q: Yvonne Reichmuth, who designed the new Dolce Vita, started out as a fashion stylist and has even done costume design during her career. Of all the characters you’ve played in the past, whose costume has been your favourite to wear, and why?

I loved the costumes on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, just because they were nothing like the clothes I would put together myself. And they were so specific to that fantastic character. [Clementine] was so much fun to play. I also loved my costumes on Mildred Pierce. They were created by an incredible designer called Ann Roth, who has been in the industry for absolutely years. Some of the pieces I was wearing were real pieces from the 1930s which would literally be shredding, falling apart, as they were on my body. But I just loved how absolutely of the time they were, and how incredibly authentic and real and perfect they were for the character.

I did also kind of love Mare, because we just had to make her look as terrible as possible, which was so much fun. We’d be like, ok, let’s find a T-shirt with a triple decker hamburger printed on the back, and put a little tear in it and get a little bit of food down the front. It was brilliant. I absolutely loved it.

Q: Lastly, how do you like to style the new Dolce Vita watch?

I’m wearing black and white today, which I didn’t plan to do, but it totally works. It just goes with everything – jeans, dress, jumpsuit. It’s flipping brilliant.

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