The following feature appears in the September 2016 issue of NYLON.
It’s very likely that Winona Ryder is a time traveler from another decade, but it’s tough to pinpoint which one. Possibly her flux capacitor got jammed on shuffle and she’s been bouncing between timescapes ever since, taking a pinch from this era and that. She’s a high-intensity mix of commune-educated ’60s, rocker-goth ‘90s, and something sweepingly, intellectually Victorian—all of which swirl together on this particular late-summer afternoon of free-ranging conversation inside a weirdly stripped-down room at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel, and surely on every day of Ryder’s life.
At 44, there’s a sense about her that despite whatever self-doubts she might’ve struggled with in the past, she’s at peak power now. In September, she’ll make a cameo in the much-anticipated Author: The JT LeRoy Story. And audiences are still buzzing over Stranger Things, a meticulous slice of ’80s Spielbergian nostalgia that debuted on Netflix in July, and which has benefitted greatly from Ryder’s revitalization: She pounces all over the role of Joyce, a worked-to-the-bone single mother whose son is kidnapped by supernatural forces.
To most people, though, Ryder’s face is a portal to the ’90s. (Her friend Marc Jacobs capitalized on the fetishization of that decade when he tapped her to model in his latest beauty campaign.) Even today, with her long wavy hair and delicate lines etched around her eyes, it’s easy to summon that pixie haircut and those brick-red lips, or the lovestruck expression as she snuggled up to then-boyfriend Johnny Depp in so many now-classic images from the era.
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Top, tie, pants, and belt by Brunello Cucinelli, Ryder's own earrings.