kate winslet mildred pierce

Melissa Leo, Kate Winslet and Evan Rachel Wood at the premiere of "Mildred Pierce."
Dimitrios Kambouris, WireImage | Michael N. Todaro, FilmMagic

"I haven't been to the States for three months, so all of it's a bit, 'I'm back,'" Kate Winslet said cheerily at the premiere of "Mildred Pierce," her new five-part series which begins on HBO this Sunday.

Winslet plays a character familiar to many from an earlier classic film version -- starring Joan Crawford -- but director Todd Haynes insists his adaptation is more faithful to the novel. (For one thing, added his producing partner Christine Vachon, Crawford insisted on moving the plot to the 1950s so she could wear shoulder-pads.)

But Winslet told StyleList she really enjoyed wearing the '30s costumes of her character.

"I really loved it because it's so different to the '20s and so different to '40s, because we span right across that time period," said the actress, who was wearing a figure-flaunting Stella McCartney dress with a sheer side panel, and shoes by the same designer.

"I loved watching each shape change as the years go by and how the colors shift and change based on the period, but also based on Mildred's success and her own sense of confidence and her own sense of style as well, which really does seem to develop. In the beginning she doesn't have a sense of style."

And would Winslet wear any of the character's pieces herself?

"Under no circumstances," she said firmly.

Part of the problem seems to have been costume designer Ann Roth's strict attention to the underwear and girdles. Evan Rachel Wood -- a StyleList look of the day for her plum Elie Saab premier outfit -- said: "It was uncomfortable. Oh, absolutely. It was tight, it was hot, but you have to do it."

Newly-minted Oscar-winner Melissa Leo added with a slight dash of irony: "Ann Roth was delighted to dress us all in underpants and stockings -- all the stockings you see are garter stockings, me, Kate, everyone wears them."

The actress herself chose a midnight blue Marc Bouwer velvet dress paired with dance-flats, for comfort.

"There's a fashion afoot today," she said, indicating a precipitously high heel near her on the red carpet, "her foot is being broken in those boots, those heels drop to the toe and I cannot do that. I did it as Alice Ward [her celebrated character in "The Fighter"] and those boots almost broke my foot. I had to have sports medicine massage in the middle of shooting."

She continued, "that's the truth about those shoes -- I think they look vile. I think they make women look like they're about to fall over and I think that may be why people like them, but I don't have much to say about them."

And with that, she took herself and her dance shoes into the Ziegfeld Theater for the screening.