The grand entrance, the media influence, the exclusive pathway of the modern-day royalty, it’s the red carpet. Known as a symbol of high status in the past, the red carpet has been one of the biggest factors for platform in the fashion industry.
First red carpet in history
Originally known as the glamorous practice of “rolling out the carpet”. First seen from a line in a play called Agamemnon written by Aeschylus in 468 B.C. From there, the “crimson path” was born. At that time, crimson path associates with high status. Sometimes, it was almost considered inappropriate for a mere mortal to stand on it. There was even a moment where the crimson path was only fitting and appropriate to used only by the Gods.
The core reason though is the production process of the fabric and the dye to make the red carpet. The colour red was an extremely difficult and expensive dye stock during that time. Making red textiles was incredibly expensive, hence, making the colour red a sign of high status. It was such a known symbol that even in the 15th century, the Italian silk industry had to prevent sellers from deceiving its customers by selling them cheaper dyes to perfectly create the image of the expensive red fabric. However, even now when it is a more accessible dye, it still retains its value and meaning.
Does a high status mean a different treatment to those who walk the path?
The “red carpet treatment” was started by the Limited Express, a New York Central railroad that opened around the ’40s. They advertised how fast the train can travel from New York to Chicago. The speed of this exclusive train was a measure of class and royalty, matched by expensive tickets. To convey its exclusivity, they rolled out a red-carpet for passengers making their way to Grand Central Station.
Making its way to pop culture
From the roads of New York, Sid Grauman, the famous American Showman, brought the Red Carpet in the eyes of Hollywood. For the first time in 1992, the red carpet was used for the premiere of the film Robin Hood. Not long after, it was used on multiple different occasions, from movie premieres to award ceremonies.
Since then, the red carpet is known to be the path of the stars. It still reminds us as symbolism for special occasions made for high status. Where now celebrities are the modern-day royalty.
Why has the red carpet have become so prominent in the fashion industry?
The answer is simple, it’s because of celebrities and the mass media influence it holds. For example, the Met Gala, one of the largest red carpet moment that only happens once a year. The Met Gala is one of the most glamorous versions of marketing. Any brand’s presence in the Met Gala can benefit them greatly. The media benefits a ton by talking about this event, known as the Oscars of the fashion industry.
The Met Gala to the fashion industry or the brand itself opens a space to connect with the most top customers (the A-list celebrities). On top of that, the event is charitable, bringing a good cause to these brands and increasing their charitable image.
How is it different from other events?
Indifferent from fashion week or catwalks in general, those who attend the red carpet events are very exclusive. However, the entrances are very accessible to media, which in fact is the whole point of the red carpet. The press covers so much of these exclusive events. Making the garments worn becoming very accessible to the general public. Becoming the birth of many trends in the fashion industry. Those who publicise and join in the conversation, get that little bit of clout especially big events like the Met Gala.
What do you think? Do you think the red carpet will remain one of the biggest influential events for fashion? Should it talk about more important topics to influence the mass media? These are the questions to ponder.