Like writing and drawing, how we dress is how we express who we are as people to the rest of the world. You can assess so much from a person just by the way they tuck their shirt, style their hair and cuff their trousers. It is the most accessible art form we have as human beings, whether we are conscious of this or not. We are constructing an expressive outfit to not only suit ourselves but to inform the world of our interests and tastes. We are uber-conscious of this when it comes time to annually fawn over our favourite celebrities taking their strut to the red carpets they are invited to walk.
The collective awe we feel when we see a dress that makes one sexy but sophisticated or a suit that is strapping but boundary redefining is comparable to the feeling we get from a poem or painting. Our minds can be awakened by fashion, acting as a catalyst for important thoughts, conversations and actions. The red carpet serves as a reminder of this whenever it is dusted off and unrolled for these events.
The Long and Winding Carpet
Perhaps our eyes are drawn to the red carpet for the prestige it instantly implies. The bold colour stands out, imprints itself on your eyes and immediately tells you that it is destined for the elite to walk upon. Our 24-hour news stations salivate at the prospect of a red carpet as it becomes a certainty that we will see our finest members of society dress their boldest, which will spark tons of interest from viewers on social media and the like. The Met Gala best represents this. New York plays host to the Gala, introducing a new theme every year. The last Gala, in 2019 (due to COVID-19), centred around the theme of camp. Men and Women alike expressed themselves as theatrically as possible, holding nothing back in the fashion spectacle of the year.
The male attendees of the gala sparked a conversation about toxic masculinity on social media. Harry Styles and Jared Leto’s bold statements on the carpet promoted a more accepting attitude to men embracing their feminine sides. Approaches like these smash the toxic standards that have been set for men, which limit their ability to be truly expressive. The Met Gala’s high profile provides a format for problems to be highlighted to the world with the red carpet acting as the stage.
Guiding Us To A Brighter Tomorrow?
“If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones”Lady Gaga to Ellen Degeneres about her infamous meat dress
The problems that face our world are often ignored and hidden away from us. The red carpet creates a platform that we cannot ignore, especially with the spotlight that social media shines upon it. When we’re lucky enough to be blessed with a public figure that cares about a brighter tomorrow, they will use this platform to try and bring us one step closer to that day.
Lady Gaga sparked controversy when she used the red carpet’s spotlight in 2010. Through donning a meat-dress at the MTV music awards, Lady Gaga became the topic on everyone’s tongue. Despite provoking animal right’s groups with her stunt, Gaga started a conversation about our right’s as human beings. Outraged by the US government’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which forced LGBT members of the army to remain silent about their identity. Gaga’s stunt was just a part of the growing public furore about the act at the time. Nonetheless, Barack Obama would repeal the act just two months following the meat dress’s debut. The impact of Lady Gaga’s stunt cannot be denied. Her actions were influential in bringing a new audience to the discussion of equality and continuing the conversation at such a pivotal moment.
This was all possible through the red carpet. The carpet allows for our best and brightest to display their boldest outfits to the world, but also our most important issues. May it continue to be the playground for self-expression, for the world needs it.