Fashion + The Red Carpet

Back To The Future With Casual Red Carpet Fashion

Back to the Future with Casual Red Carpet Fashion

Trapped at home in Coronavirus purgatory, once busy celebs are now lazing about between their bedroom and living room, watching ungodly amounts of Netflix just like the rest of us. Along with soul-crushing attempts at relatability (see: Gal Gadot’s imagine video), another celebrity quirk to come with the pandemic is the move to lockdown fashion and styles.

No more is the glamour of pre-pandemic paparazzi coverage. It has been replaced by shots of our favourite celebs sporting the standard shorts and t-shirt combination on trips to get their weekly shop, or doing their one form of exercise a day in a tracksuit. As the world emerges, we’re seeing these lockdown trends crop up again at the new virtual red-carpet events; which is perhaps even a return to the red carpet’s roots.

Late ’90s transformation

From its beginning in the 1930s to the 1990s, red carpet fashion was unrecognizable from what we know it as today. Prior to the ’90s, many celebrities chose their own red-carpet attire, with weird and wonderful a reoccurring theme. A lot of the famous looks that we still remember unfortunately didn’t go too well!

One of these is Demi Moore’s self-designed dress. She wore it for the 1989 Academy Awards and it has found its way onto many a worst dressed list. Without the picture proof you would hardly believe the dress features tight bicycle shorts, a metallic-lined skirt, and a bustier.

Another disappointing flop was Kim Basinger’s dress the following year, at the 1990 Academy Awards. This white number looked like a wedding dress with the interesting choice of an asymmetrical neckline and a single sleeve and glove combo.

As these are both dresses worn to the Academy Awards, they have a formality to them which was uncommon among award shows of the time. At most other red-carpet events, it was not uncommon to see a star turning up in casual dress. Lockdown award shows and red-carpet fashion is similarly starting to trend, returning to those earlier roots with current fashions.

2021 Golden Globes

At the last red carpet, a new virtual Golden Globes, we saw the return of this attitude to dressing. Someone in particular who championed it was Nicola Coughlan; blending high fashion and casual style by wearing a tulle Molly Goddard dress paired with a cropped cardigan. It was generally well-received, as Vogue named Nicola on their best dressed list. There were, however, some negative comments, calling her ‘the fat girl from Bridgerton wearing a black cardigan’. She responded by revealing that it was self-styled, and not because she was insecure about her weight as the commenter had assumed, but rather because it was a style choice inspired by runway fashion. While not self-designed, Coughlan’s more casual appearance and self-styled outfit show the shift toward pre-90’s casual style.

Jason Sudeikis’ fashion moment was also a leap in this direction. Attending the event over Zoom, he broke protocol and didn’t dress up. Instead, he accepted his best actor win in a tie-dyed hoodie: the ultimate casual, self-designed outfit. NBC saw fit to call it “stoner casual”. After the media took notice, and his hoodie win being something widely reported on, Sudeikis continued the trend with his next red-carpet look.

Red Carpet Fashion and Politics

After his fashion moment at the Golden Globes, we saw a similar outfit from Sudeikis at the SAG Awards. Not one to disappoint, he zoomed in wearing a £650 Gucci Sweater. While maybe not as casual as the hoodie, the sweater departed from fashion trends, but was more noted instead for the lettering across the front, which said “My Body My Choice”. A powerful message in the current political climate, with the fight for women’s rights front and centre, which was popular on social media; Sudeikis was praised for supporting feminism when he knew all eyes were on him.

In some ways, red carpet fashion has returned to its roots with more casual looks, with the actors reclaiming the styling choices that were previously made for them by designers. Furthermore, the trend of red carpet looks as political statements has continued. Despite the #MeToo red carpet moment happening at the 2017 Academy Awards, where guests wore black dresses and multiple activists were invited, it is reassuring to see that Hollywood still cares about the women’s movement. Even if it is just Jason Sudeikis.

Hopefully, whilst styles return to their roots, the attitudes of people will progress and grow toward a more equal future.


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