The red carpet has historically been a place where only the most exclusive, famous and fashionable stars were granted access to. Ordinary people, like you and me, often filled the side-lines, clamouring through crowds to catch a glimpse. Nowadays, with the use of social media growing ever increasingly, it is much easier for normal people, myself included, to be able to connect with both fashion and the red carpet. The new age of technology has brought us closer than ever to the red carpet realm, but is it becoming too intrusive?
The role of the red carpet
The red carpet’s initial use was to pave the way for heads of state, including royalty, when arriving at formal or ceremonial events. Its role has since been expanded and now encompasses major celebratory events in industries such as film, music, and art, where well known celebrities, public figures and dignitaries are able to attend.
Fashion has always been a big factor at play in terms of the red carpet, whether it be royalty or Hollywood stars, the focal point of each individual almost always revolved around what they were wearing. Over time, red carpet fashion has become increasingly over-the-top, with designers going all out for events such as the Oscars and Met Gala. The media and press continue to battle it out in order to formulate the best pieces for magazines and tabloids to publish, following such events.
Media scrutiny has also increased over time, with celebrities becoming ever so more conscious about their wardrobe decisions on the red carpet. Creating a red carpet worthy look takes designers months and the pressure is heavy, they must decide on various factors, including who they would like to represent their brand. This is a very important factor for designers since it can make or break their name in the fashion world; the person they dress must exude and encompass the qualities and characteristics their label represents.
It is vital that the fashion press, critics and the general audience get the right impression from these designers. This bring us onto the topic of audience and how the viewership of such events has changed.
Viewership and social media
Traditionally, most red carpet events have been televised and captured on camera for public viewing. In recent decades, accessibility to such events has surged due to the growth in the media and press, as well as the development of social media. What used to feel like an overtly exclusive event, now seems to acknowledge the importance of the public viewership.
As many of you may already know, red carpet events such as the Grammys and the BAFTAs are nowadays often live streamed on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat; these platforms being very easily accessible to the general public, in particular to the younger generation.
Social media allows us to connect in every way possible, making us feel almost as if we were really there. From wardrobe and makeup to the red carpet itself, many celebrities in the modern day document their entire experience of the red carpet, either themselves or through a designated social media team. Us as an audience are able to ask questions and comment during live streams, as well as be given behind the scenes access for which the televised version does not. Being able to experience the glitz and glamour of the red carpet simply through the ease of our phones is certainly noteworthy, but does this take away from the event itself?
Social media on the carpet? Good or bad?
Of course the advancement of social media is commendable and frequently contributes positively to our day to day lives. In the case of the red carpet we have been given the opportunity to connect with people we otherwise never would have and catch a glimpse into the magic of what is the red carpet itself. However, is it all getting too much?
As mentioned previously, red carpet events have traditionally been exclusive occasions, for only those who were invited. Take the Met Gala for example, tickets are not available for purchase; one must be invited by the Vogue editor-in-chief herself, Anna Winter, with only 700 places available. The gala is strictly monitored with access inside the museum being kept to the bare minimum. As of 2015, the use of social media had been allegedly banned in an attempt to implore celebrities to focus on the art and fashion, instead of their phones.
Is the use of social media trivialising red carpet events? Are they losing out on their real meaning?
Live in the moment!
Red carpet events are for celebration, celebrating fashion, culture, art and entertainment. It is important for us all to remember not to get lost in the media frenzy of the current digital era. It is crucial not to lose focus of what we should be celebrating, we must not get too absorbed in documenting every single moment or feel pressure from social media and the press to look a certain way. Celebrities and designers alike should embrace the red carpet as a place to experiment and express themselves through art and fashion, as well as admiring and engaging with fellow guests.
In a 2016 interview with the Guardian’s Katherine Viner, Anna Wintour cautioned us against getting too absorbed in social media, she said that she was tired of people asking for pictures as opposed to actually engaging in real conversation; she highlighted the fact that even at fashion shows, people are too busy documenting the event rather than simply taking it in and living in the moment.
In the world of chaos and fashion, why not simply let those on the red carpet live in the moment?