The awards season in 2020 has started on a conscious note. Vintage dresses on the red carpet in particular, as well as the eco-responsible guides (at the BAFTAs) were very early in the spotlight. There was Jennifer Anniston’s vintage bias cut white satin Dior dress from the John Galliano era at home in 1999 and it was a Vintage chanel couture dress for Margot Robbie on the red carpet at the 92nd Academy Awards. The fashion making a splash on the red carpet – durable materials, pre-loved pieces and re-worn outfits – seemed to be the way to go, as millions of people around the world waited for events and dresses to come together. unfold. But just weeks later, as nations stranded, the COVID-19 outbreak changed the way red carpet events would be designed for the rest of the year.
Going forward, attendees and organizers saw the red carpet unfold in two directions: postponed indefinitely until large public gatherings and international travel were safe again, or to go virtual. While the two biggest names on the international circuit, the Met Gala and the Cannes Film Festival (usually held in early May and June respectively) have gone the old way, the second half of the year saw an innovative comeback.
Masks, social distancing greetings and a red carpet from home
On September 2, the Venice Film Festival rolled out the red carpet, after a months-long absence of sparkling dresses and flashy photographers. As the first international film festival since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing was mandatory, but the commitment to responsible fashion statements was encouraging. As president of the main jury of the prestigious festival competition, Cate Blanchett defended her green fashion note in not one, but several pre-loved pieces restyled for the nine-day premieres. Celebrity stylist Elizabeth Stewart’s Instagram account chronicled the Academy Award-winning actor reassigned Looks by Alexander McQueen, Armani Privé and Esteban Cortázar (all of which will be auctioned for charity through Red Carpet Advocacy) and prominent disposable masks. On that note, it was Tilda Swinton’s bespoke gold-tone metal butterfly face mask that took over the internet and eclipsed her Chanel couture at the opening ceremony.
The new step and repeat pattern was followed by the 72nd Primetime Emmy Award, which were held almost entirely virtually and connected via webcams. From a fashion perspective, this meant that celebrities were invited to dress up in their homes with the informal ‘come as you are, but make an effort’ theme – advertised via a letter sent to all applicants. While the pajama tailoring was expected, the virtual attendees dialed in the glamor after months of staying, giving the audience a much needed spectacle worthy of the biggest night on TV. Instead of a pre-show stroll, we saw Reese Witherspoon in a classic LBD-and-lipstick ensemble while sipping champagne in her lawn; winner ZendayaChristopher John Rogers and Armani Privé’s double evening wardrobe from his living room, Billy Porter in a custom-draped tuxedo by Ashi Studio from home and Tracee Ellis Ross walks down the red carpet in her backyard in an Alexandre ruffle dress Vauthier and matching metal face mask.
Holograms, visual effects and augmented reality
The most recently aired, the Green Carpet Fashion Awards transformed their favorite venue, the historic opera house Teatro alla Scala, into a dreamy terrarium of cascading foliage. Using cinematic tools such as augmented reality and visual effects, the fourth edition of the platform was presented through a first of its kind. digital show produced by an award-winning team. Crossed out by Livia Firth of Eco-Age and organized in collaboration with the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the event celebrates enduring style among iconic global stars, influencers and innovative designers, and featured just five design and craft innovation awards this past year. Alongside Zendaya, who won the Visionary title for leading the charge to increase both inclusiveness and diversity in fashion, stars such as Maisie Williams, Colin Firth, Iman, Cate Blanchett, Lewis Hamilton and host Robert Downey Jr. have appeared, some even as holograms.
The Firth Green Carpet Challenge came to life with celebrities on a digital version of the star-studded event, which was available to watch on the platform’s website. Highlights include Alexa Chung in a gold Prada dress from 2016, Tomi Adeyemi’s orange wrap dress made by Valentino with certified sustainable chiffon and winner Zendaya in a vintage chocolate brown piece Gianni Versace from 1996, the year of His birth. She “walked” on the Los Angeles carpet and made an appearance in Milan overnight. This is the very powerful connectivity that brings the community together to celebrate fashion and creativity, while providing a window of opportunity for real change.