Hollywood 2020: Coronvirus Chronicles–Red Carpet Glamor, Bygone Phenom?

Hollywood’s Red Carpets May Never Come Back the Way They Used to Be

Cate Blanchett, Jeremy O. Harris and Tilda SwintonAt first glance, it was business as usual on the red carpet at the Venice Film Fest in early September.

Jury president Cate Blanchett appeared on opening night in a sparkly Esteban Cortazar gown, albeit “recycled” from an earlier wearing, and later broke out several Armani Privé and Alexander McQueen numbers, some new, some repeats. Tilda Swinton, accepting a lifetime achievement award, appeared in Chanel Haute Couture, while Pieces of a Woman’s Vanessa Kirby wore achingly sleek styles from
Valentino Couture.

The Venice festivities were the biggest aggregation of designer names seen on stars in many months, since the last major red carpet at the Oscars in February. In between, the globe hunkered down amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The style world, along with many other industries, mostly screeched to a halt, save for fashions spotted on stars on their IG feeds or out for a masked walk.

Roberta Armani, the niece of designer Giorgio Armani, who heads his celebrity and VIP relations, says the house made its return as an effort to get back to normal. “This is important for many reasons — for our mental health, for our economy, for our confidence in the future,” she wrote to THR. “It may be that for some time to come we all need to live in a new way with restrictions on how we can behave, but we need to navigate this reality in a way that shows that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Armani is so associated with the red carpet, with movie stars and film, that if there is a Venice Film Festival, we simply have to be there to support it.”


Vanessa Kirby
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Image
Vanessa Kirby

In the United S where new coronavirus cases have been averaging around 40,000 per day, large-scale entertainment gatherings have yet to resume anyway and probably won’t until sometime in 2021. And the virtual Emmys on Sept. 20 obviously did without the red carpet. Yet, in recent years, exposure at major award shows and film premieres has been regarded as crucial to most major fashion houses. Many red carpets are basically parades of stars paid directly, or indirectly as “ambassadors,” wearing a limited number of brands that pony up big bucks for exposure.

Though no one really goes out to buy an actual gown seen on the red carpet, the halo effect is assumed to be crucial to selling a brand’s handbags, fragrances and makeup. “Luxury brands have always wanted to be as close to the arts as possible because it allows them to claim a place in that cultural landscape,” says Thomaï Serdari, director of the fashion & Luxury MBA at NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. “And it’s also increasing your brand’s equity through a communications strategy.”

Source: Hollywood Reporter