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The Year on the Red Carpet

  • December 08, 2021

It was the year public figures crept back into the spotlight, first with a tiptoe out of doors at the presidential inauguration, then a socially distanced red carpet at the Oscars — and then a full throttle, ball-gowns-to-the-max explosion of pent-up dressing up at the Cannes Film Festival, as if to compensate for the previous annum of enforced isolation.

No longer were our celebrity avatars Just Like Us, stuck at home in sweatpants, T-shirts and Tevas; they had become vessels through which we could peacock vicariously. Skirts got ever larger, suits evermore unbound, gender differentiation increasingly irrelevant and the definition of just who got to send a message with what they wore ever more expansive. The basic black tuxedo and the little black dress turned into relics of the Before Times. Who wants sartorial understatement when you’ve been forcibly muzzled for months?

Instead, give us color, personality and a bugle bead (or 10) as symbols of a new age; vehicles of unfettered self-expression. Maybe it’s wishful thinking. Maybe the 2020s really are going to be the 1920s redux. Either way, the sheer visual statement-making lit up our feeds.

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