Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
No Time To Die premiere, London
Since the Duchess of Cambridge started holding hands with Prince William she has always dressed appropriately, with an eye to looking polished and not upsetting the in-laws, but in a gold Jenny Packham gown at the premiere of the latest Bond film, the Duchess finally mined hidden depths.
The perennially blow-waved tresses were elevated into an extravagant up-do worthy of a Bond girl, paying subtle tribute to the late Dame Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, while the gown’s gold embellishment showed a willingness to take centre stage.
Lil Nas X
MTV Music Video Awards, New York
Actor Billy Porter’s monopoly on gender-bending red carpet appearances was broken by singer Lil Nas X in 2021. The openly gay rapper has been changing industry attitudes with his free-wheeling approach to fashion, which peaked with his lavish tribute to Little Richard in a lavender Versace jumpsuit at the MTV Music Video Awards. With plenty of skin, moisturised to Magic Mike levels, on display, the singer glowed in the asymmetrical outfit with a jewel-encrusted jacket and generous train. The Jheri–curled mullet added to the over-the-top approach, reinforcing that the trail-blazer has nothing to hide.
Cannes Film Festival
Normally, a gold-dipped necklace designed to resemble our breathing apparatus would invite the heckle “nice set of lungs” but supermodel Bella Hadid in Schiaparelli Haute Couture left onlookers at the Cannes Film Festival speechless. The form-fitting dress with a neckline that dipped well below daring was fetching enough, but the adornment elevated it to artwork. Daniel Roseberry, Schiaparelli’s artistic director, was a red carpet favourite in 2021, with Lady Gaga, Adele and Beyoncé all borrowing from the designer’s storeroom.
The Met Gala
When you’ve been a supermodel since the ’70s, you have a substantial head start on the red carpet’s new arrivals and Iman stood her ground in Harris Reed at The Met Gala. The gender-fluid British designer created a jacquard bustier and flared trousers in gold at Dolce & Gabbana’s atelier, completing the look with a feathered headdress. “I just wanted her to look like a beam of light,” Reed told Vogue. Beam of light or crop circle, Iman was a beacon of style.
Grammy Awards, Los Angeles
By blending glam rock touches with the comfort of nanna knitwear and plenty of Gucci, Styles has shed his One Direction past to pioneer a modern masculine approach to dressing on the red carpet. His stylist Harry Lambert has a playful approach to textures, disguising the singer’s subtle assault on gender stereotypes beneath familiar items such as sweater vests and tweed jackets, but it’s the Mae West feather boa that packs a punch. Come up and see him sometime. Anytime.
Spencer premiere, London
There’s an awkwardness to actress Kristen Stewart that served her well in the Twilight movie series and will no doubt inform her performance as Princess Diana in the upcoming Spencer. So, it was surprising to see the often tomboyish Stewart at ease and unapologetic in Chanel at Spencer’s Los Angeles premiere. The tiered sheer skirt and black bralette were ultra-feminine (I mean, there was even a bow) but Stewart added a cool edge with a smokey eye and messy bun.
MTV Music Video Awards, New York
From the ankles up American singer and songwriter Kacey Musgraves is a living Rene Gruau illustration wearing Valentino Haute Couture at the MTV Music Video Awards. This was one of the stand-out looks from Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s show in July and Musgrave convincingly holds her own beneath the glamorous Philip Treacy feather hat.
The Met Gala, New York
In hooded black Balenciaga haute couture, Kim Kardashian finally answered the burning question: if a Kardashian walks the red carpet, with their face covered, will you see them?
The answer was an unequivocal “yes”, as Kardashian went meta, demonstrating the power of her silhouette. It was funny, thoughtful and will continue to influence the red carpet in 2022. Does anyone remember what her half-sister Kendall Jenner wore?
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