When Bafta announced a sustainable dress code we dreamed of a red carpet of repeat outfits. Which A-listers adhered to the eco-friendly dress code and who said ‘no’ to new?
Watching the film and TV industry’s elite breathing life into our fashion fantasies and bringing the most sensational runway looks to life on the red carpet makes awards season a highlight at the top of every fashion lover’s calendar. The influence of award ceremony style is such that entertainment reporters find themselves asking who wore what in the same breath as who won what, and actors can all too often expect as much attention for their outfit as they can for their accolades.
However, in response to the climate change crisis this year there is a new talking point at the top of the awards season agenda: sustainability. Following suit from the Golden Globes, who served an entirely vegan menu to attendees, the Baftas put an environmentally conscious approach at the front and centre of its event. Championing a sustainable approach to red carpet dressing, ahead of the 2020 ceremony Bafta issued a dress code encouraging guests to reduce waste by wearing an ensemble they already owned instead of a new outfit.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world and as we all reconsider our relationship with fast fashion, this dress code signalled a refreshingly environmentally conscious approach to award season style. We dreamed of seeing a best-dressed list of A-listers proudly giving new life to outfits they had already debuted. Unfortunately this didn’t translate into reality. Much like a host asking guests to take off their shoes before standing on the new carpet, Baftas’ dress code went largely ignored, with the majority of the ceremony’s celebrated attendees choosing to wear new pieces rather than opt for a repeat outfit.
One guest that embraced the ceremony’s focus on sustainable style was The Duchess of Cambridge. Wearing a gold embroidered Alexander McQueen gown that devotees of Kate’s impeccable style will recognise from a dinner she attended with the King and Queen of Malaysia during a tour of Southeast Asia in 2012, she proved that the right dress has the power to make a style statement on more than one occasion. Indeed, the Duchess’s repeat of her elegant ensemble has been celebrated on Best Dressed lists everywhere. Joaquin Phoenix too made a sustainable statement in a custom-made Stella McCartney tuxedo. Last month the Joker star announced his commitment to reducing waste by wearing the same suit to every awards show this year and has since sported the suit to the Golden Globes, SAG, Critics’ Choice and Bafta Awards. But with the majority of the ceremony’s A-list guests refusing to say ‘no’ to new on the red carpet, we’re left asking why repeating an outfit is still a fashion taboo?
When it comes to proudly repeating your wardrobe’s greatest hits Kate might be in the red carpet minority, but she is not alone. Making re-wearing an art form is Tiffany Haddish who has been photographed in the same show-stopping white Alexander McQueen dress on five occasions. The actor and comedian was first seen in the $4,000 gown at the premier of her film Girls Trip and has since worn it four more times, most recently when filming Saturday Night Live in November 2019. Far from trying to disguise her repeat outfit, Tiffany celebrated her choice to re-wear. “This dress cost way more than my mortgage,” she joked in her opening monologue on SNL “I’m going to wear it multiple times.”.
Making a compelling case for the red carpet repeat is Cate Blanchett, who revived a black Armani gown she wore at the Golden Globes in 2014 for the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. Kirsten Dunst too has embraced a sustainable approach, re-wearing the iconic Christian Lacroix lace dress that she first wore to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2004 to a Chopard event in 2017.
But this approach remains far from the norm. With unparalleled access to the most coveted pieces in fashion, choosing sustainability is the ultimate luxury. In our age of manic consumption and stuffocation, what could be more sensational than the most stylish celebrities championing the art of truly sustainable dressing?
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