Red Carpets Are the New Runways

Red carpets — lined with paparazzi, decorated with actors and actresses, illuminated by countless camera flashes— characterize film festivals around the world from the French Riviera to Venice to Park City, Utah. The first major film festival took place in Venice in 1932, providing a first platform to ever showcase a specific film selection in a luxurious screening venue.

However, not only do film festivals showcase the new and upcoming films of the year, but these red carpet events are also opportunities for fashion designers to showcase their most couture and daring of fashions on the bodies of their actors and actresses of choice. These festivals also allow the most notable actresses access to a fashion playground in which bold prints, dramatic cuts and audacious fabrics are encouraged and adventurous stylistic decisions are applauded.

Known as the most couture and fashion-forward red carpet event, the Cannes Film Festival features the creations of the most established directors such as Todd Haynes and Laszlo Nemes alongside those of the most notable designers, including Marchesa, Dior and Versace.


Sometimes designer dresses mimic a character’s style or reflect a major motif within the film the specific actress is supporting. In 2001, Nicole Kidman, promoting her film “Moulin Rouge,” wore a Tom Ford floor length black gown embellished with descending ruffles, which channeled the fashions of the showgirl costumes within the infamous, gaudy Parisian nightclub. In 2015, Naomi Watts, star of the film “The Sea of Trees,” highlighted the film’s nature motif in a layered, backless gray ArmaniPrivé gown embroidered with bamboo decals.

However, not all film festival fashions are as lavish as the French Riviera red carpet event. For example, the Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah, where celebrities flaunt fashionable, casual outfits to combat the cold, often acting as winter style inspiration for the general public. In 2014, Rachel McAdams braved the winter chill in a knee length Dolce & Gabbana coat adorned with chunky buttons, paired with leather pants, black boots and a simple gold chained necklace. While most actresses choose to dress comfortably and casually for this event, dresses aren’t discouraged. At the same Sundance Film Festival, Chloë Moretz rocked a Valentino gold shift dress with floral embroidery.

Whether experimenting with audacious gowns in Cannes or introducing the newest winter trends in Utah, actors and actresses revel in the opportunity to support their anticipated films while wearing daring styles constructed by the most noteworthy of designers. Events like film festivals represent an exploratory environment where creativity is encouraged and imagination is awarded.

Published in Features section of Washington Square News

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