In the age of social media, making an impact on the red carpet is no mean feat, and beautiful outfits can easily get lost in the noise.
It means celebrities have been working harder than ever to make fashion Moments – with a capital ‘M’ – and we’ve had plenty of jaw-dropping couture appearances this year.
It’s been a particularly exciting year for fashion, as the rigid lines between genders increasingly blurred, and celebrities seemed less afraid of sartorial experimentation. Here are some of the most memorable red carpet moments from 2019…
Cast your mind back to what feels like aeons ago: awards season, when Lady Gaga was pulling out all the sartorial stops on the red carpet for A Star Is Born. One of our favourite looks was the powder blue Valentino gown she wore to the Golden Globes. This outfit was peak Gaga – it had all the drama of an extra-long train, and she even dyed her hair light blue to match.
What happens afterwards makes this look even more iconic. A maid from the hotel Gaga was staying in said she ‘found’ the dress after cleaning the room. Later it was put up for auction – which caused quite the stir – before being returned to the Valentino archives after claims it had allegedly been stolen. Normally, red carpet gowns only shine for a night, but this one has lived a surprisingly full life.
Menswear isn’t normally the most exciting of arenas, but it’s seen a huge shift this year, and a lot of that is down to actor Timothée Chalamet. He’s only 23 and doesn’t even have a stylist, yet he’s been making some seriously impressive red carpet choices.
Take his Baftas outfit by close collaborator Haider Ackermann. Chalamet wore a silver suit jacket with a red and black geometric pattern, a matching shirt and black trousers with a red block print down the side – hardly your average tux. This was in February and really set the tone for Chalamet’s year – he went on to surprise us again and again with androgynous and experimental suits on the red carpet, often in collaboration with Ackermann.
Rapper Cardi B isn’t a stranger to pushing the boat out with her outfits, and she certainly didn’t phone it in for the Grammys. Cardi wore a vintage Mugler outfit, involving a sheer, pearl-encrusted bodysuit, a black fishtail skirt and a pale pink fan around her, as though she was a pearl in an oyster. The whole vibe was straight out of a Renaissance painting.
Crazy Rich Asians actor Gemma Chan wore a showstopping gown to the Oscars, embodying the 2019 fashion trend for ‘bigger is better’. The hot pink, high-necked Valentino dress featured a high, ruffled collar and parachute silhouette, trailing on the floor behind her. Oh, and the dress has pockets – the dream.
Actor Billy Porter emerged as a breakout style icon this year, taking huge risks on the red carpet. His Oscars outfit will certainly go down in history: a classic black tux on the top, while the bottom half exploded into a voluminous velvet skirt.
The custom gown was by Christian Siriano – a designer known for his inclusivity – and Porter was well aware of the statement he was making. He told Vogue: “My goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up. To challenge expectations. What is masculinity? What does that mean?”
Lady Gaga’s had a big year, so it’s no surprise she’s on our list twice. As one of the hosts of this year’s Met Gala, Gaga pulled out all the stops and walked the pink carpet in not one outfit, but four. Her pink long-sleeved gown was ripped off to reveal a black dress, followed by a hot pink strapless number and finally black lingerie – all topped off with exceptionally long eyelashes.
All of the outfits were by her long-time collaborator Brandon Maxwell, who was originally Gaga’s stylist before becoming a successful designer in his own right.
The actress and jury member Elle Fanning once again took to the red carpet at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival in a #DiorCouture shirt and skirt #MariaGraziaChiuri designed for the occasion, accessorized with a cannage effect hat.#StarsinDior #DiorCannes pic.twitter.com/n5jvFZMsVp— Dior (@Dior) May 21, 2019
Elle Fanning stole the show at Cannes Film Festival as the youngest jury member in history. Working with stylist Samantha McMillen, the 21-year-old served some serious looks for the premieres. Walking the red carpet before a screening of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, she wore a custom Dior outfit which InStyle says took 450 hours to make. It involved a black tulle skirt, a sheer white pussy-bow blouse and dramatic black hat.
The whole vibe channeled 1950s Old Hollywood Glamour. It’s a difficult outfit, but one Fanning managed to pull off with ease.
Margot Robbie hit the red carpet trail to promote the movie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and really committed to the Sixties theme. For the UK premiere, Robbie wore a cumin coloured Oscar de la Renta gown which hung loose in layers of chiffon. She leaned into the hippie vibe with romantic waves in her hair and rust-coloured eyeshadow.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Lady Gaga is the only one partial to drama on the red carpet. Helen Mirren gave a masterclass on making an entrance at the Catherine The Great premiere in London, arriving in a litter carried by four lackeys. She kept her outfit sleek and simple with a navy Chalayan top and trousers, making her magnificent jewels the star of the show.
For the premiere of Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil, Angelina Jolie showed us why she really is a red carpet pro. She wore a white Ralph & Russo gown which was feminine with a flowing tulle skirt and glittering accents, but given an edge with gold breast panels so it looked like couture armour. Oh, and it had a cape, because Jolie really knows how to make an impact.