The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Red Carpet 101

Gráinne Morrison on the intricate rules of red carpet etiquette.


When making one’s way down the red carpet, etiquette is absolutely everything. I could not tell you who won the Academy Award for Best Actress last year, but I can tell you who was wearing what and if it worked or not; we all know this is where the true winners and losers are decided. From the dress and hair to the choice of pose, nothing is overlooked. One wants to pay heed to current trends in the fashion world whilst also maintaining a look that will survive the years and not be looked back on in anguish. Victoria Beckham is the ultimate repeat offender of this.




There are some obvious don’ts concerning outfit choice (dramatic as it may sound, wearing the same dress as another attendee can ruin your night, as well as your reputation). Furthermore, a bad dress will be remembered, this Uma Thurman picture still makes me shudder almost a decade on. Depending on the magnitude of an awards ceremony, the rules may vary but there are some pertinent guidelines for red carpet success: the old rule of cleavage or legs on show, not both, is one that translates for most ceremony-goers; unless you are Beyoncé. Obviously. In fact this year the Grammy awards imposed a dress code on its guests, stating amongst many other guidelines that ‘Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts’ would cause problems – who knew under boobs were such a no-no? Through the years many rules have been crafted so as to keep up the stellar reputation of the awards season. Starlets have had to learn from their predecessors’ triumphs and fails. Putting weights in one’s gown is an age-old favourite; not everyone looks as glamorous as Marilyn with their skirts blowing in the wind. Thus there is never any excuse for repeating someone else’s past mistakes. But while etiquette may be everything, it is important to remember the likes of Rihanna or Jennifer Lopez, who continue to show us that rules are made to be broken.