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26th February 2013

High street on the red carpet: what’s the point?

We all saw Helen Hunt and her H&M gown at the the Oscars last night, but is this really what we want to see on the red carpet ?

It’s that time of year again. Rolled out in cities across the world, traipsed by many a red-soled shoe, snapped by the world’s press and, increasingly, a host to high street. Yes, red carpet season is upon us once more and you may or may not have noticed a cheeky flash of high-street leg when scrutinising each star’s effort (let’s not pretend like we don’t all see ourselves as the judge in some sort of fashion court case when awards season rolls around). It’s happening.

Ginnifer Goodwin wearing Topshop. Photo:


Whether it’s left you reeling in haute-couture horror or high street happy, the growing appearance of non-designer garments at awards ceremonies is a trend and an interesting one. And with the weekend’s announcement that the UK has become the latest economy to lose its AAA status it can only become more so. But is the donning of accessible fashion by not-so accessible figures really a statement about the arctic economic climate? I doubt it. I imagine, sorry for my scepticism, that it’s probably something more like cardio for the column inches. But to be perfectly frank, I’m not sure I want high street on the red carpet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being elitist. I love the high street and I’m all for celebrities sporting stuff that a normal personal could afford without selling their soul to the devil (or John Galliano, as he’s more commonly known). And for stamping right out the sadly growing gap between rich and poor (Cheers, Dave). But leave the red carpet out of it.

Rooney Mara wearing ASOS. Photo:

At its heart it’s something based on dreams and aspirations. Would we care half as much if it was a parade of clobber you could get down the Arndale Centre? Probably not. Sad but true, our long-held interest in that iconic scarlet rug is largely lust-based. We love to look at luxury because it’s a vicarious means of experiencing it: we are so enthralled by extravagance because it most likely will never be ours. Put simply, if it wasn’t exclusive, we wouldn’t be interested. And as long as that’s the case I’d rather keep the red carpet plush than pedestrian.


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