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Why Vintage Is The Biggest Red-Carpet Trend Of 2019

Why Vintage Is The Biggest Red-Carpet Trend Of 2019

By Kate Finnigan, Vogue

Way back in the early 2000s, when fashion was re-evaluating its past and second-hand was having an image upgrade, a wave of beautiful vintage dresses began appearing on the red carpet.

Julia Roberts is often cited as the pioneer of second-hand glamour when at the 2001 Academy Awards she accepted the Best Actress Award for Erin Brockovich wearing a black and white vintage 1992 design from the Valentino archives. That dress caused such a stir it now has its own Wikipedia entry and Valentino himself cited the moment as the highest point of his career.


Julia Roberts at The 73rd Annual Academy Awards wearing a vintage Valentino dress.

Why Vintage Is The Biggest Red-Carpet Trend Of 2019

But actually, Winona Ryder was quietly ahead of the vintage curve. At the previous year’s Oscars, Hollywood’s indie queen had worn a black, strapless 1940s Pauline Trigger dress that was 100 per cent pure glamour. And while it may not have the prestige of an Oscar win attached to it, it’s a belter of a dress that remains a red carpet classic. And it helped to underline Ryder and her talent as something unique.

Winona Ryder at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards wearing a vintage 1940s Pauline Trigger dress.

Why Vintage Is The Biggest Red-Carpet Trend Of 2019

Some of my favourite ever Oscars dresses worn around this era were vintage. Renée Zellweger, also in 2001, in lemon chiffon Jean Dessès; Jennifer Lopez, 2003, in a mint green Valentino gown originally owned by Jackie Onassis – you don’t get better provenance than that; and Vanessa Paradis, the following year, in an ivory, tiered Chanel dress. Those dresses were not only beautiful, but they were prestigious too. They indicated a certain spirit and a level of taste in the women who wore them. They brought all the allure of old Hollywood – the talent, the class, the femininity and glamour – to the present day.



Renée Zellweger at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards wearing a vintage dress by Jean Dessès.

Why Vintage Is The Biggest Red-Carpet Trend Of 2019

That re-glamourisation of the old had a trickle-down effect. People began referring to all second-hand clothing as “vintage”. It didn’t have to be Valentino and it didn’t have to be on the red carpet. Wearing charity shop finds suddenly took on a new cachet. “It’s vintage,” said with a shrug, was ultimate kudos. It didn’t matter that you’d been shopping in Oxfam, in fact, it made it cooler. It indicated a good eye. A taste beyond what was easily available in Topshop. My all-time favourite boast is that the only time I ever appeared on the Vogue party pages was in about 2004 wearing a 1960s dress I’d bought for three quid in the Fara charity shop on Shepherds Bush Green. I tell you, my pride was out of control.

But it seems like we might be entering a new era of vintage. Gwyneth Paltrow wore a Valentino gown from 1963 for the Emmy’s last week. And she’s just following in the footsteps of other influential women like, such as Adwoa Aboah, who has been wearing pieces picked up from London’s William Vintage, including a dazzler of a dress from Tom Ford’s final collection for Gucci in 2004. The Duchess of Sussex wore two fabulously glamorous vintage coats by Courrèges and Marc Bohan-era Dior during her pregnancy, also from William.


Gwyneth Paltrow in a vintage Valentino gown from 1963 at the 2019 Emmy's.

Why Vintage Is The Biggest Red-Carpet Trend Of 2019

If ever there was a desperate need for vintage to be cool it is now. The constant newness of fashion is damaging the environment and contributing to climate change. We all know the stats: 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill in the UK every week. Every time a new piece of clothing is made, we are using up valuable natural resources. Throwaway fashion, as Oxfam reminded us last month during Second-Hand September, is putting increasing pressure on the planet and its people.

So if celebrities are trying to make vintage happen I’m all for it. Fashion month may have given the world a whole lot more newness to consider buying, but with a season of awards shows and red carpet events ahead there’s an opportunity for actresses and influencers to put some added value into the term best-dressed. Let’s see the repeat wears and vintage finds rolled out for the cameras this year. Because vintage is the thinking girl’s fashion. Now more than ever.
Why Vintage Is The Biggest Red-Carpet Trend Of 2019

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