The awards show red carpet has become such an access game, such a race of clout and connections to see who can wear the most never-before-seen or sizzlingly-hot-off-the-runway look — the answer, this time, was Beyoncé, in Louis Vuitton men’s wear from Pharrell Williams’s January show — that any other approach can seem like a shock.
But recently a different trend has been emerging, and at the 66th Grammys it reached critical mass. Indeed, it’s so applause worthy, here’s hoping it isn’t a trend at all but rather the signal of a permanent shift in the fashion-Hollywood industrial complex.
I am speaking of the rise of vintage. Or as it is apparently now known, “archival” fashion. “Archival” here is being used to refer to anything that simply isn’t new. (Well, it was getting a little ridiculous to refer to two-season-old clothes as “vintage.”) That could mean clothes from a brand archive, or a personal one. Sometimes also known as a “closet.”
At the Grammys, Laverne Cox, the E! red carpet host, led the way, as she also did at the Emmy Awards, in a Valentine’s Day red contraption from 2015 Comme des Garçons. She chose the look, she said, because that collection had been about “blood and roses” and finding beauty in pain, and, well, it felt particularly apropos.
Then there was Olivia Rodrigo, another vintage disciple (remember the 1995 Chanel suit she wore to the White House?), in a white 1995 Versace siren gown. Also Caroline Polachek in gothic 1998 Olivier Theyskens coursing with crimson veins and arteries. Billie Eilish in an upcycled and customized Chrome Hearts “Barbie” baseball jacket. Lana Del Rey in a found-it-herself puff-sleeve black vintage floral number. Coi Leray in a 2019 Saint Laurent jacket and leotards, no pants.