What does the future hold for red carpet and fashion photography?
What is the point of glamour right now? Who wants to keep track of wealthy celebrities playing dress-up when the rest of the world is grappling with an invisible, relentless adversary?
The founder of Cabine and a highly regarded fashion insider Nicholas Mellamphy explains, “Fashion is a non-starter right now, and many consider it irrelevant or flippant. But it’s not a let-them-eat-cake moment. A dress is not a cake. You have to remember behind every dress are a lot of people, a whole machine and an industry.”
Film and fashion go hand in hand even amid the coronavirus pandemic. They have to. Designers and actors usually meet in the middle by agreeing upon the deals brokered by stylists – that is the way it works. And more often than not, the deal ends up helping both parties. Coronavirus is not going to change that.
Reflect for a moment on the relationship between Kristen Stewart and Karl Lagerfeld-led Chanel. Stewart brought an air of possibility and a touch of youth to the French fashion house and in turn, the actor’s image as a young fashion icon was solidified.
This relationship between fashion and film is going through a stressful time for sure, but is nowhere near a breakup.
Fashion analyst Bronwyn Cosgrave senses no danger looming on the horizon as well. “People are making a lot of money. Each outfit represents so many jobs and provides a very effective commercial for high fashion and luxury,” she contends.
Fashion has always contributed to the national conversation, giving actors an opportunity to chime in. We saw actors in recent time using fashion as a tool to declare solidarity with the #TimesUp movement.
“We have people like Janelle Monáe, and her stylist, Alexandra Mandelcorn, who are exploring Afrofuturism. Look at the Ralph Lauren crystal dress with the hood at the Oscars this year. That dress is not really about fashion; it doesn’t set trends. It is about changing the conversation,” adds Cosgrave.
Lady Gaga, who likes to stir up discussions around her iconoclastic fashion choices, became a voice of reason this year by urging everyone to wear masks. Ultimately, 2020 has become a year of masks. No one is worrying about what purse to brandish that would go perfectly with their clothes, but celebrities are spending an awful lot of time to find the right mask.
The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards was the first awards show to broadcast live during the pandemic. Even though a virtual red carpet does not sound much exciting, actors went above and beyond to make it a lively event.
Fashion photographers however seem to have borne the brunt of the pandemic. Veteran photographer Billy Farrell said, “It’s like nothing I’ve seen, and I was in the business for 9/11 and the financial crash. This is a lot different.”