The last 12 months have definitely been interesting and, while we have certainly learnt that we’re not quite over the pandemic, the world did start to get back to some form of normality earlier this year – and with it came the return of the red carpet.
In 2020, when the world first shut down, we definitely missed A-list glamour and all the fashion that comes with these celebrity moments – so, when events including the Cannes Film Festival, the Oscars, the (delayed) Met Gala, and much more came back this year, the celebrities (and their stylists) pulled out all the stops.
Below, we round up some of our favourite red-carpet moments of the past 12 months. From Bella Hadid championing vintage and stars rewearing clothes to those who supported up-and-coming designers and unforgettable naked dressing from the likes of Zoë Kravitz, these were the most glamorous red-carpet moments of 2021.
Bella Hadid in vintage Jean Paul Gaultier
When it comes to the Cannes Film Festival, Bella Hadid know hows to deliver. Following on from previous triumphs including a barely-there Alexandre Vauthier dress and a vintage Roberto Cavalli, the supermodel pulled out all the stops in 2021 with a number of excellent ensembles, our favourite of which was this black-and-white Jean Paul Gaultier design.
Originally created for the house’s spring/summer 2002 collection, and modelled on the catwalk by Naomi Campbell no less, the gown was recreated especially for Hadid. It featured a structured white bodice with a black tulle strap detail at the top of the dress, which then continued down into a long train that was perfect for swishing around in on the Croisette.
Carey Mulligan in Valentino
A big moment early in the year was the Academy Awards, which, as always, drew in some of the world’s most glamorous movie stars, who treated us to some of the best couture we’d seen in a while. Our favourite look on the night came from Carey Mulligan who turned heads in a glorious gold Valentino design.
The ensemble was made up of a cropped, strapless bodice and an enormous skirt, both of which were completely covered in gold sequins.
Zoë Kravitz in Saint Laurent
In September, there was a night which heralded the return of the naked dress, this year’s Met Gala. The event saw numerous supermodels and actresses embrace barely-there dressing once again, and nobody did it better than Zoë Kravitz, who wore a completely unlined, metallic, Saint Laurent gown, which revealed her tiny underwear underneath. The look was extremely daring and yet impossibly chic with Kravitz pulling it off in a way that only she could.
The Duchess of Cambridge in Jenny Packham
Now for something much less revealing, but just as headline-worthy, the Duchess of Cambridge’s incredibly glamorous moment at the No Time To Die premiere.
Attending the star-studded event with husband William, Kate made sure to keep up with Hollywood in a full sequin gown, complete with a dramatic cape. It was, without a doubt, one of her best fashion moments to date.
Regina King in Christopher John Rogers
Back in April when the red carpet wasn’t quite back in action and celebrities tended to dress up to collect their awards at home, Regina King still made one of our favourite red-carpet appearances of the year (even if it was for a “virtual red carpet”) wearing this breathtaking Christoper John Rogers design to the CDGA Awards, which celebrates excellence in costume design. Bright orange, strapless and with a beautifully dramatic train, this ensemble was one of the best we’ve ever seen King in.
Zendaya in Balmain
Nobody has had a better year on the red carpet than Zendaya, and it is difficult to choose just one of her many amazing ensembles. From her vintage moments (which paid tribute to the likes of Beyoncé and Eunice Johnson) to her bright and bold Oscars look and her many fun Spider-Man-inspired outfits, which she wore to promote the Marvel flick, she is probably the best-dressed woman in Hollywood right now. But, this incredible nude Balmain design, which the actress wore to the Venice Film Festival and premiere of Dune, might just have to be our favourite. The figure-hugging dress was actually made from leather, and was crafted using an exact model of the stars’ bust, which is why it clung to her so perfectly.
Lady Gaga in Gucci
It was one of the most highly anticipated movie releases of the year – and The House of Gucci’s Lady Gaga brought more than a dash of drama to the red-carpet premiere. The singer and actress very fittingly chose to wear custom Gucci to the London event, opting for a regal purple gown with enormous sleeves that were perfect for swooshing around. She gave it all a very Gaga finish by teaming it with fishnet tights, platform boots and sheer black gloves.
Kim Kardashian in Balenciaga
Despite the fact that nobody could tell who it was at first, Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala look soon became the most-talked about ensemble of the evening, and went on to prove that the reality star always knows how to make an unexpected entrance, and how to divide opinions. Dressed completely head-to-toe (face included) in black, Kardashian’s outfit was her and Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia’s take on ‘American Fashion’. Some labelled it disrespectful, while others praised the ingenuity. Whatever your thoughts were, it was certainly one of the most memorable red-carpet moments of the year.
Amal Clooney in 16Arlington
It’s always a treat when Amal Clooney graces the red carpet, and her sequinned, feathered appearance at the London Film Festival in October was case in point. The human rights lawyer, who was on hand to support husband George’s latest project, looked beautiful in sparkly cream gown for the occasion, choosing to support local London design house 16Arlington. It was undoubtedly one of the most glamorous red-carpet moments of the year.
Gemma Chan in Sohee Park
She’s always been a great name to watch on the red carpet, but this was definitely Gemma Chan’s year with the actress delivering time and time again. During her tour for Marvel’s Eternals, Chan not only tapped into the superhero flick for red-carpet inspiration, but also made a big effort to support Asian designers, something she has done throughout her career. One of the best looks we saw her in was this striking two-piece that she wore to the Rome Film Festival, which was by rising couturier, Sohee Park. It was covered in Swarovski crystals and featured a matching striking headpiece. Pure perfection.
Anya Taylor-Joy in Dior
Just like Zendaya, who is also styled by Law Roach, it has been a very good year on the red carpet for Anya Taylor-Joy. The actress hit all the right notes during awards season and we particularly loved the gown she wore to the Emmys in September.
The cream silk design was custom Dior couture. It was almost completely backless and styled with a dramatic, bright yellow coat, which she wore loosely, teaming the ensemble with an updo and plenty of Tiffany jewellery.
Priyanka Chopra in Richard Quinn
If there is any night to push the style boundaries, it’s the Fashion Awards – and that is exactly what Priyanka Chopra did. The actress turned heads at the London event in November wearing head-to-toe florals in the form of a catsuit, matching heels and a dramatic coat, all designed by LFW favourite Richard Quinn. It was exactly what the evening called for, and one of our favourite looks of the night.
Zahara Jolie-Pitt in Elie Saab
It has been a year of reckoning for the fashion industry regarding sustainability – and even the way celebrities are behaving on the red carpet is reflecting our changing attitudes to throwaway fashion. This is why one of our favourite fashion moments of the year came from Angelina Jolie and her children, who attended the Eternals premiere with her, each wearing a piece of clothing once worn by their mother on the red carpet. Perhaps most notably, 16-year-old Zahara wore the sparkling Elie Saab gown that her mother had first worn to the 2014 Oscars. What a special moment.
From Harper’s Bazaar UK