Has the Oscars Red Carpet Gotten Even More Boring?

Fashion

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Graphic by Danielle Campbell

With stars like Zendaya and Margot Robbie treating big-budget press tours like their personal runways, award shows keep getting scooped when it comes to high fashion.

Did anyone else think the 2024 Oscars red carpet was kinda boring?

I mean, sure, there were some highlights. Anya Taylor Joy delighted in Dior. Da’Vine Joy Randolph perfectly toed the line between gaudy and godly in Louis Vuitton. And Carey Mulligan was possibly the best dressed of the night in Balenciaga. But the rest, I’m sorry to say, were a bit of a flop. Margot Robbie in black?! Big mistake. BIG! HUGE! Stylists were so bored themselves, they brought back red carpet peplums. Even Zendaya, who did look beautiful, played it safe compared to her 2022 Oscars ensemble.

Photography by Getty Images, courtesy of Balenciaga

So what’s the deal? Did the stars’ stylists get lazy? Has the Oscars red carpet just got boring? Or are they simply getting scooped?

Think about it: For years, awards shows used to be the only space for celebrities and couture to mix (minus the Met Gala, of course, but more on that later). People (as in me and my mother) would tune in up to two hours before the ceremony to watch the gowns and tuxes walk the red carpet because if you didn’t, you literally wouldn’t see them. There was no Check The Tag to consult on Instagram; if you missed Gwyneth, you missed Gwyneth, and it would haunt you the next day as everyone played their own version of “Who Wore It Best.”

Thanks to social media, red carpet coverage has reached a fever pitch. Stars are expected to serve at every movie premiere, album launch, gallery opening and — in the case of the Kardashians — family gathering; having your outfit go viral isn’t a happy accident but a requirement.

Celebs can no longer save their best looks for the Oscars — there’s no patience for that! By the time the prestigious red carpets come around, most of these actors have already worn dozens of ensembles to promote their latest projects and just generally be seen around town, each hoping to capture that sought-after social media buzz. And if you don’t wear the best looks from the buzziest couture shows first, someone else will. Think Kendall Jenner at the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscars Party vs. Hunter Schafer at the premier of Cuckoo in Berlin. Both wore dresses from the viral Maison Margiela Spring 2024 couture collection that debuted in January, but Schafer did it first, and in the end, that’s what anyone will remember.

And how is anyone supposed to compete in a 12-month period that includes press tours for the Barbie movie, Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, and most recently, Dune: Part 2? Robbie’s Barbie cosplay inspired a literal coffee table book. Queen B and Tay Tay single-handedly revived the rhinestone industry. And you can’t pay for the type of publicity that Zendaya and Law Roach generate. I mean, a Mugler suit of armour? No wonder she played it safe at the Oscars — she must be fashionably fatigued.

Photography by Getty Images

So where does that leave the Met Gala this May? It will be interesting to see how people react. It used to be that no other event could even come close to the OTT theatrical affair, but as the ante for other red carpets keeps going up and up, will Anna Wintour’s party hit as hard? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, we might need to reconsider the weight we’re placing on the Oscars red carpet. Sure, it will always be fun to see bountiful ballgowns and James Bond-esque tuxedos, but the real celebrity fashion fight is being fought in different arenas. You can have too much of a good thing, after all.

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