Remember when gawking at stars on the red carpet was about drooling over unattainable couture gowns? I don’t know if it is the recession, the Obama effect, or the general democratization of style, but celebrities are flaunting bargain finds in front of paparazzi.
The early pioneer of the high-low red carpet look was Sharon Stone. In 1996, she was the star to dress for the Academy Awards. She made the best fashion press of the night when she declared she grabbed a Gap turtleneck from her closet for the evening. (She failed to mention the Valentino skirt it was paired with). As a result Gap was elevated to a serious fashion brand and even sponsored this year’s Met Costume Gala.
FLOTUS Michelle Obama is often seen mixing young designers with mass apparel brands like Talbot’s and J. Crew. Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men struck a glamorous pose in a very attainable Topshop dress.
One answer to this phenomenon would be the high end designer collaborations with mass market brands. Edgy label Rodarte and Zac Posen recently created fabulous dresses for mega-retailer Target. Natalie Portman was seen in a $40 Rodarte, Claire Danes sported the Zac Posen on the red carpet. Gap has hired many a young designer like Prabal Garung and Thakoon for special projects. Isaac Mizrahi has a special collection for Liz Claiborne, sold at J.C. Penney.
With funds no longer a problem, the rest of us plebeians have no excuse not to be red carpet ready.
Photos by Jason Kempin/Filmmagic,Steve Eichner,Marc Stamas/Getty Images