As we eagerly await this year’s Oscar academy nominees gliding down the red carpet, and with the anticipation created by the Golden Globes and the Grammys, I started thinking about the red carpet tradition and how it has taken on a life of its own. Maybe its just me, but who cares about the awards at all – its just about the fashion!
Walking along a red carpet seems to have originated with the railroad of all things. Conductors ‘rolled out the red carpet’ to direct passengers to the 20th Century Limited train. Known for its style as well as for its speed, passengers walked to and from the train on a plush, crimson carpet which was rolled out in New York and Chicago. Thus, the “red carpet treatment” was born.
But it actually goes back much further than this. The red carpet makes its first appearance on the Greek stage in Aeschylus’ 5th century play Agamemnon, where it symbolizes tribute to the gods. It is no wonder that we ask society’s dignitaries, world leaders and our divine celebs to walk this same line. It is as though the carpet itself is the stage for our chosen gods and heroes to walk among us.
When Sid Grauman opened the Egyptian Theatre, the red carpet became a symbol for Hollywood glamor. A cat-walk for non-models, it has since become an annual showcase for trends making their way from the divine figures on the carpet to the mere mortals on the street and back again. Let us know your faves this year as the carpet unfurls!