Nothing quite screams out glamor, opulence, and status like the famous ‘red carpet’. The red carpet simply conjures up images of wealth, style, and prestige. It is the primary focus of the gala events and awards ceremonies, as well as film premieres. The iconic scarlet path is what distinguishes the celebrities from us regular folks.
The Red Carpet Dates Back
For as long back as history allows us to go, it is evident that the red carpet was unintended for ordinary people to tread on. It was always a path rolled out for the members of society with status. In Ancient Greece, a pathway composed of red tapestries was rolled out in a play called Agamemnon, for the triumphant welcome of the King. Even the King himself in this play hesitate before stepping onto the honorable red carpet. In a sense, the celebrities of our modern world are synonymous with royalty. This is why the red carpet that was designed traditionally for royalty is now a staple in the world of entertainment, welcoming the film royalty of our century.
Red for Royalty
The color red appears in Renaissance art, typically in intricate or Oriental patterned styles. Red is commonly seen in the paintings of deities as well as royalty and saints. This is not by coincidence. Red is a color that signifies royalty, prestige, and aristocracy. In fact, the scarlet dye was among the most prized of colors as it was the most costly to produce as well as most challenging. Carmin or cochineal dye is produced from the cochineal scale insect. This dye was used by the Mayans and the Aztec people across central and north America for the dyeing of fabrics in the 15th century. Come the 17th century, cochineal dye was a valuable export good.
The Red Carpet for the Prestigious
In the 1800s, the scarlet-hued carpet was rolled out for the people of high status, like the U.S. president of 1821, James Monroe. Monroe was welcomed ashore from a riverboat by a red carpet. Since then, the red carpet is a standard for the most high-profile events, including those of political dignitaries. It is also thought that in the 20th century, the term ‘red carpet treatment’ was coined when the red carpet was co-opted by the railroads. The New York Central Railroad operated an exclusive passenger train from 1902 that welcomed passengers aboard with the guidance of a stately red carpet.
Growing on the Entertainment Industry
By the 1920s, Hollywood and the red carpet were part and parcel, a truly synonymous pairing. The long crimson carpet was rolled out in 1922 for the premiere of Robin Hood, in front of the Egyptian Theatre. In the ensuing decades, the red carpet became one of the few places where the public was practically guaranteed a chance to spot charismatic figures in the industry, like Grace Kelly, Clark Gable, or Jimmy Stewart.
Becoming an Oscar Staple
It was in 1961 that the red carpet was rolled out for the Academy Awards held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. However, a few years later, the entrance evolved, and the red carpet was moved outside the venue, where the celebrities were filmed as they entered the ceremony, showing their opulent arrivals. It was from the year 1964 that the red carpet became the unofficial but globally recognized focal point for celebrity singers, actors, and actresses to make their grand and dramatic entrances for the Oscars.
Red Carpet Displays
Today, the red carpet has evolved into a Hollywood runway for celebrities of all kinds to display themselves as a sort of showcase, making appearances that are jotted down in history! Many celebs have made bold and flamboyant entrances on the red carpet, all trying to outdo the next. The red carpet is a space of peacockish display and confident individualistic displays. Many stars become just as famous for their red carpet ensembles as they do for their entertainment works and accolades! Barbra Streisand will forever be remembered for the daring sequined Scaasi trouser suit she donned in 1969, as will Elizabeth Hurley for her Versace dress that was held together with gold safety pins.
The red carpet is no doubt an iconic staple in Hollywood. The industry simply wouldn’t be the same without the media frenzy around the red carpet as celebrities make their ever-increasingly outrageous entrances. There is no doubt a sense of showmanship around the red carpet, and it is here to stay.