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Are Men Rewriting Masculine Norms on the Red Carpet?

The red carpet, “the most glamorous place in the world”. Where fashion and style is shown off in great excess. In recent years activism has collided with the world of fashion and award seasons. The 2018 Golden Globes being a shining example of women coming together in solidarity against sexual harassment.

In this coordinated protest celebs organised a ‘blackout’ in support of the #MeToo campaign.

Red carpet events are shifting towards more diverse and inclusive representation. This is starting to show through in the fashion choices of celebs and designers. Some of the biggest names in the industry are challenging traditions.

The evolution of men’s wear on the red carpet in recent years is making fashion riskier than ever. Becoming a place where boundaries are pushed and perceptions are ever-changing.

‘Camp’ at the Met Gala

The increase in award ceremonies celebrating this new culture of fashion is displayed by the 2019 Met Gala theme of ‘camp’. Promoting the embrace of different styles in acts of self-expression for all.

There are endless examples of men that have been promoting this shift in fashion. Someone that I’m sure everyone will know, and probably be thinking of whilst reading this, is Harry Styles. Once labelled “king of camp”.

After his Met Gala statement outfit, dressed in a frilly top with free nipples and chunky men’s heels. Proving that this camp style is no longer something that is exclusive to the LGBTQ+ community, but just another way to challenge tradition and express yourself through fashion.

Alongside Harry on the very pink, very camp, carpet was Jared Leto. Who carried his own head to the awards. Don’t let this distract you from the rest of his outfit. In his red turtleneck dress, with diamonds draped around his neck. Leto was fully adopting this camp culture. Serious but “too much” all at the same time. Leto showed his self-love by quite literally bringing himself as his date to the Met Gala!

LGBTQ+ influence and acknowledgement

However, that is not to say that members of the LGBTQ+ community that have been promoting the embrace of diversity, before it became a trend, should be forgotten. One of the most obvious examples would be the stars of Queer Eye.

One member of the ‘Fab Five’ stands out, Jonathan Van Ness. Jonathan has always promoted self-expression and breaks through traditional expectations of masculinity on the show, which is carried through in his red carpet fashion. For all member of Queer Eye it is clear the diversity and inclusivity is a priority.

“The community has worked hard and sacrificed much for gay and trans rights“, which is something that should not be over-looked when celebrating camp fashion and culture. Endorsing these styles is a way to promote being an ally to this community. Jonathan has served up some beautiful looks including mini dresses, sheer tops and the highest of heels.

Above all, it is refreshing to see that these styles are no longer unique to the LGBTQ+ community and are being embraced by more and more men.

Challenging fashion norms

Whilst sticking to traditional tuxedos and three piece suits is still a signifier of subtle elegance. There is now more opportunity to experiment and break through fashion norms. Gender stereotypes are no longer determining style for these celebs.

This is something constantly conveyed by Billy Porter through his red carpet fits. His arrival at the 2019 Oscars in the black tuxedo gown is my personal favourite. This is a perfect way to show that there are no limits on masculinity and femininity. Blending them together in this piece showed that traditional notions of male and female fashion no longer define us. It is truly inspiring to see that this new sense of style is becoming increasingly popular.

Acts of social change?

Self-expression on the red carpet is taking over the need to conform. However, it is also a way of promoting allegiance to marginalised communities like LGBTQ+, camp culture and ethnic minorities. Style is no longer exclusive to the community that you represent.

These men are proving that we can longer be defined by gender norms and out-dated stereotypes. These small acts of change help create a bigger impact. Plus who wants to see the same old black tie styles?

Let’s ditch the rules of the red carpet and embrace new experimental styles and show off some self-love.


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