Red carpets are some of the most glamorous events for every fashion lover. They are a showcase of long sequences of evening gowns, sparking dresses and fashion-forward creations.
But a quick look at men’s red carpet outfit gives us a totally different vibe. A very boring vibe. The dress code for celebrity men has, in fact, always been very strict: a black suit and a white shirt. For this reason, wearing a colourful blazer is enough to catch the attention of photographers.
However, the genderless trend that has spread in the fashion industry for the last couple of years has now arrived on the red carpet! Men are pushing the boundaries and starting to experiment with their style, from celebrities who decide to make small changes like a fancy jacket or a flower detail to those who present themselves in spectacular gowns fit for a fairytale’s princess.
The red carpet has always been one of the most impactful mediums to make a statement. And these artists, are using it to show to young men worldwide that they can wear whatever they want, even feminine garments, and still be successful men.
It is liberation not only from rigid old fashion rules and but importantly from the men stereotypes. A new masculinity where the rigid rules of the past are broken to give space to self-expression and diversity.
I’d like to take a moment to celebrate the artists who are leading this liberation and see what it takes to be a male fashion icon these days.
Do you remember back in 2019 when everyone was trying to understand what “camp”, the theme of the last Met Gala, means? I used to say to my friends: “Think of Ezra Miller, he is the image of camp.”
Ezra Miller, with his eccentric, experimental, sometimes exaggerated style is responsible for many memorable red carpet fashion moments: the long purple coat as a homage to Prince; the black padded gown at the premiere of Fantastic Beasts, which was sold out soon after the pictures were shared online; the disturbing seven eyes makeup at the Met Gala; and most recently, a long black dress with a lateral slit and an open cut on the chest.
Jonathan Van Ness
We couldn’t talk about transforming man fashion without mentioning Queer Eye, the successful TV show focused on giving makeovers to American men.
Jonathan Van Ness, one of the show’s stars, has become famous for refusing gender binarism and wearing dresses as if it’s always been common business for men. He has worn dresses with high heels, showed off an elaborate mint green bow on the back of a black dress, and who can forget the stunning black sheer dress with an embellished skirt?
Bill Porter is one of the eagerly most-anticipated celebrities on red carpets. It all started in 2019 when he decided to add a floral embed cape to his suit. From that night, Bill Porter has been a symbol of the new men’s liberation movement.
Another big fashion moment was the dress he wore on the night of the 91st Academy Awards: a black tailored tuxedo jacket on the top and a full-skirted velvet gown on the bottom. With his fashion statement, Bill Porter is challenging not only fashion gender rules. He addresses the hypocrisy of the entertainment industry: everyone nowadays likes to talk about diversity and inclusivity, but a man in a dress is enough to scandalise them.
In comparison with the other names in this list, Timothée Charlament is undeniably the most reserved. But thanks to his fresh and fierce approach to formal wear, he brought home the title of 2020’s Best-Dressed Man.
On the red carpet, we recognize him for his technical tailoring, bright block colours and the ability to look stunning in everything. In 2018, he wore a print floral suit in the colours of red and pink. A risk choice that worked thanks to the slim fit and the match with a V-neck and sleek Chelsea boots.
But, tricky choices like this one are common businesses for Timothée. He wore a hoodie (Swarovski crystals or not, it was still hoodie) at the King’s premiere; paired a polka-dot shirt with a pair of black leather trousers; and brought a harness to the Golden Globes. All wore with extreme nonchalance. In fact, it is his “sartorial insouciance” that makes him really stand out.
He may never have worn a gown, but surely he is a risk-taker.
Harry Styles & Alessandro Michele
This list couldn’t obviously exclude the man who made fashion’s history by being the first man to appear solo on the front cover of Vogue: Harry Styles.
His style has a vintage note. High-waisted flared trousers, ruffled shirts, grandpa sweaters and a strand of pearls to complete the outfit. On the red carpet, he reflects his fashion through sartorial suits characterised by bold colours, polka dots and floral prints.
But, Harry’s transformation, from a member of a teenage boy-band to an icon of genderless sartorial fashion didn’t happen in one night. And, he didn’t do everything alone. Gucci’s art director Alessandro Michele is, in fact, the man behind many of its famous looks.
Alessandro Michele is one of the biggest names in fashion and an activist for a free-gender fashion system. He believes men should be able to wear skirts, flawless dresses, and textual richness. His vision of masculinity had success among many celebrities who paired with him to create stunning red carpet looks.
We have to thank Michele for some of the most exciting red carpet moments of last years.
Some examples? Donald Glover in a groovy velvet suit, Jared Leto with the model of his own head at the 2019 Met Gala, and A$AP Rocky with a babushka headscarf.
The hope is that the list continues to grow with time.