Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow wore a red velvet suit?

Written by Rosalind Jana, CNN

Delving into the archives of popular culture historical past, “Remember When?” is a CNN Style sequence providing a nostalgic have a look at the superstar outfits that outlined their eras.

Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow turned up on the MTV Video Music Awards carrying an opulent crimson velvet go well with over an unbuttoned blue shirt, her blonde hair tucked behind her ears?

It was 1996 and Paltrow’s star was firmly on the rise. That identical 12 months, the then-23-year-old had appeared in “Emma,” taking part in Jane Austen’s meddlesome protagonist with vim (the New York Times described her as “resplendent… gliding through the film with an elegance and patrician wit that bring the young Katharine Hepburn to mind”). Over the subsequent few years, she would go on to star in main field workplace hits, together with “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Shakespeare in Love,” the latter successful her a slew of awards, together with the 1999 Academy Award for Best Actress.

In the twenty years since, the baby-pink Ralph Lauren robe she wore to simply accept her Oscar has attracted loads of column inches. But it is solely just lately that her crimson velvet go well with has been handled to the identical consideration.

Gwyneth Paltrow pictured in her red velvet Gucci suit.

Gwyneth Paltrow pictured in her crimson velvet Gucci go well with. Credit: Kevin.Mazur/INACTIVE/WirePicture/Getty Images

A return to hedonism

This go well with — sensual, tactile, ruby crimson — was from Gucci’s Autumn-Winter 1996 present. Designed by Tom Ford, who joined the Italian model in 1990, it was first worn with a velvet scarf by Floridian mannequin Trish Goff.

Like many household companies that grew to become luxurious behemoths, Gucci began life within the Twenties as a leather-based items firm. It initially bought saddles and equestrian equipment earlier than turning its focus to baggage and, finally, purses. By the time Ford got here on board, nonetheless, it was getting ready to monetary break.

Former Bergdorf Goodman president Dawn Mello had been tasked with turning the model’s fortunes round. But it was her Texas-born recruit who would go on to spearhead the label’s renaissance.

Initially requested to take care of girls’s ready-to-wear, Ford was made artistic director in 1994 following Mello’s departure. With full management of the model, he ushered in a brand new search for the heritage label: one which was slinky, sultry and unabashedly provocative.

Tom Ford is applauded as he walks down a runway in 2003. At the time, Ford was creative director of both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Tom Ford is applauded as he walks down a runway in 2003. At the time, Ford was artistic director of each Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Credit: Michel Dufour/French Select/WirePicture/Getty Images

Ford, who had skilled as an architect and later reduce his tooth at Perry Ellis, would maintain the highest job at Gucci till 2004. He took a lot of his hedonistic inspiration from the Halston-era world of Studio 54, placing his fashions in jeweled silk blouses and velvet flares. He laid clear the erotic potential of clothes — one thing he continued pushing by a sequence of notorious Gucci campaigns (together with a 2003 advert that includes a mannequin with the model’s “G” brand shaved into her pubic hair).

To the style world, his tenure was a breath of recent air.

“More than any other designer, Tom Ford will go down in history as the man responsible for dressing the final years of the 20th century,” British critic Susannah Frankel noticed within the Independent newspaper in 1999. “The knowingly super-slick, super-sexy, hard-edged glamour the Gucci label has come to signify is perfect end-of-millennium fodder.”

Revisiting the go well with

With the period’s trend within the midst of a revival, social media is now revisiting the seems to be of a few of its most glamorous standard-bearers — from a resplendently maned Julia Roberts to Liz Hurley in that Versace dress.
It’s a second through which Instagram accounts like @tomfordforgucci have thrived. Delving into the visible historical past of Ford’s tenures at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, which he helmed from 1999 to 2004, the throwback account has launched his trend editorials and catwalk seems to be to a brand new viewers hungry for daring sensuality.
Paltrow is certainly one of a variety of starlets whose fresh-faced occasion snaps and ’90s crimson carpet appearances now flood social media. And consequently, her VMAs crimson go well with is now an more and more covetable merchandise, with one just lately promoting on luxurious resale web site 1stDibs for greater than $8,000.

To rejoice Gucci’s one hundredth anniversary in April, the label’s present artistic director, Alessandro Michele, even despatched a near-perfect duplicate of the go well with down the runway, although he changed the unique velvet scarf with a leather-and-silver physique chain.

A model wears a revised version of Gwyneth Paltrow's red velvet suit  at the 2021 Gucci 'Aria' show.

A mannequin wears a revised model of Gwyneth Paltrow’s crimson velvet go well with on the 2021 Gucci ‘Aria’ present. Credit: Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Gucci

It is tempting to try to diagnose the explanations behind revived curiosity within the period’s trend — and the ladies who wore it. Perhaps it embodies what we now see as a time of innocence — a pre-9/11, largely pre-internet decade that appears distant from our personal, however simply shut sufficient for it to not have slipped completely into the realms of historical past.

Or perhaps we’re possessed by a nagging sense that design was extra thrilling or daring up to now, particularly within the wake of a pandemic that has interfered with our understanding of each time and magnificence. (Sharp tailoring and Ford’s “hard-edged glamour” are all of the extra interesting after a 12 months carrying sweatpants.)

But whatever the causes, Paltrow’s go well with demonstrates that something in trend could be revived and returned to the highlight. After all, it was Ford who had plundered the ’70s to create one thing recent for the ’90s within the first place.

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