On the red carpet, it is common that women are asked about their clothes more often than men. Yet recently, many female celebrities are combating this. For example, in 2014, Cate Blanchett called out an E! News cameraman at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for panning up and down her dress. At the Grammys the year after, Nicole Kidman refused to answer Ryan Seacrest when he asked who she was wearing.
Lately, there has been a push from asking women who designed their outfit on the runway, because of allegations that the inquiry is sexist. However, when celebrities are not asked who they are wearing, the designers, having worked their whole careers to get on the Oscars stage, are not recognized for their work. Some red-carpet hosts, like Seacrest, have ceased asking, “Who are you wearing?” When Seacrest tried to eliminate the question, Nicole Miller said, “It was almost like he wasn’t that interested in the designers.” Media hosts often focus on women’s clothing because many perceive fashion as feminine.
Nonetheless, solely asking women about who styled them is not the answer. These questions target women because, traditionally, they wear more extravagant and involved looks as opposed to men’s suits.
However, men have been upgrading their looks, and the designers responsible are receiving the credit they deserve. This past award season featured Timothée Chalamet’s all-white Berluti suit, Armie Hammer’s Giorgio Armani velvet burgundy tuxedo, and Chadwick Boseman’s Givenchy Haute Couture decorated suit jacket.
Men’s fashion is not a new concept, but with past red
–carpet award show hosts focusing their attention solely on what female celebrities wear, it feels like one. Designer recognition is important, so hosts of these shows need to focus on both men and women’s fashion.
Celebrities don these looks on one of the most highly publicized stages in the world to represent the designer and sell their product. Interviewers must ask men the same questions about their clothing as women, so designers receive recognition without the question of sexism.
When an actress receives an Oscar nomination, she or her stylist search for the perfect dress to wear. Usually, they opt for borrowing a dress from a certain collection or have a designer create something unique for them. In either case, the actress does not pay for the dress; instead, the publicity from said actress benefits the dressmaker.
Neglecting to recognize the work that goes into the outfit selection process takes credit away from those who put time into the creation and selection of the dress. Clothing design is an art form, so, in this way, artists are not being acknowledged for their work. By refusing to comment on who created their look, celebrities neglect their role in advertising products for these designers.
Outside of fashion runway events, celebrities on the red carpet are the main form of advertisement for these designers. Luxury brands spend up to seven figures producing clothing for the Oscars. They put out their best garments in hopes that people will buy other items from their collection. If the brand is not identified, many potential buyers will have no idea where the clothes came from.
If hosts spend equal time asking women and men questions about their outfits and careers, designers can receive recognition as artists in an inoffensive way.