Whether it’s the Met Gala or the Oscars, the real show takes place on the red carpet as celebrities parade in priceless gowns that dazzle and inspire – and are never worn again.
The creations by the world’s most celebrated fashion houses cost US$4,000 up to US$20,000 and more for an haute couture look. But you will rarely see these glam gowns after their debut outing.
From couture to T-shirts, landfills are full of garments that have been unnecessarily discarded.
Actress Cate Blanchett, however, shook things up at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, making a sustainable statement by re-wearing a black Armani dress to the event’s opening night last week. The Australian wore the stunning lacy Privé dress four years earlier, when she accepted the best actress award for Blue Jasmine at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards.
Blanchett said that she chose to show her support for the Green Carpet Challenge, a sustainable fashion initiative founded by friend Livia Firth – wife of Colin.
“From couture to T-shirts, landfills are full of garments that have been unnecessarily discarded,” Blanchett said. “Particularly in today’s climate, it seems wilful and ridiculous that such garments are not cherished and reworn for a lifetime.”
Blanchett is not alone with her sustainable statement piece. Here are seven other stars who have bucked the ludicrous one-time trend to recycle their glamorous looks.
1. Kate Middleton
The Duchess of Cambridge can do no wrong, especially when it comes to fashion. Unlike the other celebrities on this list, Kate is often seen wearing the same outfit a number of times. She’s the queen of recycling looks – jazzing her outfits up with different accessories and hairstyles.
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Here we see her do a double recycle: wearing a Katherine Hooker coat over a Jenny Packham dress she wore during her tour of North America in 2011. The coat was first seen at an Order of the Garter service in the middle of 2011. I wonder what look she will be wearing to the wedding this weekend?
2. Anna Wintour
If Anna is doing it, then it must be in style! Vogue’s editor-in-chief proved it’s OK to break out a look again in March last year, when she wore the same black-and-white tweed suit and snakeskin boots twice in two weeks. She made a slight change to her outfit, wearing a white shirt under her suit to Chanel’s show in Paris, and a black shirt at Milan Fashion Week.
3. Tiffany Haddish
When most stars grace the red carpet, they will be wearing a dress given to them or loaned from a fashion house; rarely will you find a star who actually has bought the dress themselves. Comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish may have joked about liking to save money, but she wasn’t lying.
When she bought a white Alexander McQueen dress for US$4,000, she was never planning on wearing it just once. Haddish wore it to the premier of Girls Trip, she sported it again when she became the first black female comedian to host Saturday Night Live in November 2017, and most recently we saw her on the Oscars’ stage with Maya Rudolph, presenting an award while wearing her favourite white dress.
4. Helen Mirren
She’s queen of elegance, but perhaps she should be known as the dame of thrift. No matter the occasion, the actress is always flawless, and she is not afraid to rewear her most iconic looks. Helen has been seen wearing this flattering Dolce & Gabbana floral frock at least four times, each time adding a different accessory or coat to dress it up or down.
5. Keira Knightley
Not only has the Pirates of the Caribbean actress worn this tulle number a number of times, she even recycled it to wear it to her wedding!
She first wore the mid-length strapless ivory dress from Chanel’s spring/summer 2006 haute couture collection to a Baftas after party in 2008. She then wore it when she wed James Righton in France five years later. She also sported a slightly altered version of the dress (picture here) that same year to a charity gala.
6. Rita Moreno
When it comes to recycling an outfit, veteran actress Rita Moreno takes the cake. The 86-year-old wore a striking black and gold strapless dress to this year’s Academy Awards. It is the same gown she wore to the 1962 Oscars when she took home the best supporting actress award for her role in West Side Story. A few adjustments were made to the dress, including lowering the neckline.
7. Michelle Obama
With poise and chic style, the former first lady of the United States has always conveyed her beauty, intelligence and personality through her clothing choices. While she championed young talent and wore work from designers of all backgrounds, she was also known to recycle some of her dresses.
In 2018, Michelle wore a plum Azzedine Alaïa dress when she attended a service at Saint John’s Church in Washington D.C. If you think you have seen it before, you are right. She actually wore it during Oprah’s special show ‘Christmas at the White House’.