Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow wore a red velvet suit?
Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow showed up to the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a luxurious red velvet suit over an unbuttoned blue shirt, her blonde hair tucked behind her ears?
Over the next two decades, the pale pink Ralph Lauren dress she wore to accept her Oscar drew many inches of column. But it wasn’t until recently that her red velvet suit received the same attention.
Gwyneth Paltrow pictured in her red velvet Gucci suit. Credit: Kevin.Mazur / INACTIVE / WireImage / Getty Images
A return to hedonism
Like many family businesses that have become luxury juggernauts, Gucci began its life in the 1920s as a leather goods company. She first sold saddles and equestrian accessories before focusing on luggage and eventually handbags. By the time Ford came on board, however, it was on the verge of financial ruin.
Former Bergdorf Goodman president Dawn Mello had been tasked with turning the tide of the brand. But it was his Texas-born recruit who would spearhead the label’s renaissance.
Initially responsible for dealing with women’s ready-to-wear, Ford was appointed creative director in 1994 following the departure of Mello. With total control of the brand, he ushered in a new look for the heritage brand: a form-fitting, sensual and unabashedly provocative look.
Tom Ford is applauded as he paraded on a runway in 2003. At the time, Ford was the creative director of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Credit: Michel Dufour / French Select / WireImage / Getty Images
For the fashion world, her tenure was a breath of fresh air.
âMore than any other designer, Tom Ford will go down in history as the man responsible for the clothing of the last years of the 20th century,â British critic Susannah Frankel observed in the Independent newspaper in 1999. âThe super consciously. sleek, sexy and edgy super-glamor that the Gucci brand has come to mean as the perfect fodder for the turn of the millennium. “
Revisiting the costume
To celebrate Gucci’s 100th anniversary in April, the brand’s current creative director, Alessandro Michele, even sent a near-perfect replica of the costume to the catwalk, though he replaced the original velvet scarf with a leather and silver body chain.
A model wears a revised version of Gwyneth Paltrow’s red velvet suit to the Gucci ‘Aria’ 2021 show. Credit: Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images for Gucci
It’s tempting to try to diagnose the reasons for the renewed interest in fashion at the time – and the women who wore it. Perhaps she epitomizes what we now see as a time of innocence – a decade before 9/11, largely before the internet which seems distant from ours, but just close enough that it isn’t. fully slipped into the realms of history.
Or maybe we have a lingering feeling that design was more exciting or daring in the past, especially in the wake of a pandemic that interfered with our understanding of time and style. (Ford’s sharp seam and ârazor-sharp glamorâ are all the more appealing after a year of wearing sweatpants.)
But whatever the reasons, Paltrow’s costume demonstrates that anything fashionable can be revived and put back in the spotlight. After all, it was Ford who plundered the ’70s to create something new for the’ 90s in the first place.