Vintage Fashion: This Summer, Stars Are Going Retro on the Red Carpet


Turns out, the perfect summer dresses for 2022 are from decades past! Stars like Zendaya, Natalie Portman, and Bella Hadid have been making appearances on summer’s red carpets in sweet outfits that are perfect for the warmer months. But while A-listers typically pull their pieces fresh off the runway, this season they’ve been digging into the archives and reviving vintage looks.

One of the first megawatt celebrities to embrace the throwback trend was Zendaya in early June, when she attended the Time 100 Gala in New York City wearing a strapless Bob Mackie gown from the label’s fall 1998 collection. The streamlined silhouette—complete with woven blue and teal paneling—felt surprisingly fresh on the actor. It was styled by Law Roach, who once said, “Vintage and archival dressing isn’t a trend for me. . . [It] will always be my first choice when possible.” The powerhouse stylist is also responsible for the tiered, balloon-sleeved Chanel fall 1986 gown that Bella Hadid wore to the Venice Film Festival in May—a striking Karl Lagerfeld-designed piece that was sourced from Sielian Vintage.

Of course, celebrities wearing vintage on the step and repeat is not just a trend specific to summer 2022. It’s been a growing movement over the past few years. In 2019, for instance, rapper Cardi B wore a 1995 Mugler couture creation to the 2019 Grammys, while actor Gwyneth Paltrow chose a 1963 Valentino column gown for the Emmys. A year prior, the legendary Rita Moreno re-wore her 1962 Oscars gown to the same event.

Plucking these archival designs isn’t without its obvious challenges, however. As evidenced by Kim Kardashian at this year’s Met Gala—when she wore Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy birthday, Mr. President” dress from 1962—wearing a vintage dress, even for just a few moments, can cause irreversible damage. It’s no wonder, then, that many stylists are sourcing and purchasing vintage dresses from specialty retailers, versus taking priceless ones from museums out on loan. More recent examples from June include Ariana DeBose’s vintage John Galliano embroidered dress, worn to the season 4 premiere of west world and sourced from Shrimpton Couture (which specializes in vintage evening gowns). Singer Dove Cameron also wore a 1997 Versace lace gown—with thin, bowed straps—to the Tribeca Film Festival, sourced from Tab Vintage. The line between what garments end up in a museum versus retailer is blurred, but most celebrities do seem keen on respecting and maintaining the integrity of the original designs.

Just last week, meanwhile, Natalie Portman also plucked a zingy orange Claude Montana skirt suit from fall 1991, to wear to a Thor: Love and Thunder photo call in Rome, Italy. It was sourced from Paumé Los Angeles, which has an extensive rental collection of vintage designer pieces including Halstons and Muglers from the 1980s. While many stars are choosing to collect their vintage pieces, Yana Kamps—a curator for Paumé—says renting such designs is another way for old designs to shine through. “Each piece we adopt into our family gets to shine again and go out in the world—showing that good design and craftsmanship are long lasting.”

Below, see more of the summer’s best vintage fashion moments thus far.

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