As it turns out, the perfect summer dresses for 2022 are from years past! Some of the most stylish celebrities like Zendaya, Natalie Portman, and Bella Hadid have been front-row regulars of summer red carpets with chic, perfectly on-trend looks. But while they continuously wear cache they know is brand new, these stars are noticeably drawn to past collections and bringing back vintage pieces.
One of the first celebrities to embrace the throwback trend was Zendaya, when she wore a Bob Mackie gown from the label’s autumn/winter 1998 collection to the Time 100 Gala in New York City. The streamlined silhouette—complete with woven blue and teal panelling—felt surprisingly fresh on the actor. The dress 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 autumn/winter 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.
Over the past few years, celebrities have worn vintage on the red carpet. In 2019, rapper Cardi B wore a 1995 Mugler couture creation to the 2019 Grammys. A year prior, actress Gwyneth Paltrow chose a 1963 Valentino column gown for the Emmys. In 2023, legendary actress Rita Moreno wore her 1962 Oscars gown to the same event.
While it’s easy to understand why celebrities sometimes choose to wear vintage dresses, the wear and tear they cause in the process is a concern for many. 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 rather than taking priceless ones from museums out on loan.
In June, Ariana DeBose chose a vintage John Galliano dress for the Westworld premiere. It was sourced from Shrimpton Couture, which specialises in vintage evening gowns. Dove Cameron wore a 1997 Versace lace gown—with thin, bowed straps—to the Tribeca Film Festival, also sourced from Tab Vintage. Most celebrities respect and maintain the integrity of the original designs when wearing them.
Meanwhile, last week, actress Natalie Portman wore a zingy orange Claude Montana skirt suit to a Thor: Love and Thunder photocall in Rome. The outfit was sourced from Paumé Los Angeles, which has an extensive rental collection of vintage designer pieces including Halstons and Muglers from the 1980s. 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.”