Amidst the frothy gowns and naked dresses that dominated the red carpet this year, there was an unexpected preference for denim. Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears might spring to mind, but this year’s best looks were less kitsch, more fashion-forward (no fedoras in sight).
Euphoria star Hunter Schafer looked effortlessly cool in an acid-wash denim gown by Rick Owens at the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party in March, which had flattering structural seams, a maxi mermaid skirt and frayed hemline. With wet-look hair, punky jewellery and graphic eyeshadow to match the faded grungy hue of the dress, it made for a standout look of the evening.
Kodi Smit-McPhee pushed the envelope even further at the Met Gala and broached his first time at the event with unabashed confidence. “[The Met] is a place where people can go with zero boundaries and judgements on how they want to express themselves through fashion,” he told Vogue. “It has always just seemed so edgy, extravagant, and extra in the best way possible.”
With this in mind, the actor paid homage to casual Fridays – “where you get to dress down and present yourself more casually”. Cue: a button-up striped shirt, jeans and bright-red gloves by Bottega Veneta. The catch? The shirt and jeans were actually made of fine leather.
Testament to the many ways in which the Met theme can be interpreted every year, Ashton Sanders also turned up in a twist on the Canadian tuxedo. The actor wore a denim look by Casablanca, comprising a gold-trim jacket and trousers.
Acne Studios’s history is rooted in denim – founder Jonny Johansson created 100 pairs of raw jeans within the first year of launching the label – and to this day denim remains a signature material for the brand. Recent collections have explored denim beyond just jeans, as seen on Zazie Beetz, who wore an upcycled patchwork dress from autumn/winter 2022 to the premiere of Bullet Train in August.
Come September, the fashion focus was on Venice Film Festival, where Jodie Turner-Smith was serving serious looks. Glamour came courtesy of Gucci, Harbison Studio and Christopher John Rogers, but it was her denim Balmain gown that commanded the most attention. The webbed strap neckline, form-fitting seamed bodice and pleated skirt ensured she stood out from the crowd (though, that isn’t hard when you’re as mesmerising as Jodie).
Bones and All star Taylor Russell was another one-to-watch in Venice – see: the archive Ralph Lauren gown she wore to the closing ceremony – and she’s since delivered numerous directional looks. Dressed in straight-leg Levi’s, a fuzzy Noughties-era Gucci coat and Fred Leighton diamonds, the actor brought new meaning to the phrase “jeans and a nice top” at the Gotham Awards. Her Hollywood contemporaries graced the carpet in floor-sweeping gowns, but Taylor knew that jeans were just as much of a statement. The message? Dig out your best denim for party season.
CreditLead image: Stefania D'Alessandro via Getty Images