Threads Through Time: Unraveling The Enduring Impact of Celebrity Style

By Caitriona McGovern | Edited by Aretha Uamai

From the golden age of Hollywood featuring icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly to the modern-day red carpet adorned by stars like Margot Robbie and Timothée Chalamet, the personal style of celebrities possesses the ability to transcend time and become enduring pop-cultural references. The iconic looks worn by celebrities not only solidifies a style that becomes associated with that celebrity but also exerts a significant impact and influence on society as a whole. Despite the ephemeral nature of trends, many celebrity looks from across the years maintain a timeless allure, that capture lasting attention, influencing and inspiring generations to follow. 

Carla Bruni is a prime example of this, the former supermodel of the 90s emerged as an emblem of style within the fashion industry and continues to influence fashion to this day. She made a notable appearance attending the Versace Spring/Summer 1995 haute couture show in Paris, orchestrated by none other than Gianni Versace himself. Exuding elegance, Bruni wore an enthralling sky blue satin ensemble. The pleated design, featuring a scallop neckline and a slit, captured the essence of Versace’s bold and glamorous aesthetic of that era. Decades later, Margot Robbie, also a fan of Bruni’s style, drew inspiration from this archival Versace look for the Australian premier of the movie ‘Babylon’. The nearly identical custom-made Versace gown, incorporated elements such as red lace detailing and a structured corset bodice, serving as a true homage – an ode to Bruni’s ever- lasting style.

In light of her (first ever!) British Vogue cover, Julia Roberts, graces the pages of February’s issue styled and written by Editor in Chief, Edward Enniful. For decades, Roberts has been the shining star of numerous screen productions, captivating audiences with her memorable performances including many beloved rom-coms such as Pretty Woman, Notting Hill, and Eat Pray Love (just to name a few as there is an endless array), where her characters have resonated deeply with countless viewers. Her versatility as an actress and her enchanting charm have not only captivated audiences for generations but have also left an indelible mark on the world of fashion. 

Undoubtedly one of her most iconic looks is the oversized grey suit by Giorgio Armani (seen on bottom left), characterized by its bold shoulders, paired with a navy-blue tie and a crisp white shirt. This ensemble made a memorable appearance at the 1990 Golden Globe Awards, solidifying its place in fashion history and showcasing her effortless yet powerful style. Since this moment, Roberts has steered towards suits in various iterations, making it part of her signature style. Whether she opts for a more tailored cut or if she embraces a more relaxed fit, Roberts has become infamous for her iconic suit outfits. Her style is a testament to her enduring influence and timeless appeal. Roberts stands out as one of the first female celebrities trailblazing the trend – the ultimate star girl.

The collection of looks captured in the first image encapsulates the ability clothing possesses to convey meaning to viewers through imagery. From Harry Styles’ gender fluid expression of individuality, Princess Di’s chic array of looks, Madonna’s ever-evolving innovative style, Jane Birkin’s effortless yet elegant charm to Bowie’s glam rock flair, each celebrity brings their own unique style to the world of fashion. 

Whether it’s their casual street style, collaborations with fashion brands and houses, or red carpet looks, celebrities have long influenced their audiences’ clothing choices. From inspiring dress-up costumes, think Britney Spears and the Spice Girls, to igniting whole entire trends like ‘the model off duty’ trend, celebrities wield significant influence in the world of fashion. Even within celebrity circles, there’s a ripple effect, with one star influencing another. For instance, Hailey Bieber drew inspiration from the iconic style of the late Princess of Wales, Lady Diana, for her photoshoot that featured in the September 2021 issue of Vogue Paris.

Artists like Harry Styles and David Bowie have been particularly impactful in challenging traditional gender norms and expectations through their fashion choices. Harry Styles, for instance, has sparked vital conversations about gender-fluid fashion, encouraging inclusivity and diversity. Similarly, Bowie used clothing as a medium for self-expression, constantly reinventing himself and pushing the boundaries of societal norms with his androgynous fashion choices. In doing so, these artists have not only influenced fashion trends but also contributed to broader cultural conversations about identity and individuality. 

While we may not always recall the exact time or place associated with an image, we often remember certain standout iconic looks. The clothing choices made by a celebrity become integral to a celebrity’s brand and in turn, have the power to etch into our collective memory making them somewhat unforgettable. 

Style serves as the ultimate mode of creative expression, allowing individuals to showcase individuality. However, when adopted by celebrities, these iconic looks have the power to become cultural reference points with enduring influence on society and culture. These unforgettable looks have the capacity to ignite trends, instigate cultural shifts, and provoke meaningful discourse. By daring to push boundaries and defy conventions, celebrity style becomes a force for challenging societal norms and stereotypes. Beyond serving as mere fashion statements, these iconic looks emerge as symbols of identity, challenging traditional notions of

beauty, gender and identity. In essence, these iconic looks by celebrities transcend the realm of fashion, they become catalysts for social change, capable of shifting narratives and perception. 

Images sourced via Pinterest and British Vogue


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