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Walking the Red Carpet     

These articles are protected by copyright: Simon Rademan Fashion Design Studio CC  Media request for an interview   Disclaimer:  I do not proclaim to be an authority on any of the subjects I write about.  I merely share my experiences with those who wish to learn from it, or just read about it.  Please contact us should you have additional information or information that proves otherwise. I am not the designer of any of the gowns that are published on this page, nor have I made them, or photographed them,  I, like so many others before and after me only draw inspiration from the beauty of life.

A perfect long Red carpet - at Vodaworld - @ the CEO Awards 2008We live in strange times where the media scrutinizes the smallest mistake a public figure makes.  Although 'complete privacy' would be an escape to those who often seek the limelight, there is one place where one cannot hide anything:   The Red Carpet!

I have been blessed to have walked “the red carpet” multiple times, and have studied the art since my earliest involvement and interest with theatre, the world of modelling, fashion, and of course the ultimate:  The Oscar Award ceremony.  Few people get it right, and if they do, they are not praised enough for it.


Overview   Who walks the red carpet?    The rules?    Why red?    The set-up?


The Style Bible is an easy to read style guide for women - by Simon Rademan - available in bookstoresOverview


A red carpet is traditionally used to welcome VIPs such as dignitaries and celebrities at formal events.  More commonly, "the red carpet treatment" and "rolling out the red carpet", refer to any special efforts made in the interests of hospitality.


Who walks the red carpet?


Once upon a time, in 485 B.C., way before the Academy Awards, rolling out the red carpet was reserved for kings and queens. That is how far back the concept goes

Now, almost any two-bit celebrity up for an award gets to tread on one.


Many events nowadays have VIP’s and VVIP’s.  Although this may confuse many invitees, in paparazzi terms, “VVIP” (Very VERY important people) refers to those who have to be photographed on the red carpet – often walk on the left, closer to cameras and they walk slower.  “VIP” (‘just’ Very important people) refers to those who gets to walk on the right, further away from cameras, also gets special seating and other benefits like free drinks.  Nevertheless:  they all belong on the red carpet.


The earliest known reference to walking a red carpet in literature is in the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus, written in 458 BC. When the title character returns from Troy, he is greeted by his vengeful wife Clytemnestra who offers him a red path to walk upon: 

"Now my beloved, step down from your chariot, and let not your foot, my lord, touch the Earth. Servants, let there be spread before the house he never expected to see, where Justice leads him in, a crimson path."

Agamemnon, knowing that only Gods walk on such luxury, responds with trepidation:

"I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path."     

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Why red?

A perfect long Red carpet - at Vodaworld - @ the CEO Awards 2008In 1821, President James Monroe was entertained with a red carpet rolled out to the river. And when the New York Central Railroad unrolled a red carpet to welcome passengers aboard its famous 20th Century Limited train, in 1902, the official term "red-carpet treatment" was born. This is believed to be the earliest modern use of the "red carpet treatment" as part of ceremony.

The SAMA awards use a Yellow Carpet, And corporate companies would often try and incorporate their corporate colours like a Blue Carpet, or a Black Carpet.   It simply is not as classy as the RED carpet.

For much of history, though, purple was considered the most regal colour.

Probably the most...expensive dye of ancient times was Tyrian purple... obtained from a small sac in the body of a snail-like marine mollusk... Only royalty and the very wealthy...could afford to wear apparel coloured with this dye…

Until the Middle Ages, the word "purple" was also used to describe various shades of red. This may account for purple's majestic aura crossing over to its crimson cousin. Today, red rules, though royal proponents of purple still exist

What does the set-up look like?

There often is a backdrop of sponsor’s names (or the event’s name) on the one side of the carpet, and all participating media is found lined up on the other side.    A coutousy vehicle (often sponsored) will drop VVIP’s at the start of the carpet, where spectators are allowed to see arrivals, applaud, or gasp at their favourite people.

Although there are many ways of honouring guests at arrival, there are certain manners expected on the red carpet, and this should be a part of, or become part of your business etiquette. 

Walk “THE WALK” In Seven Steps:

There is a science to RCW, (Red Carpet Walking). I will try and make it easier for those of you who do not intend to do a modelling course just to look and/or feel good on a red carpet..  Here's my suggestion on procedure and etiquette at a strictly formal wide red carpet: 

1)  Do not wear a name tag      If names are necessary, this would be found in a foyer/entrance to the event, and put on after THE WALK.  Mostly, RCW’s are VVIP’s and usually recognizable by the public.  VIP’s are escourted through via a separate entrance or carpet.

2)  Do not drink      Welcome drinks are also only found after THE WALK and at the reception hall only.  It may be sparkling water, but looks like scotch and soda. Your public may think you are boozing it up. Or worse — you’re having too much of a good time.

3)  Practice at home      Red carpet-affairs are usually formal, and often strictly formal, and therefor gowns may have trains.  Become comfortable with this at home already and do not walk THE WALK as an experimant.  Try and come across as a professional.  You should have a personal assistant who should handle this, but always be aware of what’s behind you.

4)  Count till 5      The organizers of an event will space your arrival time, but should the unforseen happen and you’re early or late, make sure that you are not on top of someone in front of you, Give the person ahead of you time to clear out. It will also compress your posse behind you, if your entourage is to trail. Count to Five. Expectation mounts. Walk in with your head back and smile. Photographers have been waiting for you.

5)  Pose for the papparazi      And of course the cameras.  Again:  count till 5.  5 seconds is enough, almost to much, but timing is everything on the red carpet.  We’re all professionals, but even fast shutter times of a camera might blur. Walk slow. Smile. Again. The cameras never blink.  This is often all it is about! … and the only touchable memory you have left in years to come.

6)  Coats are no-no’s      Even in the heart of winter!  Fur yes, but not outer winter wear. Try and stay away from additional warmers like shawls if this is not part of the planned look from your designer.  You are only walking from the car to the entrance hall to the venue.  …and again:  this is where a friend, or a PA comes in extra handy.  Arrange with ushers/friends to have it ready on the other side of the carpet.

7)  Get “snapped”      Now if LeeAnn Liebenberg, or Nicole Kidman is ahead of you, the cameras will follow her.   Either be their date for the evening, get asked to stand with them in a group for a photo, but space yourself by counting to 5, so that your face do not get cut in half by the media.  If you’re unknown to the public, I suggest you get close behind the celebrity, especially if it’s a woman. It makes it difficult to "photoshop" you out.

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