It turns out that the perfect summer dresses for 2022 are decades old! Stars like Zendaya, Natalie Portman and Bella Hadid made summer red carpet appearances in cute outfits perfect for the warmer months. But while stars typically take their pieces off the runway, this season they delved into the archives and revived vintage looks.
One of the first megawatt celebs to embrace the throwback trend was Zendaya in early June, when she attended the Time 100 gala in New York wearing a strapless Bob Mackie dress from the brand’s Fall 1998 collection. The clean-lined silhouette, complete with blue and teal woven panels, was surprisingly fresh for the actor. It was styled by Law Roach, who once said, “Vintage and archival clothing is not a trend for me. . . [It] will always be my first choice when possible. The powerhouse stylist is also responsible for the balloon-sleeved Chanel Fall 1986 dress that Bella Hadid wore to the Venice Film Festival in May – a striking piece designed by Karl Lagerfeld and sourced from Sielian Vintage.
Of course, celebrities wearing vintage on the step and repeat isn’t just a trend specific to summer 2022. It’s a growing movement over the past few years. In 2019, for example, rapper Cardi B wore a 1995 Mugler couture creation to the 2019 Grammys, while actress Gwyneth Paltrow chose a 1963 Valentino column dress for the Emmys. A year prior, the legendary Rita Moreno wore her 1962 Oscars dress again for the same event.
However, picking these designs from the archives is not without obvious challenges. As Kim Kardashian testified at this year’s Met Gala when she wore Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy birthday, Mr. President” dress in 1962, wearing a vintage dress, even for a few moments, can cause irreversible damage. It’s no wonder, then, that many designers source and buy vintage dresses from specialty retailers, instead of lending priceless dresses to museums. More recent examples from June include Ariana DeBose’s vintage John Galliano embroidered dress, worn in the Season 4 premiere of Westworld and sourced from Shrimpton Couture (which specializes in vintage evening dresses). Singer Dove Cameron also wore a 1997 Versace lace dress – with thin, cinched straps – to the Tribeca Film Festival, sourced from Tab Vintage. The line between clothes that end up in a museum and retailers is blurred, but most celebrities seem keen to respect and maintain the integrity of the original designs.
Last week, meanwhile, Natalie Portman also picked out a bright orange Claude Montana skirt suit from Fall 1991, to wear to a Thor: Love and Thunder photocall in Rome, Italy. It comes from Paumé Los Angeles, which has an extensive rental collection of vintage designer pieces, including 1980s Halstons and Muglers. While many stars choose to collect their vintage pieces, Paumé curator Yana Kamps says the renting such models is another way to make older models shine. “Every piece we adopt into our family shines again and goes out into the world, showing that good design and craftsmanship lasts a long time.”
Below, check out the best vintage fashion moments of the summer so far.