The best red carpet looks of 2020 – IRL and online

Composite of Lizzo, Harry Styles and Jodie Turner-Smith
15:30pm, Mon 21 Dec 2020
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With so many big events cancelled or switching to digital, you could be forgiven for thinking 2020 hasn’t been a stellar year for red carpet fashion.

However, celebrities have still been keen to play dress-up – perhaps because virtual events are an excuse to actually get out of your pyjamas.

Awards season happened at the beginning of the year, so we were given plenty of stunning red carpet looks IRL – and since then, it’s been all about at-home glam. These are some of the most stand-out looks from 2020…

The sparkles…

Zoe Kravitz at the Baftas

Zoë Kravitz was the picture of elegance at the Bafta Awards in February, wearing a liquid gold column gown by Saint Laurent. Giving this classic look a modern spin, she accessorised with coral earrings, nails and lips.

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If you’re going to commit to sparkles, you might as well go all-in – as demonstrated by Janelle Monáe at the Oscars. She wore a long-sleeve embellished gown by Ralph Lauren, complete with hood and open back.

Lizzo at the Brit Awards

Lizzo donned a sparkling blue strapless dress for the Brit Awards, custom made by Dundas. Keeping things classy, she accessorised with strings of pearls and a glass of champagne.

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Tracee Ellis Ross took home the gong for fashion icon at the People’s Choice Awards in November, and you can see why: she constantly pushes the sartorial boundaries – even in quarantine. For the virtual Emmys, Ross set up a makeshift red carpet at home and wore a gold ruffled Alexandre Vauthier gown for the occasion – with a matching mask, of course.

The pops of colour…

Florence Pugh at the Baftas

Florence Pugh’s hot pink Dries Van Noten outfit for the Baftas was divisive – not everyone loved the cut and colour, but many applauded her for taking a risk with the experimental Belgian designer. With puff sleeves and ribbon detailing, the outfit seems to be a nod to her Bafta-nominated character Amy from Little Women.

Jodie Turner Smith at the Baftas

Jodie Turner-Smith showed maternity dressing doesn’t have to be anything less than glamorous at the Baftas, wearing a yellow sequined Gucci gown with a black scoop neckline.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at the Royal Albert Hall to attend the Mountbatten Festival of Music in March

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended their last official duties as royals in March, Meghan pulled out all the sartorial stops. She wore a fire engine red gown with a cape by Safiyaa to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, colour blocking with matching shoes, bag and earrings.

Joy Crookes arriving at the Brit Awards

Singer Joy Crookes stole the show at the Brits in a yellow lehenga designed by Mongas, a nod to her Bengali heritage. Crookes told the BBC she wore a traditional South Asian outfit so “young girls can see someone who looks like their mum, their auntie, their gran on the red carpet at the Brits”.

The neutrals…

Harry Styles arriving at the Brit Awards

Timothée Chalamet might have been 2019’s leading figure in menswear, but this year Harry Styles stepped up to the plate. The singer regularly subverts style stereotypes, and wore skirts and dresses for his recent Vogue cover shoot. For the Brit Awards red carpet he chose a wide-legged brown Gucci suit paired with a broderie anglaise shirt, a purple jumper, a string of pearls and a pair of Mary Janes.

Lui Yifei attending the European premiere of Disney's Mulan

Liu Yifei – who plays Mulan in Disney’s live-action remake – showed black red carpet outfits don’t have to be boring at the European premiere. She wore a sheer corseted Elie Saab gown with whimsical flowers on the skirt.

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In October, Zendaya received the Visionary Award at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. She accepted the gong in a vintage brown Versace dress from 1996, the year she was born.

The accessories…

Margot Robbie attending the world premiere of Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

Sleek opera gloves have been one of the biggest red carpet trends of the year. Margot Robbie gave the old school look a modern spin by wearing hot pink gloves with a black fluffy crop top and long skirt.

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Always a trendsetter, for January’s Golden Globes Kerry Washington championed edgy body jewellery. She wore a simple black blazer and skirt by Altuzarra with nothing underneath – save for a thick, knotted silver chain.

Billy Porter’s fashion choices are never low-key, and the Grammy Awards were no different. He wore a sparkly blue jumpsuit with a matching hat, complete with silver motorised fringing he could open and close on the red carpet.

The hat inspired a wave of memes – including this one and this one.

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