On Friday afternoon, as we all sweltered in the 37 degree Celsius heat, we were treated to a glimpse of something we hadn’t seen in a while.
For the first time since March, celebrities dressed up in designer formalwear to take part in a socially distanced BAFTA Television Awards ceremony that saw Sian Clifford, Glenda Jackson and Idris Elba take home the coveted trophies.
Except it wasn’t the red carpet as we know it. For a start, there was no grand event at the Royal Festival Hall. While a few stars hit a step-and-repeat before attending the awards at a closed BAFTA studio - among them Normal People co-stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal - most took part from their living rooms and gardens, Instagramming their outfits in what my Telegraph fashion team colleagues and I have coined the RCFH, or the Red Carpet From Home.
And it made for a refreshing change from the usual red carpet look. Even though there was the usual cohort of hair and makeup artists helping each star look the part, as well as outfits carefully curated by top stylists, the results were a little more informal and playful thanks to the fact that so many were in the environment in which they feel most comfortable. Anyone watching, too, is more likely to relate to a great garden dress than a glitzy red carpet number.
Take Jodie Comer’s colourful Duro Olowu dress - a particular highlight - teamed with Schiaparelli pink lipstick, Loewe sunglasses and a glass of champagne, her head tossed back in what must have been the only breeze anyone caught all day. Naomi Ackie, who won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The End of the F***ing World, wore a bright pink shirt and trouser co-ord set by Staud. Sian Clifford, meanwhile, looked sensational in a Vampire’s Wife cotton floral dress, which she proudly accessorised with her award.
Thank you @BAFTA 👾👜💞🥰🤸🏽♀️✨😭🌈🎉🥳🌳 I’m overflowing with appreciation but still in shock! And a little lost for words right now (which is VERY unlike me 😂). Our incredible composer @IsobelWB captured this though which says it all I think. Love to all the Fleabags, forever 😘 pic.twitter.com/YKtx2r1SBN— Sian Clifford (@SiansUniverse) August 1, 2020
Another of the night's style winners was Suranne Jones who echoed that cottagecore theme in a dress by O Pioneers, teamed with Alighieri jewellery and Miu Miu platform sandals. 'It was incredibly exciting for us to dress Suranne for the BAFTAs - despite it being a very different affair this year, without the obvious red carpet moment where much focus is on what everyone is wearing,' says Tania Hindmarch, one of O Pioneers' co-founders. 'As a small, independent brand who only set up last year, to have Suranne choose to wear one of our dresses to a ceremony such as the BAFTAs is a massive compliment! Clara (the brand's other founder) knows Suranne and she had bought a number of our dresses early in the summer. Suranne’s dress for the BAFTAs was a longer version of an O Pioneers dress that Clara had worn to the opening night of Tom Stoppard’s new play ‘Leopoldstadt’ which she was performing in.'
It was a little more formal at the studio itself, though curiously, nobody bothered with face coverings. Daisy Edgar-Jones wore a Miu Miu midaxi dress with an embellished bodice, which she teamed with Jessica McCormack jewellery, and embellished Jimmy Choo sandals, while comedienne Aisling Bea had one of the most sustainable looks of the night as her Norma Kamali dress and Rupert Sanderson shoes were pieces that she already owned. In turn, Stacey Dooley wore a black strapless Eighties-inspired dress by Rasario.
It was a more relaxed appearance from Emily Atack though, who joined Tom Holland in hosting BAFTA’s social channels on Friday night in a pastel shorts suit by Reiss.
The evening wasn’t without its Zoom glitches, and many viewers felt that Killing Eve and The Crown were robbed as neither show garnered any awards, but the fashion, at least, was a joy to see.
Whether this is an early indicator of the red carpet of the future remains to be seen - though it certainly represents one solution. Over in California, where the TV Emmys are set to be America’s first post-pandemic awards do on 20th September, celebrities are planning red carpet looks that take the state’s mandatory face mask rule into account.
“Now, I’m just gonna have to figure out what mask I’m gonna wear [sic]” wrote Jennifer Aniston on Instagram last week when she found out she was nominated as an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for The Morning Show. If the idea is adopted by fans, the formal face mask could become a whole new fashion category.
If I’m honest, I think this is all for the good. Red carpets had been getting boring. If we can glean one positive from this coronavirus crisis, perhaps it’s that ultra-safe, styled-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives looks no longer have a place on the red carpet.
What I hope we’ll see in future is a little more joy, spontaneity and quirk. Because after all, isn’t that what fashion is all about?