Kylie Jenner’s three latest red carpet looks have all had one thing in common: they were all plucked directly from late French fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler’s archive. Before he passed away earlier this year, Jenner’s older sister Kim Kardashian caught his eye and became somewhat of a muse to the designer. He was the man behind her wet-look, crystal water droplet 2019 Met Gala dress, and whilst Kim has since ditched Mugler for Balenciaga, Kylie seemingly can’t get enough of his 90s collections.
In recent years, more and more celebrities have turned to 80s and 90s runway looks over the latest season’s collections. Before Kim and Kylie unlocked the heavily padlocked door to Mugler, Cardi B pipped them to the post in 2019 when she wore the infamous ‘Birth of Venus’ dress, originally modelled by Nadja Auermann for Mugler Couture AW95. Cardi B herself formed a friendship with the designer and continued to pull from the archive, paying tribute to him upon the news of his death: “Mr. Mugler was one of the FIRST designers to take a major chance on me," the rapper wrote on Instagram, "allowing me to wear one of his ICONIC archive pieces for my Grammy red carpet look in 2019.”
But Mugler’s is not the only archive being rummaged through by celebrity stylists. In fact, stylists are knocking on the doors of most major fashion houses — basically, if the clothes are gathering dust the stylists want at it.
Some would argue that these pieces should be kept in a museum (Kim’s Met Gala Marilyn dress certainly poured fuel on that fire), but ultimately these clothes were designed with the intention of celebrating the body; they were designed to be worn, not hung from a rail. More than anything, they demand to be seen. And not only on Pinterest boards, but showcased proudly by those who dare to wear them. Pieces of haute couture that have taken hundreds of hours to bring to life and have served as the reference point for endless modern day designers and students alike, deserve a second outing. Dear God, just take care of them.
Here, we round up our all time favourite red carpet moments that came direct from the archives…
Kylie Jenner in Mugler from 1999
Last week Kylie Jenner attended the ‘Oscars of the fashion industry’, the CFDA Awards, wearing a gown from Mugler’s AW99 collection. On Tuesday, she stepped out in archive Mugler again — this time to the opening of Mugler: Couturissme in New York — wearing a satin black sleeveless dress from AW95, paired with a crystal encrusted headpiece from AW99.
Kim Kardashian wearing Vivienne Westwood from 1999
Kim K has dipped into the Westwood archives a handful of times, but for P Diddy’s 50th birthday party in 2019 she opted for a 1999 Westwood wedding gown worth over £8,000.
Kim Kardashian wearing John Galliano from 2000
The outfit that has a grasp on fast fashion brands like no other. When Kim Kardashian wore John Galliano’s SS00 sheer, ruched black dress to the VMAs in 2016 the girlies went into frenzy. Knockoffs of the dress can still be seen on nights out in Soho today.
Zendaya wearing Valentino from 1992
Zendaya, alongside CFDA-winning stylist Law Roach, never miss when it comes to a red carpet. Perhaps what puts Zendaya on a pedestal above the rest is frequent visits to the archives. Whether it be Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, or even 66-year-old Balmain gowns, Zendaya is no newcomer to wearing vintage. Here she is wearing Valentino SS92 to the premiere of Euphoria season 2 — the dress was originally modelled by Linda Evangelista.
Cardi B wearing Mugler from 1995
Cardi B sent the internet into a tailspin in 2019 when she wore Mugler’s 1995-96 couture ‘Birth of Venus’ dress to the Grammys. This marked the second time in 25 years that the fashion house had opened its archive’s doors — the first was to Beyoncé in 2009. The pink duchess satin and black velvet gown was originally modelled on the catwalk by Nadja Auermann.
Zendaya wearing Versace from 2003
In June 2021 Zendaya arrived at the BET Awards wearing the same SS03 Versace dress that Beyoncé wore to perform at the BET Awards in 2003. Zendaya’s stylist Law Roach wrote on Instagram: “ââGet you a stylist with an ARCHIVE!!!!”.
To say Gucci by Tom Ford is highly sought after would be an understatement. Of course, if anyone were to show up wearing one of the rarest pieces it would be Bella Hadid. Earlier this year the model attended the Cannes Film Festival wearing one of Tom Ford’s most famous Gucci looks, the cut-out white column dress featuring a metal buckle — reportedly worth over $15,000.
Bella Hadid in Jean Paul Gaultier from 2002
It would seem Bella loves to do vintage at Cannes. Last year she attended the film festival wearing a dress by Jean Paul Gaultier which was first seen on Naomi Campbell for Gaultier’s Couture SS02 show.
Lady Gaga wearing Versace from 1994
Back in 2012, Lady Gaga decided to take on one of the most famous red carpet dresses of all time: Elizabeth Hurley’s 1994 Versace safety pin dress. Originally worn by Hurley to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral alongside then-boyfriend Hugh Grant, Gaga recreated the look whilst attending an event in Milan in 2012.
Lady Gaga wearing Alexander McQueen from 2013
Lady Gaga was a friend and avid supporter of the work of Lee ‘Alexander’ McQueen. In 2015 she purchased the infamous ‘Armadillo boots’ from Christie’s Auction House for $295,000 — the era-defining shoes she wore in her Bad Romance music video in 2009. In 2018, she attended the London premiere of A Star is Born paying homage to the designer once again, wearing an Elizabethan-style AW13 Alexander McQueen gown designed by Sarah Burton.