Mats, carpets and rugs aren’t associated with glamour, unless they happen to be red. How, exactly, did one of the most utilitarian objects become synonymous with the glitz of Hollywood?
Red Carpet History has Greek Origins
The beginning of red carpet history isn’t quite as glamorous as the red carpet we know today. The very first historical reference comes from Greek author Aeschylus in his play “Agamemnon.” In the play, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife, mentions a “floor of crimson broideries to spread for the king’s path.”
By the time of the Renaissance, red carpets and rugs were more common and often featured in portraits of royalty and religious figures. The red carpet became associated with status and importance.
Red Carpets Roll for Railroads and Monroe
In 1821, the red carpet made a presidential debut when James Monroe disembarked a riverboat by way of a ceremonial red carpet. Red carpets became regularly used by the early 20th century, when railroads would roll out red carpets to welcome passengers and guide them onto railway cars. They were mostly used for first-class travelers.
Walking the Red Carpet
Red carpets finally made their way to Hollywood in 1922. Sid Grauman, theater legend, rolled out the red carpet for the premiere of “Robin Hood” at the new Egyptian Theatre. Film stars like Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery attended the premiere.
The Oscars got the red carpet treatment in 1961, when the red carpet was used at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The red carpet became an important point of contact for celebrities, designers and the media. It’s a cultural touchstone, with lavish displays of pomp and style that can make or break a celebrity.
The Red Carpet Today!
The most notable of all red carpets, the red carpet at the Oscars, takes two whole days to install and spans 16,500 square feet. In 2018, the red carpet at the Oscars was 900 feet long and 33 feet wide with an estimated value of $24,000.
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