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Great Outfits in Fashion History: Michelle Monaghan After-Partying in Vintage Bill Blass

Can we make archival looks a red carpet regular in 2022?
Michelle Monaghan attends the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

Wearing vintage on the red carpet doesn't just send a message about sustainability — it communicates a deep knowledge and appreciation of fashion, a move that shows off sartorial savvy and sounds the alarm on some very-online circles. Michelle Monaghan has been known to do this, most memorably at the 2016 Oscars, hitting up the after parties wearing an American design icon.

For Graydon Carter's Vanity Fair fête, the actor wore a vintage Bill Blass dress, sourced from Shrimpton Couture. Two years after Monaghan walked the striped carpet, the shop's owner, Cherie Balch, revealed on Instagram that she had only then learned it to be from the designer's Fall 1978 collection. "Vintage only gets better with age anyway so neither the dress or myself minded the wait," she wrote. Fast forward three more years, and the style feels just as relevant. 

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The dotted mesh long-sleeved top with an additional layer of tulle layered over the front, like a halter top, is reminiscent of what we might see on a Dior runway in the Maria Grazia Chiuri era; it's tucked into a wide satin belt that sits high at the waist, before opening up into a see-through skirt that hits right at the ankles. Monaghan leaned into the dancer feel of the look with a slick, side-parted low bun, a glossy pink lip and a cat eye. 

Vintage isn't necessarily a rarity on the red carpet — we've seen Law Roach pull from his personal archive time and time again for his clients, and Karla Welch source dresses from places like Shrimpton Couture for hers — but wearing anything off-season is still very much the exception rather than the norm. There are limitations to exclusively wearing archival pieces, of course (namely when it comes to sizing) and many outdated but deeply ingrained reasons as to why celebrities and their teams feel the need to come up with newness event after event after event. Still, it would be great to see more of them mining what already exists, whether that means pulling from consignment stores or even looking to more recent collections outside of whatever's current or barely off the runway. (Think about the sheer number of brands releasing at least four lines annually, many of which are "old" by the time the award show cycle picks up, which... is another issue entirely.) Or, better yet: wearing something they love from their own closets. 

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