She’s committed to sustainable fashion.

Caroline Goldstein
September 07, 2020
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Stephane Cardinale – Corbis, Getty Images

With social distancing measures strictly enforced, hand sanitizer in generous supply, temperature checks at the theater door, and participants pairing their tuxes and gowns with face masks, this year’s Venice Film Festival—the first major film festival to take place since the coronavirus outbreak—is a vastly different affair from festivals past. Cate Blanchett further punctured the Hollywood fantasy, for good reason: She re-wore two outfits she’d worn on previous red carpets, in an effort to champion sustainability in fashion.

Blanchett, who’s attending the 77th film festival as its jury president, appeared on the opening night’s red carpet in a navy Esteban Cortazar gown. The actor first wore Cortazar’s “Stingray” dress to the BFI London Film Festival premiere of her 2015 film Carol, as her stylist Elizabeth Stewart explained on Instagram.

“IT’S CHIC TO REPEAT! #CateBlanchett has decided to rewear some of her most cherished looks at this year’s Venice Film Festival,” Stewart wrote, along with a red-carpet snap of Blanchett wearing the gown in Venice.

“In her words, Beautiful things can come out of sustainability!” 

Blanchett repeated another of her red-carpet looks the following night. She wore an Alexander McQueen top, the bodice of which came courtesy of her 2016 BAFTAs gown that Stewart explained was “reworked to wear with pants.” (Plus a louche blazer thrown over her shoulders, as if only to prove that Blanchett is, in fact, the Coolest Person on Earth.)

Stewart also shared that Blanchett and the respective designers would be auctioning off both looks on Stewart’s non-profit Chic Relief. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the auction, which runs from September 23rd to October 2nd, will be donated to the organizations Facing History and Ourselves and UN Women.

Recycling red-carpet outfits is still a relatively novel concept, though a handful of celebrities have done the same at high-profile events in the past. At an Oscar party last year, Elizabeth Banks wore a Badgley Mischka gown that she’d originally worn at the same event in 2004. Banks’ motive, similar to Blanchett’s, was to draw “global awareness to the importance of sustainability in fashion and consumerism as it relates to climate change, production & consumption, ocean pollution, labor & women,” as Banks explained in an Instagram post.

Longtime activist Jane Fonda also recycled a gown at last year’s Oscars awards, following through on her vow to stop buying new clothes. Fonda paired her beaded Elie Saab Couture gown (which she first wore to the 2014 Cannes Film Festival) with Pomellato jewelry, “because it only uses responsible, ethically harvested gold and sustainable diamonds,” Fonda wrote on Instagram. Blanchett, too, paired both of her Venice Film Festival looks with jewelry from the sustainable brand. 

We can predict (or really, sincerely hope) that the remainder of this year’s festivals and awards shows will also commit to installing safety measures against COVID-19, but we’re curious to see whether Blanchett’s commitment to sustainability will catch on among other celebrities.