We have grown up seeing red carpets rolled out for VIPs and celebrities at every occasions. But, is the Red carpet red enough or it’s time for a change? I went about digging its past to propose a new future.
The earliest known reference in literature according to Wikipedia is found in the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus, written in 458 BC. Clytemnestra, the vengeful wife of Agamemnon offered a red path to walk upon his return from Troy. Agamemnon, was wary of disrespecting Zeus and his fellow deities by walking on such luxury and responded:
"I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path."
In 1821, President James Monroe was honored in South Carolina with a red carpet laid out to the river. Red as a color has long been associated with prestige, royalty and aristocracy and royalty with the passage of time gave way to film royalty. Walking the red carpet became most glorified when the movie stars and singers started to walk on it during awards ceremonies, particularly Oscars, Academy and Grammy. Unfortunately much of its exclusivity and lustre has been lost since stars from mediocre television programs started their own versions for their fans and paparazzi.
But what made red so exclusive? BBC quoted Sonnet Stanfill, senior curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum told BBC saying “Scarlet was among the most prized dyes as it was the most difficult to make and the most expensive.” Cochineal dye is made from the cochineal scale insect and this process could be traced back to the 15th Century when the Aztec and Maya people from north and central America used this for coloring fabrics.
Gone are days when Queen Elizabeth could forbid anyone except close members of the royal family from wearing scarlet, red or purple. On the contrary, with industrial progress, expensive materials of yesterdays are affordable to everyone today leaving virtually nothing for exclusivity.
While I am convinced that something should replace the Red carpet, I still could not figure out what it ought to be.