But as the world started tentatively opening up, celebrities threw themselves back into red carpet fashion with renewed vigour.
It’s the sartorial response to spending so much time in sweatpants, and a delight for anyone who loves to see a bit of style and drama.
After a year full of viral fashion moments, these are the best looks to grace the British red carpet…
Held in April, the Bafta film awards was one of the first major events to be held in person. It was more stripped-back than we’re used to, but we were still treated to some glamour – including Cynthia Erivo, who pulled out all the stops in a shimmering Louis Vuitton minidress.
The intricacy of this armour-inspired outfit is breathtaking, and we particularly like how Erivo chose a shorter hemline – not something you see often at big award shows.
Dua Lipa took home awards for best female solo artist and best album at this year’s Brits, and she paid homage Amy Winehouse in her look. Her gravity-defying beehive was a clear nod to the late singer, and Lipa wore another British icon for the occasion – Vivienne Westwood, known for her corset dresses.
Harry Styles has been heavily inspired by Seventies fashion this year – just see the brown geometric suit he wore to the Brit Awards. It’s a covetable look, and one to rival the viral feather boa he wore to the Grammys in March.
Black dresses don’t have to be boring on the red carpet: Michaela Coel showed how to give them a unique spin for the Bafta TV awards in June. She wore an elegant design by London-based label Maximilian, with long red cuffs and cut-outs at the front and back.
Nicola Coughlan brought a blast of colour to the Baftas, wearing a bold orange dress by Valentino. With statement sleeves, a structured silhouette and dark make-up, her look was bang on-trend.
Gunmetal isn’t a colour you often see on the red carpet, making Laura Whitmore’s National Television Awards outfit even more eye-catching. With a structured bodice and floaty skirt, it was just the right mix of edgy and romantic.
Lady Gaga’s film House Of Gucci has been a real gift for fashion lovers. Not only are the movie costumes incredible, but Lady Gaga has served some serious looks on the press tour – including her bright purple outfit for the London premiere. The dazzling dress was, of course, Gucci, and Gaga clearly had fun moving the chiffon cape around.
After such a long break from red carpets, you can really see celebrities embracing red carpet drama – meaning outfits seem bigger and bolder than ever before. Take Gabrielle Union’s gown for the Fashion Awards 2021: a neon green couture Valentino creation, with a massive skirt, long train, and vertiginous hairdo.
Many attendees at this year’s Fashion Awards wore one of the UK’s biggest designers: Richard Quinn. Billy Porter hosted the event in a black and silver geometric look by the designer – and even brought a bit of theatre to the red carpet by surrounding himself with a group of dancers, also dressed in head-to-toe Quinn.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas wore a classic Richard Quinn outfit for the same event. Her floral jumpsuit had statement shoulders, built-in gloves and shoes, and a seriously extra train.
Kate Beckinsale brought winter elegance to December’s British Independent Film Awards, wearing a sophisticated white caped gown with silver sleeves – by one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite designers, Jenny Packham.