An unlikely trend has emerged over the last few months in the form of the hoodie. Shailene Woodley first wore the style as evening attire for the 2019 Fashion Awards, when she chose an oversized puffa jacket and hood by Pierpaolo Piccioli for Moncler.
FKA Twigs was seen in a hooded Ed Marler look at this year’s Grammys, and now the look has been cemented at last night’s Oscars where both Janelle Monae and Zoey Deutch wore hoods as part of their looks.
Perhaps it is no surprise that the hood has become red-carpet attire given its history as a status symbol. Its exact origins are debatable, but the hood has been used to denote royalty and power – Ancient Romans wore hoods during prayer, and those who have earned advanced degrees are still hooded when they receive their graduation certificates – a tradition that goes back to the 12th and 13th centuries when they were worn by students to signal them out from other less learned people. Members of the royal family sometimes wear hooded cloaks, or a mantle as they’re officially called, as a sign of authority during special occasions.
Related article: How The 2020 Oscars Attendees Called Out The Lack Of Diversity
On the other side of the coin, it’s used as a sign of humility and conformity by monks. For others, it’s worn for practical reasons—it was and still is used as a way of keeping the head warm. The hood has also been seen as a form of disguise; 17th-century women used to wear cloaked hoods to retain anonymity when they visited their lovers. In the 1970s, the hood was appropriated by New York hip-hop culture, when it became perhaps unfairly associated with isolation, violence and gangs.
It was also, significantly, worn as a form of armour by medieval knights, which Janelle Monae’s silver Ralph Lauren look certainly nods towards. There is a steely Grace Jones edge to her look that exudes the strength and power that the royals are presumably aiming for when they wear their mantles.
Zoey Deutch’s take has a more ethereal, fairytale-like feel, thanks in part to the chiffon-like fabric, but still offering a regal, grand appeal. She certainly seemed to have felt majestic in the teal Valentino couture gown given the way she was pictured spinning around it at the Vanity Fair after-party.
Twigs’ Grammy look had historic Victorian-inspired edge, due to its voluminous taffeta hood, lace collar and vintage-looking earrings. To prevent the style becoming too period costume, the gown was cut high up the singer’s thigh to reveal a sheer bodysuit underneath.
Related article: All Of The Glamorous Looks From The 2020 Oscars After-Parties
Hollywood’s newfound love of capes falls into the same regal-rooted category—sweeping, dramatic cloaks were worn by Natalie Portman, Brie Larson, Maya Rudolph and Tracee Ellis Ross at the Oscars yesterday—bringing a bewitching superhero power to the red carpet.
Whether it’s used as a form of armour, a comforting shield from the weather or a show of majesty, in our empowered #MeToo world, a hood might be just what we need.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.