In the pin heart centre of the noughties, celebrity culture hit a nuclear phase. PerezHilton.com, TMZ and Grazia all launched. Heat magazine hit sales of 500,000 in 2004. With the increased vigilance of celebrities, paparazzi focused more attention on airports, chiefly Los Angeles International airport (LAX).
The manicured eye of the celebrity stylist took note and the concept of “airport style” was born. No longer able to get away with bleary eyes, Uggs and a crumpled hoodie, the airport ascended to become a sort of virtual runway. “It’s a more accessible take on street style,” Hillary Kerr, co-founder of Who What Wear, told Racked. “For the most part, the pieces are simple, easy. It’s staples that most women have in their closet just combined in an interesting way.”
Here are the most significant lessons to learn from celebrity airport style.
1) Dress as if everyone is watching
Celebrities, they’re not just like us! Witness: Gigi Hadid robing in a fur-lined coat at Toronto’s Pearson International airport; Lily Aldridge sauntering in a pyjama two-piece with a geometric pattern; and Amal Clooney walking through Tokyo’s Haneda airport in a rainbow-hued Missoni dress. Looking sleek and frow-ready is a new normal for celebrities who get their travel-size toiletries shipped in from Oscar de la Renta.
2) Remind the public of your USP
For mere mortals, eccentricity should be underplayed at the airport (especially in the queue for passport control). For lawless celebrities, though, it’s a place where you can let your freak flag fly. Think Jaden Smith at a Taiwanese airport in all black athleisure riding on his suitcase-cum-scooter hybrid, or Lady Gaga in Alexander McQueen hoof shoe-boots, handcuffs attached to underpants and grey hair (with the tips dyed rainbow colours) at LAX. A cynical interpretation is that it’s the psychedelic breadcrumb trail that leads to their latest single release or fragrance launch. On a more practical level, the question to be asked is: “How are you going to get that through security, babes?”
3) Try out a new style
Selena Gomez has brokered her transformation from Disney ingenue to creamy smooth pop icon goddess via fashion. She has worn Lagerfeld at concerts, the merch for her Revival tour includes very on-trend items including tattoo kits, athleisure sports bras, and sewn-on patches, and she is featured in the Vuitton campaign. Perhaps the biggest indicator, though, is the fact that she wore a Vetements hoodie when walking through the airport. An all-red tracksuit that was a take on Champion’s hoodie and a chance for Gomez to signify a hip outsiderdom.
4) Wear your own merchandise
For a celebrity who is almost certainly going to be photographed, this is a win-win move. What better way to show off your personal wares than by using yourself as your own model? Witness: Victoria Beckham strolling through the departures terminal clad head to toe in next season’s Victoria Beckham art deco-styled gown; or Kanye West, having just landed, dressed in Yeezy Season 3 shoes and a Yeezus hoodie. It’s a me-wearing-me-being-photographed-wearing-me moment, which scores a good 9 on the meta scale.
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