Although Creative Matters’ carpets are produced and installed all around the world, we actually design in Toronto, home of North America’s most important film festival.
During the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), way too much attention is paid – in our opinion anyway – to what is happening on the carpet and not to the carpets themselves. In fact, back in 2010, knowing the success of the Festival is dependent on volunteers and sponsorship opportunities, we offered to design and produce all the red carpets at no cost to TIFF. In return, we hoped to add "official supplier of red carpets" to our resume.
As with any highly successful festival, such offers have to go through a lot of "red tape" and so far, our carpet proposition has not reached fruition. However, we would like to share our thoughts behind the red carpet, so here is our first design and a Q&A with Ana Cunningham who is our Creative Director and the designer working on the project.
Speculative design in 2010 for a TIFF red carpet ©Creative Matters
You created this design four years ago. Obviously styles change. How might you modify it if CMI has the opportunity to supply carpets for TIFF 2015?
The original design created four years ago was a quick concept and most likely would have undergone several iterations and refining prior to production. As for 2015, I think our approach would be much more subtle and sophisticated, while appropriately highlighting the sponsors. Old Hollywood glamour is still on my radar as inspiration, so perhaps a design with a modern deco edge in subtle shades of red would work.
Speculative design in 2014 for a TIFF red carpet; designed by Leah Phillips, based on the Orchestra design from XXV Collection ©Creative Matters
What influences your design decisions for a red event aisle runner carpet?
The carpet design itself would need to be subtle enough so that it doesn’t clash with the movie stars, while still being a promotional tool for the show and their sponsors.
The most important question on any well-heeled woman’s mind is surely about the materials required to ensure the highest and pointiest of celebrity stilettos do not get caught?
Our first choice for quality would be nylon goods, especially if we were asked to supply for both indoor and outdoor venues. We would manufacture it in either solution dyed tufted or printed, in the lowest pile possible, so as not to disturb any Louboutin heel which will float across its surface.
And are there materials to avoid so that a dress with a train does not create a static nightmare?
If a nylon carpet is not treated with an anti-static solution, then yes, nylon would be a problem. In this case however, the products we use have all the bells and whistles to stand up to such elements.
Would you have to produce an indoor red carpet and a different outdoor red carpet made from materials that can handle rain?
For a continuous look, we would use the same carpet for both the indoor and outdoor venues. Nylon would stand up to the outdoor elements, for the short amount of time required for these events.
Is there a specific red for movie red carpets -
vermillion, scarlet, ruby, crimson, magenta, fire engine red, Ferrari red, cherry …
The official red carpet that we know of, specifically for the Oscars, has a proprietary blend of several red shades. This is to ensure the carpet appears as the appropriate red on a digital screen, which I’d say resembles a scarlet red.
Do dress stylists know what colour to expect and how to coordinate outfits?
Yes, and the red carpet will come into play when stylists select wardrobes for their clientele.
As someone who works with colour every day, which colours would you choose for a red carpet appearance and which would you avoid?
Whenever I watch a red carpet event I just swoon over the pale, crystal studded dresses. The red carpet is a perfect backdrop for these shades - you can see what I mean at this link:
A colour to be wary of would be certain shades of orange, which could quickly clash with red and look sort of drab.
Are there official dimensions for red carpets?
Typically, if you were to search for a red carpet runner online, they come as 4’ x 20’ however, for an event like TIFF, we would customize to the size required. The carpets can be made in up to a 15’ width and 100’ in length. If a larger or wall-to-wall piece is required, our talented installers use the latest hot-melt bonding tapes to seam the carpet together. Interesting fact - the Oscars use 16,500 square feet of red carpet which takes two days to install!
Outside the entertainment industry, in what situations do designers call for carpets that feature a lot of red?
Traditionally red was very much a prominent colour in handmade rugs due to its symbolism which varies throughout the history of various cultures. Today, if a designer requests a rug that features a lot of red, one would assume it has been selected to be a focal point in the space. It’s admittedly a little more daring to order a red rug, however, undoubtedly bold to do so.
What are some of the non-entertainment-industry red carpets CMI has designed?
One of my favourites is the dining room in the St. Regis hotel in Mexico City, but if you want to practice walking a long red carpet, the lobby rug at the Gowlings law office in Vancouver is a good one.
Elevator lobby rug at the Gowlings law office in Vancouver
Designed by Leah Philips and Sylvia Anderson with Group 5 Design ©Creative Matters In Toronto, there's an interesting piece at Fraser Milner Casgrain - because the red shades are offset by a golden streak, the eye doesn't realize it is looking at what is essentially a red carpet.
Reception area rug at the Fraser Milner Casgrain law office in Toronto, designed by Ange Yake, Erin DeMille and Daniella Savone with IBI Group, Toronto ©Creative Matters
We also have a number of designs in our collections that demonstrate both the splendour and the versatility of red shades.
The Rory design in the Aerial Collection
Designed by Ana Cunningham ©Creative Matters
The Scratch design in the Aerial Collection
Designed by Ali McMurter ©Creative Matters