The Fashion Trend That Started With Gwyneth Paltrow's 2012 Oscar Appearance

Gwyneth Paltrow has always been a trend pioneer. Whether she's outraging the general public with candles that (supposedly) smell like her vagina or sharing her unusual morning routine with us, there's no doubt that the actor and lifestyle entrepreneur never runs out of stream (or creativity). Her long stint in the acting industry means we've seen her in a lot of different looks, whether that's silky slip dresses and playful short suits on the red carpet (via Vogue) or killing the casual '90s fashion game back in the day (via Nylon).

The 2012 Oscars aren't the first time she has stunned with her look, either. At the 1999 Oscars, Paltrow wore a pale pink dress that still regularly makes Oscars best dressed lists to this day, over 20 years later. Starting a trend of elegant and timeless pieces, the look is just one of Paltrow's best. She may have had her fair share of controversies, but Gwyneth Paltrow sure knows how to turn heads with her looks and her 2012 look is no different. 

The dress was something completely unique at the time

When Gwyneth Paltrow stepped out in a bright white cape dress, it caused quite a stir. The actor and Goop founder wore the Tom Ford dress to the 2012 Oscars (via E! Online). At the time, it received mixed reviews. However, parenting blog CafeMom states that Paltrow's elegant dress paved the way for other celebs to experiment with cape dresses, including Jennifer Lopez and Lupita Nyong'o — not a bad impact for a dress that was only picked out a week before (via HuffPost)!

L'Officiel notes the popularity of dresses with capes on the red carpet, too. Model and actor Gemma Chan rocked quite a few cape dresses at various "Eternals" premieres, whereas other celebs like singer Lorde and actor Carey Mulligan have also partaken in the free-flowing trend. Not just for celebs, cape dresses are good enough for royalty, too. Both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have been spotted in a cape dress, the Princess of Whales at the premiere of "No Time to Die" (per Hello!) and the Duchess of Sussex at a Commonwealth Day Service (per PopSugar).

Cape dresses have seen a rise in popularity on the red carpet

Per Vogue, capes are back for good, having been spotted on several runways. The drama and intrigue that a cape brings to a look is definitely part of the appeal, and Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad agrees. In Murad's own words, capes "add a majestic allure" and "emphasizes the glamour" of the outfit they are being added to. A good example of this is Gwyneth Paltrow's dress. Though the white gown is relatively simple, the drape of the fabric against her dress and her shoulders lend the look a sophisticated and ethereal vibe.

As they come in so many styles and silhouettes, cape dresses like the ones seen on the runway are perfect for more formal events (via Women's Wear Daily). Whether the theme is creative black tie or you simply want to make a grand entrance at a party, a dress with an attached cape guarantees instant glamour. Capes can turn a relatively simple dress into an outfit that will make a major style statement. They can be made from lighter or heavier materials, too, making them the perfect accessory for any season.