The importance and grandeur of the red carpet can be traced back at least 2,500 years to Ancient Greece when, in the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus, the King’s wife prepares a crimson path for her husband’s triumphant return from the Trojan War, though he feared that he was not worthy to tread upon it.
Throughout history the colour red has been associated with gods, royalty and opulence due to the difficulty and scarcity of its production. For example, scarlet dye comes from the vermilion pigment found in powdered cinnabar, and carmine is extracted from boiled cochineal insects.
However, it is thought that the phrase ‘red carpet treatment’ goes back to an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad in 1902 that guided its passengers aboard with a red carpet, and from the 1920s it became synonymous with Hollywood as it began to be used at film premieres.
Then, in 1961 the red carpet was introduced to the Academy Awards and in 1964 broadcasters began to film the entrance of its celebrity guests. This cemented it as part of the ceremony and the red carpet has since grown in scale and grandeur – it now measures 16,500 sq ft and takes two days to install.