Upcycled style on a green carpet as Earthshot Prize guests make do and mend the planet

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Earthshot prize guests green carpet make do and mend the planet
Earthshot prize guests green carpet make do and mend the planet

It was not your average red carpet. As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed A-list actresses into the Earthshot Prize on Sunday night, the carpet was green and there were no expensive new designer outfits in sight.

Guests at the “Eco Oscars” were instructed not to buy new dresses or suits for the occasion, “upcycling” old favourites for their big entrance.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a 2011 Alexander McQueen gown, first seen at a Bafta event in Los Angeles during a royal tour to the United States in the same year.

The Duke wore a dark green velvet jacket he wore to a 2019 charity gala with a black polo neck, pointing out the green carpet to his wife as they arrived at Alexandra Palace in an electric Audi.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore the same dress to an event in the US in 2011
The Duchess of Cambridge wore the same dress to an event in the US in 2011

Dame Emma Thompson, who gave out one of the awards, said the invitation to the awards specified that guests bear the environment in mind, making sustainable fashion choices to avoid any further impact on the planet.

The awards, masterminded by Prince William, saw five pioneers take home £1 million each in recognition of their efforts and inventions to solve key environmental problems.

They included an Indian entrepreneur whose tractor-mounted technology converts crop residue into fertiliser and fuel, cutting air pollution, and a company in the Bahamas that grows new, extra-resilient coral to replace dying reefs.

One climate-friendly winner has developed hydrogen technology that prize judges promise will “change the way we power our world”, while the city of Milan won for its food waste hubs taking unused meals and distributing them to the hungry, and Costa Rica, which pays citizens to plant trees.

The live ceremony was not without its glitches, as a laughing Dame Emma confessed to the audience that her microphone failed after she dropped it into the lavatory under the eco-friendly lighting.

Prize-winners appeared via video link, with guests asked not to fly into Britain especially for the awards, while canapes were all plant-based and music sets were powered by cyclists. Next year's awards will be held in America.

The Duchess of Cambridge, presenting an award in a rare speaking appearance on television, said: “For too long we’ve neglected our wild spaces, and now they’re facing a number of tipping points.

“If we don’t act now, we will permanently destabilise our planet and we will rob our children of the future they deserve.”

The Duke, addressing young people watching, promised: “We haven’t done enough to protect the planet for your future. But Earthshot is for you.

“In the next 10 years, we are going to act. Please keep learning, keep demanding change, and don’t give up hope.”

Speaking on the green carpet, Dame Emma - wearing a custom teal Stella McCartney suit and vegan Stan Smith trainers - said she had chosen to repeat the same outfit she wore to her 2018 investiture for services to drama at Buckingham Palace.

Stars in upcycled fashion on the green carpet included David Oyelowo and his wife Jessica, Emma Watson, and Emma Thompson
Stars in upcycled fashion on the green carpet included David Oyelowo and his wife Jessica, Emma Watson, and Emma Thompson

“They said you’re not allowed to buy anything new so I wore the last thing I wore when I saw Prince William,” she said.

“On our little notes, it said please do not buy anything new for this. Can you imagine the relief!”

Presenting an award later in the evening, she told the audience: “More of us are going to have to go back to make do and mending.”

Emma Watson, the feminist campaigner and actress best known for her role in Harry Potter, wore an “upscaled” wedding gown made from 10 dresses from Oxfam.

Presenting the “fix our climate” award, Watson said: “I’ve spent much of my working life acting in fictional, make-believe worlds where the impossible has been made possible.

“Now we need to do the same with climate change, here in the real world.

“There have been many other times in history where it’s been said it couldn’t be done. And then, people believed in a better world and made it so. This time is no different.”

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