The red carpets for the Cannes Film Festival are hands down the best dressed carpets of the year. Stars, designers and stylists consistently put their best foot forward and lean into the classic prestige of the event. The very clear black tie dress code encouraged by the organisers, including advice for beach based screenings and events, also plays a big part.
An added bonus (or pressure if you’re a stylist) is as there is only one very small airport into Cannes, attendees are on high fashion alert from the moment they arrive. Also, as an event that isn’t Hollywood celebrity focused, Cannes is also a great opportunity to use fashion to make a name for yourself. The true beauty of the Cannes carpets is these looks would be too much or look out of place anywhere else, so while we are only one week into the two week long festival let’s take a look at the best red carpet looks so far.
This year, Alessandra Ambrósio wore a vintage hooded embellished Elie Saab gown from 2005 featuring a plunging neckline. The semi sheer red base, combined with the embellished striped design and styled with the cascading diamond necklace and earrings created an image of Ambrósio being birthed from the diamonds. This was further reinforced by the matching pink tones of her eye and lip makeup. The whole look was mesmerising.
Miss France & Miss Universe 2016 winner Iris Mittenaere is no stranger to princess style gowns, so it’s no wonder that she looked confident and comfortable in this full length purple AW22 Tony Ward Couture gown. The full skirt was made from lilac silk tulle and finished with asymmetric pleats, featuring an embellished neckline and underbust cut out. The light and airy feel of the colour, fit and pleats made the look impactful, whilst the volume kept it fun and not forced. Definitely fit for a princess.
Natalie Portman similarly chose the princess look too, although opting for darker accents. The dress was a recreation of a 1949 custom bejewelled Dior gown, featuring a strapless bone beaded bodice and scalloped layered skirt, trimmed with dark blue beadeading. The look was paired with platform peep-toe heels and simple diamond drop earrings allowing the ombréed petals to shine.
Naomi Campbell stunned in a red Valentino full length gown featuring a plethora of carefully placed cut outs. The dress is paired with a matching red satin stiletto court heels and a semi sheer true pink cape, finished with cascading feathers that grew denser towards the trim. Cape aside, in all honesty what made the dress a moment is the energy that Campbell exudes. We’ve seen her in an iteration of this look many times previously, but it is her energy, the way she wears the clothes instead of the clothes wearing her that lands her on best dressed lists time and time again.
Another Elie Saab moment was Sofia Carson, in a strapless AW21 Couture pleated ruffle silk organza ballgown with a sweetheart neckline; paired with white opera length gloves and a silver Damiani choker. This is classic Hollywood glamour personified; something that Saab does best. While the length of the opera gloves teetered on the line of cheap costume the jewellery and hair saved the look. A classic regal look at Cannes is a sure fire win.
Sara Sampaio dazzled in not one but two beautiful head to toe looks. Her first look was an orange draped chiffon gown by Zuhair Murad, complete with an asymmetric strap and feathered trim for the SS23 Couture collection. Her hair was pulled back from her face in a simple ponytail to complement the volume of the gown. The shade of orange, described as sun orange, perfectly complements her skin tone.
24 hours later, Sampaio wowed again, this time with a Sophie Couture black ballgown with a semi sheer bodice and iridescent tread through the airy tulle structure. As this look was for the Killers of the Flower Mood premiere, the structure of the skirt, reminiscent of wilting flower petals, was the perfect choice. Sampaio’s look was finished with hollywood curls and a diamond choker. Beautiful yet dangerous is the best way to describe this Maleficent like look, frozen in fear-filled wonder. The perfect contrast to her first airy and fun look from the day before.
Now, this rarely happens but Salma Hayek managed to make her AW23 Alexander McQueen dress look better than it did on the runway. The aubergine poly faille gown with its puffball skirt was perfectly tailored, and Hayek swapped out the large brass necklace that it was styled with and opted for one of my favourite accessories: cleavage. Paired with her curves and hair up and away from the face, this look is perfectly balanced with the drama of the sleeves. An effective reminder that Hayek is the queen of Kering.
For her first time at Cannes, Grace Elizabeth opted for one of the simpler looks, however what makes her one of the best dressed is the execution of every single detail. The fit of the monochromatic custom Rami Kadi gown is stunning. The white pleated organza detailing that draped the bodice before flowing off the hip into a train was the perfect addition to a very simple base. But it is the choice of blue jewels, slicked back hair and long gloves finished with a single blue ring that makes this exquisite. The flushed pink lips and rough smokey eye look balances the precision of the fitted gown, going one step further to make the look feel effortless.
Viola Davis’ red carpets looks are extremely varied – from bold prints to monochromatic palettes. This white and silver combination is one of my favourite yet. The Valentino AW22 feather coat with silver embroidery and custom one shoulder dress is in a word: regal. Her makeup look was a purple smokey eye and glossy lips, paired with her Chopard circular earrings, large afro and gorgeous smile, honestly there isn’t much else to say. She is the moment, an icon amongst mere mortals.
Someone else that fully committed to the princess vibe was Elle Fanning. In custom Alexander McQueen, Fanning looked like a fairy princess – think Glinda from Wicked. A silver bugle beaded bodice crafted into a plunge neckline, a pointed neckline that flowed into a pale pink tulle skirt, finished with hand embroidered sequins reminiscent of fairy dust. The whole look was ethereal and quixotic in the best way.
Like I said, the looks from Cannes are far from over, from the airport to the carpets of all the various screenings and after parties, there are many more looks to come. There are very few events except for Cannes where couture, ballgowns and voluptuous skirts feel at home, so for the purists obsessed with the beauty of tailoring and the romantics that love the Disney princess aesthetic; we are being well fed.
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