Who cares about the movies on show when you can ogle celebs on the red carpet? Well, some of us do actually but it has to be said that the Cannes Film Festival has always been as much of a celeb photo opportunity as a celebration of either high art or popular culture.
And the event becomes as much a fashion festival as a film one as each year passes too, whether celebs are treading the red carpet, arriving at Nice Airport or strolling down the Croisette.
I like Cannes more than any of the other red carpet events several reasons. Partly because I like Cannes as a town after having gone to so many exhibitions there. But also because of the variety on show and that real mix of in-your-face glamour and celebs trying so very hard to come across as ‘serious’ as if they’re really looking forward to the impenetrable art house movie they’re about to endure.
Also, controversies over high heels aside, Cannes has a fashion edge that allows for more style diversity than some of the Hollywood red carpet events. And Cannes also has a knack of turning up some real style gems. The fashion press may coo over certain looks on the runways, but celebs (or more accurately, their laser-sharp stylists) seem to be able to find hidden gems that consumers globally and the fashion industry can be inspired by.
So what have been my favourite looks so far?
Bella Hadid may not smile too often but she’s had a good festival on the style front. From the ‘nude’ Roberto Cavalli gown (at the top of this page) that showed off an enviably toned body to her off-duty clothes and the Dior mini dress, she’s not put a foot wrong.
I’m not usually a huge fan of Amal Clooney’s style as it’s sometimes a bit too ‘lawyer-ish’ (no surprise there given that she’s a lawyer) but also sometimes too girly from someone as tall grown-up looking as she is. But in lemon draped Versace she really nailed it.
Va Va Voom
Cannes red carpets are where celebs really have to fight to be noticed and this bunch seems to be winning the battle. Blake lively must have been feeling heavily on display in a dresses that used embellishment to both conceal and reveal. But while some others may not have showed so much flesh, they still put the body at the centre of their style statements.
So who really rocked it? Kirsten Dunst has to take the prize with her embellished Gucci dress by Alessandro Michele and also in a bead trimmed creamy silk confection by Aouadi Paris. But let’s give Vanessa Paradis her due too. Her skinny jeans and shrunken jacket over silk blouse worked perfectly and it’s a look anyone could achieve with high street pieces.
Dior may not have a lead designer yet but the influence of Raf Simons is still being felt, especially in this embellished dress with hi-lo hem as worn beautifully by Liu Yifei. It rejects the ultra-extravagance of the John Galliano days in favour of a subtler but no less striking effect.
Daytime dressing in Cannes can be as influential as after dark looks and both Anna Kendrick and Kirsten Dunst made an impact in Marc Jacobs and Dior, respectively. The dresses are faux-conservative with a retro edge (think 40s and 50s) and a waist focus. Dunst is channelling influences from Grace Kelly through Audrey Hepburn while Kendrick is girlier and sweeter-looking.
In the shade
When celebs are off-duty, the look may be casual but the must-have accessory is a cool pair of shades. Think big, think ultra-dark with a hint of a cat’s eye flick or fine twisted wire frames and a graduated lens.
* Pictures courtesy of the celebs’ or designers’ own social media feeds