The best ever style moments at Cannes Film Festival
As the film festival opens its doors today, our resident fashion historian, The Kimbino, looks back at some of the best looks to date. Featuring: Balenciaga, Bella Hadid, Jean Paul Gaultier and more!
Since 1946, Cannes Film Festival – then-known as the International Film Festival ’til 2003 – has pulled actors and directors from all over the world to show off their on-screen work ranging from fictional film to documentaries. And with all the hardcore glamour surrounding the event, it would only seem natural for the world’s biggest, baddest names in fashion to also put their work front and centre, too. There’s no biz like showbiz, right?
Over the years, style-defining mega-stars have been born and, hell, even resurrected with the right look. There’s almost nothing off limits when it comes to Cannes, whether it’s a leather-corseted catsuit like Pamela Anderson in 1995, a heavy gold necklace skilfully covering the boobs à la Bella Hadid, or simply a grand gown like all the rest. The faces we’ve seen attending Cannes go from up-and-coming actors, directors and even royalty, which makes for the ultimate world stage whether you’re an avid viewer or not.
Below, I, The Kimbino, take you, the reader, through nine of my favourite Cannes looks as we welcome this year’s festival today.
1). Vanessa Redgrave, 1967
First on my list is Vanessa Redgrave in a futuristic two piece promoting the classic mod film, Blow Up. The pants-shoes combo are years ahead of their time and I wish I could give the designer my props, but it remains a mystery.
2). Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier, 1991
As an avid Jean Paul Gaultier stan, this moment was bound to make my list. While he’s not the first to do the cone bra, Gaultier has definitely brought iconography to the design, with the help of musical genius Madonna. This pairing has stood the test of time, doing tour costumes together for the pop star’s Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. Cannes only fully cemented it!
3). Bella Hadid in Schiaparelli, 2021
While this moment might still be pretty recent, it is definitely up here with the best – and rightfully so. Schiaparelli’s Daniel Roseberry is magical in the way he designs, and this dress proves it. The anatomical construction and design (reminiscent of a pair of lungs) is so Elsa Schiaparelli it’s crazy. I couldn’t think of a better person to wear it than Bella herself.
4). Milla Jovovich in John Galliano, 1997
Here, Milla Jovovich wears a gold embellished look by John Galliano while she was promoting the sci-fi film, The Fifth Element. Cannes is all about the extravaganza that is a fashion moment and Milla didn’t disappoint. Rumour has it she had to be sewn into the beaded and embellished mesh dress. Now that’s dedication on the whole team’s part.
5). Cate Blanchett in Alexander McQueen, 2010
I couldn’t leave this list complete without mentioning Cate Blanchet in the Alexander McQueen pre-AW10 dress. This was a tribute to the late designer who died in February 2010, and what a spectacle it was.
6). Cannes guest wearing Larisa Katz’s biscuit tray dress, 2013
This woman has run my life for the past nine years and, while I don’t know her name, I fully know her mission: it was to gag us in this Larisa Katz dress that is completely made of biscuit trays. At first glance it somewhat resembles dice, but on closer inspection you can see the smartly constructed dress is made from trays and held together by some wiring. Innovative and gorgeous.
7). Isabelle Huppert in Balenciaga, 2021
While I love the annoyingly extra looks, I couldn’t not put Isabelle in Balenciaga on my list. She looks so effortlessly cool practically gliding along the carpet in this shiny lycra material that we all know and love to be one of creative director Demna Gvasalia’s designs. So simple yet so effective.
8). Catherine Zeta-Jones in Thierry Mugler, 1999
What a sick take on the perfect pink dress. It is so badass yet very feminine and beautiful in the material and colour choice. The late Thierry Mugler never disappointed.
9). Victoria Abril in Jean Paul Gaultier, 1997
At first glance Victoria looks stunning in a simple short blazer that kind of reminds you of a school uniform. But when she turns around, the fun really begins – the blazer opens to expose the back which shows Victoria in a hilarious boy short that has a thong printed on it. Just like Madonna, Victoria has a great relationship with Gaultier and the pair have made some fabulous work together.