Cannes Red Carpet Style Is Everything You've Ever Dreamed & Then Some


I am in a perpetual state of mild rage at red carpet style, particularly in Hollywood: with the proliferation of stylists, and favors to designers who are already established, rare is the celebrity who shows up not looking boringly perfect and perfectly boring. The worst offender by far is Reese Witherspoon, whose safe, conservative choices surely induce even the most status-crazed paparazzo to somnambulism, but virtually everyone is a perpetrator worthy of fashion arrest (and not by those rent-a-cops on Fashion Police, either). Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, Taylor Swift in J Mendel, even Kim Kardashian in Givenchy… boring… boring… boring… boring.

Is it America, people? Because as the photographs from the Cannes red carpet roll in, I find myself not just marveling but knocked the fuck over by the sartorial excellence leading ladies are putting down. Even those women from the USA seem to be bringing A game that they’d never dare attempt in Los Angeles; perhaps their stylists are on holiday or France has higher standards. Whatever it is, they need to keep doing this, because at a certain point, the public will revolt! Here’s the first batch of Cannes style photos that encourage everyone to seriously step it the hell up, for the love of not being boring.

Right?! Liya Kebede could wear anything and look stunning, so it is commendable that the outfit she chose was a little daring—a sparkly overpiece resembling Christmas tinsel, a holey skirt and what looks like her control top peeking out of the whole thing. Lupita Nyong’o, too, in one-of-a-kind Gucci, mint green and decorated with candy-colored rosettes that look like you could eat them straight off her shoulders. Indian actor/model Mallika Sherawat showed up with Game of Thrones on lock: a princess cape plus a huge collar of diamonds to show everyone who’s boss. Hell yeah, your grace.

In my estimation, Nyong’o’s main rival in the perpetually dressed-to-kill game (it’s not a game, people) is Fan Bingbing.

It’s almost like they went to the same cake boss, too—gorgeous flowers placed delicately upon chiffon and tulle. Welcome to this fantasy garden.

There is such a range of looks here, which I appreciate so much—not like, say, the Oscars, where everyone ends up wearing ice blue or pinkish-tan or white crystalline like they planned it on a conference call. French actor Diane Rouxel went baroque ‘80s and ended up looking like a cool owl. Eva Longoria also has a ‘70s/’80s look, like she’s going to prom at Studio 54, while Malian musician Rokia Traoré is stunning draped in yards of scarlet silk. I don’t normally go in for the super-sweet princess look, but Belarusian model Tanya Dziahileva nailed it; the crystals on her skirt look like tiny Christmas lights, and I like the maximalism of just going for it with a matching, over-the-top diamond collar.

Speaking of maximalism! Please let me introduce you to my favorite person in the world, Elena Lenina, the Russian television star known for storming Cannes with her fantastic hairdos. At left, she’s giving us Glenda the Good Witch with an updo that is not dissimilar to cotton candy, at right is something of a ‘60s minimalist bubble chair. One day, perhaps if we are lucky, Lenina will be invited to spice up the carpet Stateside….

Isabella Rossellini’s patterned dresses were not as ostentatious but they weren’t toned down, either; she’s like a queen from a planet on the original Star Trek on the carpet, and a really chill Catholic priest in Hawaii on the right, her vestments giving a total hang-ten to the body of Christ.

Do not forget that Cannes is a tropical setting, because these casual ladies did not: Italian actor Alba Rohrwacher may look embellished and lovely in patterns but she’s still in a cooling shift dress, and Catherine Deneuve’s Vuitton has little keyhole ventilators, good for keeping cleavage sweat to a minimum. Photographer Ellen von Unwerth apparently does not sweat, because she’s dressed like a really cool old-timey bartender. It was breezy, too—Parker Posey had to hold onto her hat in a sheer boating ensemble, a fun contrast to Emma Stone’s dainty sweet 16 frock. I don’t care if it is Oscar de la Renta. Whatever on that.

Oh, you thought it was casual Fridays? Nah. I adore the loose, gorgeous dress on Maji Sissako, wife of director Abderrahmane Sissako. It proves you can look elegant and appropriate at a formal event without going ham on glitter and flash. Style icon Agnés B. had a similar idea in a lovely patterned skirt, but when you are Agnés B you can basically do whatever you want, wherever you want. I’m also interested in Clotilde Courau’s tan gown—it’s simple, but the bell draping in the sleeves gives it unmistakably French edge. Also, she is an actual Princess, so what the fuck: wear whatever, man. Director Delphine Gleize shows us how to wear glitter without going overboard.

Oh look, it’s Fan Bingbing again, here to utterly slay you. No biggie.

Jin Qiaoqiao’s 1930s-meets-the future corset bodice and flapper hair is my fave; also props to anyone who wears marsala-colored velvet in summer, as Julianne Moore also did in custom Givenchy. I love the lizard-pattern bustier peeping out of her Grecian sleeve, it makes me think she has an exoskeleton. Melissa George is hands down one of the coolest dressed people here; she flipped the formal pantsuit into hotpants and a smoking jacket/boudoir robe. Sandra Bauknecht, editor of L’Officiel Switzerland (ok), is in Chanel but it’s not a thing that screams “I AM WEARING FORMAL CHANEL!” It has some kick to it.

Okay, here’s a break after seeing all that fun fashion, and an example of what I am complaining about. Hollywood staples wearing priceless designer gowns and being some of the most gorgeous people on earth, yet boring the fuck out of my sensibilities.

Like, seriously, someone spill some rosé on these ladies. Do them a favor, imbue them with a pattern or something interesting to look at. Even Zoë Kravitz, normally wearing something with great personal style and blowing us all away, is giving me zero life.

Now, for contrast, witness Viann Zhang.

See what I mean?! Hollywood, stop sucking. Cannes, go on forever.

Images via Getty.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin