The Cannes Film Festival is not just about movies, it’s also about fashion. Celebrities show up multiple times in clothes high and low, demonstrating all their moves. The festival has made red carpet waves since “being seen” became mainstream. The Croisette boulevard has always been a catwalk and we, the rapt audience looking on.
A look back through the history of the festival’s runway (oops, red carpet) — which this year runs May 16-27 — reveals that it was, in fact, ever thus. Here are 15 fashion triumphs from Cannes over the decades:
- Elizabeth Taylor in a white Balmain gown and the fingertips of her opera gloves in 1957.
- Catherine Deneuve in a long seaside-striped sequin Yves Saint Laurent T-shirt dress in 1966.
- Jane Birkin with a picnic basket as a handbag, toting it not just during the day, but on the red carpet with a glimmering frock in 1974.
- Madonna in a voluminous pink taffeta coat by Jean Paul Gaultier — only to drop it at the last moment to reveal a white satin cone bra, knickers and a garter belt set in 1991.
- Sharon Stone in a champagne-colored satin skirt that was, well, unbuttoned to reveal a bedazzled romper beneath in 1995.
- Kate Moss in a black cocktail dress with ostrich feathers at the top and almost no makeup with merely a touch of diamonds and barely-there sandals in 1998.
- Tilda Swinton in a metallic pantsuit in 2007.
- Linda Evangelista in Lanvin at the premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in 2008.
- Lupita Nyong’o in a green pleated Gucci chiffon dress accented with crystal flowers in 2015.
- Amal Clooney in a classic butter yellow Atelier Versace dress with a high slit on one leg in 2016.
- Rihanna in a high-necked, long-sleeved all-black Balenciaga gown, matching boot leggings and matching shades in 2017.
- Kristen Stewart in a short chain mail Chanel dress in 2018.
- Marion Cotillard in a high-necked, long-sleeved all-black Balenciaga gown, matching boot leggings and matching shades in 2021.
- Spike Lee in a bouquet of sunset-toned suiting, by Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton in 2021.
- Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a fantastical creation from Gaurav Gupta that made her look like some sort of alien smoke goddess materializing on Earth in 2022.
These fashion triumphs have set the bar high for future Cannes Film Festivals. We can’t wait to see what the celebrities will wear this year.