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Making a statement

As we await the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, about to enter its 74th season on the French Riviera, we take a look at some of the most memorable red carpet moments in the history of the show, which is as much about its red carpet looks as it is about celebrating film talent, with celebrities in attendance setting trends for seasons to come.

Brigitte Bardot - 1953

French film icon Brigitte Bardot made her entry to the 1953 season of the festival in a white chiffon ball gown and white fur stole. Known to be as much a fashion icon as she was a Hollywood star, the actress finished the look with a simple diamond necklace. One of the festival’s eternal favourites, she shone as a fresh-faced 18-year-old with this off-the-shoulder creation, which would later become known as ‘the Bardot neckline’.

Audrey Hepburn - 1960

Audrey Hepburn chose simple ballerina flats and her trademark long gloves to accentuate her satin short-sleeved evening gown at the 1960 season of the festival. The young actress was one of many whose style would set trends for generations to come.

Jane Birkin - 1974

Bringing a sense of contemporary chic and shunning the traditional ball gown couture of the red carpet genre, English actress and musician Jane Birkin arrived at the 1974 festival wearing a sequin tiered gown and carrying a signature wicker basket bag. The retro look showed Birkin setting the trends as always at the French film festival.

Elizabeth Taylor - 1987

Epitomising the Dynasty era, Elizabeth Taylor’s 1987 scarlet gown dazzled on the red carpet. With dramatic broad shoulders, a floral bustier and cinched, corseted waist, Taylor was every bit the lady in red, and the George Hamilton gown, every bit the show stopper.

Princess Diana - 1987

The late Princess Diana looked as elegant as always in her baby-blue diaphanous tulle Catherine Walker gown, as she walked the red carpet with her then-husband, Prince Charles. Always famed for her sense of style, the princess accessorised the number with a delicate scarf tied behind her to flow as a train. Flat baby blue shoes, aquamarine and diamond chandelier earrings and a matching bracelet completed the look.

Nicole Kidman - 2001

Nicole Kidman wore a Moulin Rouge-inspired showgirl dress for the movie’s premiere at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. The black gown designed by Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent had a ruffle trim in keeping with the vibrant and edgy theme of the movie’s own costumes.

Robin Wright - 2009

Robin Wright literally dazzled in a stunning platinum-silver gown from one of the Middle East’s best-loved designers to the stars, Elie Saab. The off-the-shoulder draped dress from the Haute Couture collection was a bold statement piece in spite of its simplicity.

Jane Fonda - 2014

Hollywood veteran Jane Fonda, now 84, has been gracing the red carpet at Cannes since the late 1960s and her looks keep getting better. Never afraid to show off her stunning figure, she pulls off some of the most fabulous looks, which can easily give supermodels in their 20s a run for their money. Pictured here in ravishing red, Fonda stands out in this in this sequinned Elie Saab piece that she wore in 2014. And the gown made waves again as Fonda chose to repeat it at the 2020 Oscars ceremony.

Blake Lively - 2014

Blake Lively turned heads in a dramatic black and white strapless Gucci creation for the premier of Captives in 2014. The blonde beauty donned the silk crepe 50s-inspired gown featuring a full skirt and a dramatic train. To complete the look, Blake wore over 180 carats in Lorraine Schwartz diamonds including 20-carat diamond studs, two diamond necklaces, a bracelet featuring a natural pearl, an unheated ruby and diamonds as well as her own Lorraine Schwartz pink diamond engagement ring.

Amal Clooney - 2016

At the Money Monster premiere of 2016, Amal Clooney wowed fans in a lemon Atelier Versace one-shoulder gown. Features of the elegant silk chiffon dress included delicate ruching at the bust and a daring thigh-high slit.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan - 2017

Former Miss World turned actress, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan channelled her inner Cinderella in a glorious blue gown at the 70th edition of Cannes Film Festival. Her floor-sweeping powder blue ballroom gown was designed by Dubai-based Filipino fashion designer Michael Cinco.

Lupita Nyongó - 2018

Looking absolutely angelic, Lupita Nyongó struck a high note in white at the 2018 season. Known as one of the festival circuit’s most directional dressers, the actress stepped out in Dior Haute Couture’s white woven-horsehair-and-organza cage dress for the premiere of Sorry Angel. The high neckline contrasted the sleeveless silhouette while the ivory organza leaf-trimmed skirt offered a modern and minimal take on embellishment. The outfit was finished with simple diamond jewellery.

Cate Blanchett - 2018

Cate Blanchett made a statement about sustainable fashion when she gave fans a déjà vu moment in a delicate black lace gown from Armani Privé which she had worn to the Golden Globes two years before she brought it back for its Cannes debut in 2018. With a long black bustier and a deep cut on the back, the look was no less show-stopping on its second red carpet outing.

Elle Fanning - 2019

This costume-like creation from Gucci made a huge statement as Elle Fanning stepped onto the red carpet during the opening ceremony of the 2019 season. The peach gown with structured shoulders, draped cape and bodice ensured that her arrival caught the attention of fans and stars alike. She accessorised her ensemble with jewellery from Chopard and six-inch nude leather heels, also from Gucci, to boost her frame.

Priyanka Chopra - 2019

Gliding along the red carpet like a princess, Priyanka Chopra wore a beautiful white Georges Hobeika Spring 2020 Bridal Collection gown to the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The bold move to choose a strapless tiered bridal gown, paired with Chopard jewels, looked exquisite on the actress who is no stranger to the red carpet.


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