Having its debut in 1946, the Cannes Film Festival has since grown to be one of the most important red-carpets of all time. The Festival is not only an important piece of fashion history but of film and political history as well, having its origins in feuds between British media giants and Adolf Hitler over the Venice Film Festival awards in 1938.
Surprisingly, the main attraction of the event is not the stunning movies film teams around the world have put their blood, sweat and bodily fluids into, no, the event that keeps viewers glued to their screen is the luxurious red carpet. Celebrities and designers pull out all the stops for the festival, showcasing magnificent gowns and wonderfully constructed tuxes and avid fashion consumers globally revel in its opulence and grandeur.
The Cannes red carpet has been walked by the likes of the late Princess Diana, Rihanna, Elizabeth Taylor, Lupita Nyong’o, Kristen Stewart and Sharon Stone just to name a few, and brands such as Dior, Lanvin, Valentino, Chanel and Gucci has showcased some of their best works on this same carpet. Here are some of the most iconic looks turned over the years.
The Palm D’Or (Golden Palm Branch in English) is the prestigious award of the festival and film directors around the world dream of being lucky enough to have one bestowed upon them. Films that have won the Palme D’Or include, ‘ Parasite’ (2019), ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994), ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976), ‘Gate of Hell’ (1954), ‘Black Orpheus’ (1959), ‘The Piano’ (1993), ‘You Were Never Really Here’ (2017).
With the 2021 festival in process, we take a look back at some of the best gowns that have walked the red carpet.
Princess Diana in Catherine Walker (1987)
This was the Princess’ first and last time attending the event. She wore a stunning blue Catherine Walker gown (Catherine Walker being one of her favourite designers).
Sophia Loren in Emilio Schubert (1953)
Sophia Loren stunned the world when she arrived at Cannes in this beautiful Emilio Schubert gown, pairing it with a fur stole and breathtaking necklace. The combination of the intricately patterned gown with tulle underneath and elbow length gloves gives that old Hollywood feel, taking us back to the golden era of the film. Sophia is well known for being the most photographed woman at the 1953 Cannes Festival.
Elizabeth Taylor in Nolan Miller (1987)
Elizabeth Taylor wore a beautifully fitted Nolan Miller dress for the 41st Cannes Festival. The red dress featured the signature pagoda shoulder which was very popular in the 80’s and gave it an elegant twist using gathered, ruched fabric instead of shoulder pads to soften the often sharp silhouette of the usual pagoda shoulder.
Grace Kelly in Oleg Cassini (1955)
Grace Kelly looked absolutely stunning at the 1955 Cannes Festival in her custom Oleg Cassini dress. The actress and soon-to-be princess showed up to the event Jean Pierre Aumont after breaking up with Oleg Cassini prior only to get with the Prince Rainier of Monaco later that year! But who could blame her? Look at that face!
Isabelle Adjani in Dior (by John Galliano) (1997)
Isabelle Adjani confidently strutted the red carpet in this gold brocade suit dress by John Galliano for Dior.
Linda Evangelista in Lanvin (2008)
World renown supermodel Linda Evangelista looked elegant in this gold sequinned, asymmetrical Lanvin gown.
Nicole Kidman in Valentino (2013)
Probably one of the most recently memorable moments in Cannes festival history is Nicole Kidman’s floral Valentino gown.
Lupita Nyong’o in Gucci (2015)
Lupita Nyong’o shook the internet when she showed up on the red carpet in this beautiful green Gucci dress. This is what we mean by Black Excellence!
Rihanna in Dior Haute Couture (2017)
Fashion icon Rihanna gave the world a treat when she showed up in this stunning Dior Haute Couture gown.
Elle Fanning in Gucci (2019)
Elle Fanning absolutely owned the Cannes Festival in 2019! Pulling out all the stops to serve look after look! It was definitely challenging to pick just one look of her’s from the red carpet, however, nobody could forget this amazing peach Gucci gown. We are definitely stanning Elle Fanning.
Deepika Padukone in Giambattista Valli (2019)
Another tulle dress showed up on the red carpet in 2019 but this time inn a pretty lime green dress by Giambattista Valli worn by Deepika Padukone.
Chloe Sevigny in Loewe (2019)
We all wish we looked as cool as Chloe Sevigny in this edgy layered Loewe dress.
Aishwarya Rai in Michael Cinco (2018)
There’s one place you are guaranteed to find the incredibly private Indian screen goddess – the Cannes Film Festival. Aishwariya Rai made an iconic return to the Cannes red carpet in 2018 in a Michael Cinco gown created to perfection – after 3000 hours! – to reflect the impalpable dream of a butterfly metamorphosis.
WRITTEN BY: Nii Nai Ako-Nai