Yes! We! Cannes! (And yes, we've been waiting our whole lives to use that phrase.) So yes, the Cannes Film Festival kicks off on May 14, and with it comes the the memorable Cannes fashion that is less award show circuit and more “standard film premiere.”
Naturally, we’ve used it as an excuse to take a walk down memory lane. And while we couldn’t check out all 66 years – since its 1946 beginnings didn’t see a slew of photographers – we did make sure to go back just enough to include some notable now-vintage styles. Lesson learned: when in doubt, just dress like Jane Birkin.
Story continues below slideshow:
1. Sophia Loren, 1954
It was hard to narrow down Sophia Loren’s various notable, memorable, I-need-to-dress-more-like-this-able Cannes pieces. But there’s something to be said for her formal approach to beachwear as well as her inherently ‘50s choices: light heels, a pleated skirt, and a nautical collar. A look so timeless it came back in the ‘80s. And the ‘90s. And right now. (Can we blame anyone?)
2. Brigitte Bardot, 1954
Then, on the flipside is Brigitte Bardot, who swapped sophisticated for beach chic – or at least its 1950s equivalent. Gone are the shoes, the jewelry, the updo, and the inhibitions. In its place came a new approach to cinema-oriented events: do what you want (in a classic A-line dress). This is France, after all.
3. Elizabeth Taylor, 1957
Bow down to your queen. In 1957, Elizabeth Taylor dressed the part of Hollywood royalty, donning a bejeweled crown alongside fur, gloves, and chiffon to achieve late ’50s glam. And as she should: the festival might be so lucky to have her descend upon it.
4. Michael Caine’s “Alfie” posse, 1966
What a difference nine years makes. Reflecting the ever-experimental decade (to put it lightly), Cannes started to let its hair down, with actors taking more fashion risks alongside the evolution of film. Case in point: Michael Caine, who, true to his "Alfie" character, attended the festival surrounded by women, all donning pants with the movie’s name across the bottom. Standard for 2014? Absolutely. Shocking for 1966? Of course.
5. Catherine Deneuve, 1966
The mods have arrived! Or at least Catherine Deneuve did, with a very Carnaby-street appropriate gown that reflected the decade’s preoccupation with bold patterns, metallics, and cuts. And while the gloves and hoop earrings upped her red carpet formal game, Deneuve still paid homage to the British and European youth movements with innately modern dress through its loose waist and futuristic colour spectrum.
6. Vanessa Redgrave, 1967
A pantsuit is old hat now, and frankly even in the mid-to-late 1960s, the look was coasting on some serious momentum (which only increased throughout the ‘70s). But a sequined pantsuit? With feet? That’s some serious fashion clout. Now you know that Vanessa Redgrave had it, along with hair we’re all jealous of.
7. Yoko Ono, 1970
If you’re ever challenged on whether or not Yoko Ono is a woman who does not give a [fill in the blank], direct he or she to Ono’s 1970 Cannes look. There, she donned short leather shorts and go-go boots to match, and proved she will wear and she will do whatever she likes. (See, this is why Cannes fashion is so interesting.)
8. Jane Birkin, 1974
Stars: they’re just like us. And what is more a testament to that statement than Jane Birkin’s normcore look (sorry, we had to), paired alongside Serge Gainsbourg’s blazer and jeans. No, it’s not high fashion, and no, it’s not fancy – but it’s a matter of staying true to oneself which is something that doesn’t tend to happen a lot on the red carpet/award show/film festival circuit. If you’re reading this, A-lister somewhere, it’s okay to make this work for you.
9. Bianca Jagger, 1975
Meanwhile, a year later, Bianca Jagger also stayed true to herself via a sheer dress embellished with a strategically placed flower, which was balanced out by a floor length skirt. Risky, but it works -- especially with that velvet beret that would make a ‘70s-era Stevie Nicks/Mary Tyler Moore love child very proud. (Or us proud still, in 2014.)
10. Princess Diana, 1987
There’s always something about seeing an old picture of Diana, especially since we can now recognize how she religiously killed the fashion game – Cannes ’87 being no exception. Wearing a tone that perfectly complemented her skin, she stepped it up and channeled the glamour of the festival’s early years, but brought it into the ‘80s with her gown’s silk fabric and scarf. Was it her best look ever? No, but it was one of Cannes, making us think it wouldn’t hurt to see Kate Middleton represent at some point in 2014.