Since its inception in 1946, the Cannes Film Festival has grown into one of the most prestigious and glamorous events in the world.

Set against the picturesque French Riviera, Cannes has become synonymous with cinematic excellence and high fashion. The festival not only celebrates film but also serves as a global stage where celebrities and designers converge, showcasing their most extravagant and memorable looks.

The Birth of a Red Carpet Legacy

The red carpet at Cannes is more than just a walkway—it’s a symbol of prestige, glamour, and the intricate dance between cinema and fashion. Celebrities, filmmakers, and fashion icons use this platform to make bold statements, creating moments that linger in both film and fashion history. Each year, the red carpet is graced with a myriad of stunning outfits, setting trends and capturing the collective imagination of the world.

Iconic Looks That Defined Cannes

Grace Kelly (1955)


Grace Kelly’s appearance at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival remains a timeless classic. She wore a serene blue chiffon gown designed by Edith Head, perfectly embodying her screen persona of elegance and sophistication. The dress featured delicate spaghetti straps and a flowing silhouette that complemented her regal poise. This look encapsulated the old Hollywood glamour that Kelly epitomized, setting a high bar for future red carpet appearances.

Brigitte Bardot (1956)


Brigitte Bardot’s 1956 appearance showcased her signature style—effortless, sensual, and chic. She donned an off-the-shoulder white dress that emphasized her sun-kissed skin and tousled blonde hair. This look was both simple and striking, highlighting Bardot’s natural beauty and cementing her status as a fashion icon. Her nonchalant approach to glamour influenced a generation of fashion enthusiasts.

Princess Diana (1987)


In 1987, Princess Diana graced the Cannes red carpet in a stunning sky-blue chiffon gown by Catherine Walker. The dress featured an asymmetrical neckline and a draped bodice, exuding both royal elegance and modern sophistication. Diana’s appearance at Cannes was a significant moment, bridging the gap between royalty and the cinematic world, and her look remains one of the most iconic in the festival’s history.

Madonna (1991)


Madonna turned heads in 1991 with her daring Jean Paul Gaultier creation. The star wore a pale pink corset with conical busts, paired with a sheer wrap skirt. This bold look was emblematic of Madonna’s provocative style and her ability to push fashion boundaries. Gaultier’s avant-garde design was a perfect match for the pop icon, making a powerful statement on the Cannes red carpet.

Aishwarya Rai (2002)


Aishwarya Rai’s 2002 appearance in a shimmering golden sari by Neeta Lulla was a defining moment for Indian fashion on the international stage. In 2010, she again captivated the audience with an ethereal Elie Saab gown. The intricately beaded gown, in a soft lavender hue, featured a fitted bodice and flowing train, highlighting Rai’s timeless beauty. This look established her as a global fashion icon and paved the way for more Indian designers at Cannes.

Blake Lively (2014)


Blake Lively’s 2014 red carpet appearance in a maroon Gucci Premiere gown was a showstopper. The dress featured a plunging neckline, a fitted bodice, and a thigh-high slit, all wrapped up in luxurious silk chiffon. Lively’s old Hollywood waves and bold red lip perfectly complemented the gown, creating a look that was both modern and timeless.

Bella Hadid (2016)

Bella Hadid’s 2016 appearance in a red silk satin gown by Alexandre Vauthier was nothing short of sensational. The dress featured a deep plunge and a dramatic thigh-high slit, making it one of the most talked-about looks of the festival. Hadid’s confident demeanor and the dress’s daring design combined to create a moment of high drama and elegance.

Deepika Padukone (2018)


In 2018, Deepika Padukone wore a dramatic pink ruffled gown by Ashi Studio. The dress featured exaggerated ruffles and a sweeping train, making Padukone the center of attention. Her bold choice showcased the creativity and grandeur of haute couture, reaffirming Cannes as a platform for fashion experimentation.

Cate Blanchett (2018)


Cate Blanchett’s 2018 red carpet look was not only stunning but also made a powerful statement about sustainability. She wore a black Armani Privé gown that she had previously donned in 2014, promoting the message of re-wearing outfits. The timeless design featured a lace bodice and a full skirt, proving that elegance and environmental consciousness can go hand in hand.

Gigi Hadid (2023)


Gigi walked the red carpet for the premiere of Firebrand (Le Jeu De La Reine) in a vintage Zac Posen piece from his 2014, Paris Fashion Week Collection. The mother-of-one looked stunning in a mocha-hued, strapless gown with fabric detailing around the waist. In terms of jewellery, the former Messika Jewellery ambassador wore their Roaring Diamonds necklace and bracelet from the Paris es tune Fête collection, the Illusionnistes ear clip, the timeless Glam’Azone ring, the Gloria double ring and an exceptional pink and yellow diamond stone Toi&Moi heart-shaped ring.

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Images: Instagram: @festivaldecannes, Getty Images and Pinterest