Cannes Film Festival
Opens a Can of High
Grade High-Fashion
64th Annual Cannes Film Festival
The highly anticipated Brad Pitt and Sean Penn vehicle “The Tree of Life” might’ve gone home with the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival’s grand prize – the Palme D’Or, but the jury is still
out on the winners and the losers of the almost two week long red carpet extravaganza. When there’s a lot of gorgeous red carpet moments going around, chances are you’re also likely to
run into a whole lot of ugly – and on both points, this year’s Cannes Film Festival did not disappoint. There were too many dress-ups and change-ups throughout, so we’ve narrowed the
search down to give you only those we deemed to be undisputed fashion standouts, those we felt kept hitting it out of the park appearance after appearance and those unfortunate souls
condemned to the worst-dressed – or as some like to call it – the ‘What on earth was she thinking?’ list.
By Alexander Patino
The most pleasant surprise of the Cannes red carpet was "Alice in
Mia Wasikowska. For the premiere of her Gus Van
film, “Breathless”, Wasikowska looked a vision in a minimal, yet
stunning red sleeveless
Roland Mouret dress. She continued her
keen sartorial footing at the ‘Breathless’ photo call with a lace Pre-Fall
Valentino dress and ended her exquisite style run with a similarly
Valentino Couture dress, paired with a burnt sienna clutch. The
little tufts of frill and the romantic hairdo was a real master class in
subdued elegance. Moreso now than ever, this Aussie rising star is not
only one to keep an eye out for on the silver-screen, but looks to be an
A-list red carpet darling in the making.

They may look fabulous on the runway, but let the models fend for
themselves and it’s not always a high-fashion moment (i.e.
pink tutu monstrosity at the premiere of “The Beaver”).
Luckily, the fashion world managed to send a real ambassador to
Cannes – Czech beauty
Karolina Kurkova. At the premiere of Johnny
and Penelope Cruz’s latest – “Pirates of the Caribbean: On
Stranger Tides” the Victoria Secret model decided to ignore the
mermaid-on-film to mermaids-on-the-red carpet- memo that Cruz had
apparently decided to follow through with (she is the latest victim of
what we’re starting to call “The Marchesa Backlash Effect”) and
decided to grace the flashing lights in one of
Uncle Karl’s all black
Spring 2011
Chanel pieces, with a divine two-emerald diamond
Chopard cocktail ring. Kurkova wisely opted for the mermaid motif at Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” premiere, which opened the festival. Her Giorgio Armani Prive number was a
mermaid dress embroidered with atlantic blue sequins in a wave motif and dotted with clear Swarovski crystals. We particularly loved the organza and crinoline detail on the décolleté. And
when other ladies tried their hand at
Emilio Pucci, only to fail with aplomb (erm … Naomi Campbell), Kurkova swooped in at the Cinema for Peace event with a sexy, body con piece that
showed all the vixen wannabees just how it’s done.

It’s nice to know that when Cannes jury panelist
Uma Thurman is not out wielding samurai swords, she’s on the red carpet wielding some very serious glamour. The statuesque beauty
was one of the most ubiquitous faces of the past two weeks at Cannes. Whether she was stepping out in one of
Dolce & Gabbana’s much photographed short lace numbers (which Sarah
Jessica Parker
didn’t pull off half as well),or in an elegant and sexy white Versace gown with the best set of jewels at the festival (emerald green cascading Chopard earrings with
matching bangle), or say - in another exquisite
Roland Mouret piece to the Cinema for Peace event, or the tight, electric blue Giorgio Armani Prive dress that she donned to the festival’s
closing ceremonies – it’s clear that when Uma agreed to be a jury panelist for Cannes, there was no way she wasn’t going to dress the part. No doubt about it – Uma owned this year’s
Cannes red carpet.
The ladies of the ‘Best Dressed’ list had consistency on their
side, but there were a few get-ups at this year’s Cannes Film
Festival that were so fabulous it would be a crime to leave their
serious fierceness factor unsung.

Milla Jovovitch went an audacious route
to the premiere of “La Conquete”, but it was certainly one worth
the taking. She pulled off a risky bet with a 1920s inspired fall
Prada gown. In a Cannes showing replete with some
serious experimental misses, this one managed to make a
golden-oldie feel new again.
Giorgio Armani Prive was
without question the championing dress maker of the entire
festival. Gown after gown after gown, Prive accounted for a
hefty portion of the beauty factor at this year’s Cannes, but
none was nearly as jaw-drop worthy as
Zoe Saldana’s choice
for “The Tree of Life” premiere. Saldana paired her long
bustier-style gown in white silk organza with red and white
striped cascading skirt with the perfect
Nicholas Kirkwood
peep-toe pumps. Not everyone can tackle a trompe l’oeil
couture gown and own it, but Saldana looks here like
something akin to a mystical tree of life herself.

And for all the major statement gowns, our favorite look
belonged to the always wonderful-
Gwen Stefani, who arrived
at “The Tree of Life” premiere in a black sequined jumper,
courtesy of fall 2011
Stella McCartney. The cut, the sleeves,
that neckline, the embellishments, the whimsical hair, the
offshoot of pink lipstick and (why not?) the husband – Stefani,
as usual, looked like the girl who truly has it all.
As much as we wish it wasn’t the case, ‘Worst Dressed’ is just a nature of the
beast. The red carpet has an undeniable ability to attract the richest sartorial
choices as well as some seriously nightmare-inducing fashion endeavors. Case
in point:
Charlotte Gainsbourg – the face of Balenciaga Parfum and daughter of
the woman who inspired the classic Hermes Birkin –
Jane Birkin herself.
Gainsbourg arrived to the premiere of her latest film “Melancholia” with costar
Kirsten Dunst (who looked radiant in her fall 2011 Rodarte gown) looking
absolutely insane, to put it mildly. Sporting a baby bump on a red carpet is always
a tricky situation, but Gainsbourg’s seriously misguided exposed bra plus sheer
top number was more grim and shocking than her terrifying performance in “Anti-
Christ”, which won her Best Actress at Cannes just two years ago. Let’s just hope
Gainsbourg goes the
Miranda Kerr route and lets her buddy – Balenciaga’s
Nicolas Ghesquiere – take over the post-baby makeover for her. With such a
pedigree, we hope this is the last time Gainsbourg makes it on this list.

We know floral is one of the major trends of the spring and summer season, but
what singer and philanthropist (and consistent fashion-crime spreer)
Denise Rich
has done with her outfit at
amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS gala is show the world
that even something as girly and innocuous as floral has a grizzly, unseemly
underbelly. The oversaturation of color, the severe silhouette, the tan – it’s truly a
look that speaks for itself, or screams for itself. For the sake of fashion, let’s hope
this is the one and only time that this dress has anything to say anywhere.

And then there’s French actress
Clotilde Hesme, who arrived to the premiere of
Pedro Almodovar’s “La Piel Que Habito” (“The Skin I Live In”) in what appeared to
be a black beaded concoction from
Maison Martin Margiela’s majorly
disappointing (and boxy) spring 2011 ready-to-wear collection. We know
Almodovar has a talent for bringing out the eccentrics – the pioneers of the
subversive – but this outfit was even more out there than anything the controversial
director could dream up. And paired with those ghastly, clunky white shoes? There
simply are no words. Someone should tell
Mademoiselle Hesme that in fashion,
there’s no such thing as a home field advantage.