Why Cannes is the film industry’s fashion week

Cannes Film Festival 2017

A Mediterranean paradise, a 70-year-old festival, gorgeous people and even more gorgeous fashion, it’s unsurprising that an event like the Cannes Film Festival is so prestigious. Really this festival is, as its name suggests, about film, however, in the unlikely event you weren’t aware of that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s about fashion.

Of course, if you’re a film star, you’re expected to always look exactly like a film star should – head to toe in prominent designers’ creations, glamorous and sparkling. Naturally, also as a film star you would be invited to a festival about film. This year, however, amongst the Sofia Coppolas and Colin Farrells there were also numerous non-film celebrities in attendance: models Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Kendall Jenner and popstars like Rihanna to name just a few. Attendees take to the red carpet runway to strut their stuff in custom-made gowns and suits, straight from the catwalk shoes and bespoke statement jewellery where they are photographed to be observed by the world.

Film Festival or Fashion Week?

Cannes’ blurry lines between film festival and fashion week blur that little bit more each year, but why? It seems like the key reason is the media we seek from it, we are aware that the festival is a distinguished event but we also know that the films nominated won’t be on our screens until weeks or months after the event, so naturally we fall back on what we do best (particularly us girls) which is talk about what people are wearing instead. The prominence of the event combined with the French springtime climate brings out the very best in attire: floor length gowns with dramatic splits, sharp suits and blinding diamonds; it’s beautiful. The red carpeted steps outside the Grand Théâtre Lumière gives us a line-up of guests for 11 days in a row; by day 3 we are so absorbed in the media and the frenzy of fashion that we find ourselves waiting to see what will be worn the next day and dreaming about having even just one of those outfits in our own wardrobe! And there we have it, the number one reason it’s so important for fashion brands too: it’s become one of the biggest marketing events in the designer calendar. The spotlight is so brightly on Cannes that it is the perfect opportunity for showcasing products and as the years go on film and fashion here become more intertwined. To give you some examples, this year, Jean-Paul Gaultier was on the official “Jury” for judging the awards, key sponsors included Swarovski and L’Oreal and Gucci even presented a film they restored in partnership with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation.

Let’s talk about the dress:

As a balanced mix of sustainability nerds and fashionistas we at Fashion ComPassion, of course, have enjoyed observing the garments worn down the festival red carpet too so here’s our top 5 picks:

  • Robin Wright in Stella McCartney
  • Elle Fanning in Vivienne Westwood
  • Louis Garrel in (suspected) Maison Valentino
  • Bella Hadid in Roberto Cavalli
  • Cara Delevigne in Moschino


Featured Celebrities

We love both Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood for their strong advocacy for sustainable fashion, ethical trade and the environment. It’s great that those brands can demonstrate their high quality, glamorous and beautiful garments at events like Cannes whilst incorporating sustainability into their practices. It sets an example to other brands, that sustainability does not mean compromising style or quality.

The most responsible edge on the event was Naomi Campbell’s annual Fashion for Relief Catwalk Show, where Naomi walked the catwalk herself. The show also featured a comeback from Kate Moss and Heidi Klum, and is said to have raised significant funds for Save The Children who will be supporting specifically children displaced by war.

All in all, it’s been another exciting festival and we’re already anticipating next year’s!


If you’re looking for red carpet-style ethical accessories, check out our New In page!

Tags: cannes film festival, catwalk, celebrity, couture, Ethical Fashion, ethics, fashion, fashion redefined, festival, purchase with purpose, red carpet, sustainability

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