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  • Writer's pictureMikahila Bloomfield

Why is the Cannes Film Festival About Fashion?

Are we here for fashion or films . . .

Anne Hathaway cannes film festival red carpet

Does it seem as though Cannes is more about the fashion than it is about the films? Stars from around the world hit the red carpet to celebrate the latest cinematic enterprises. The very first Cannes Film Festival was held in September 1946. Festival de Cannes, as it is more formally known, is akin to fashion week in that, under the cloak of all the glitz and glamour, major business deals are being transacted.

The Cannes Film Festival is a marketplace for producers and distributors to view the latest international film projects from all genres, hear from thought leaders in the industry, and ink multi-million dollar contracts. With all the media chatter regarding Cannes — the films are the draw, yet the fashion seems to be the sell. Why is that?

The right gown can get the conversation going about a celebrity with the ultimate goal of having their upcoming movie projects thrown into the discussion. While cinephiles may yearn for discourse from Cannes to center on film and culture, a greater plurality of people on the internet love to play fashion critic, and as a result, the red carpet rules the roost.

Actress Lupita Nyong’o wearing green Gucci gown on the red carpet in Cannes
Lupita Nyong’o wearing Gucci at the "Standing Tall" 68th Cannes Film Festival Premiere & Opening Ceremony.

When Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2013, her powder-blue Prada gown helped secure her number one on the Vogue Best-Dressed List — the ensuing media discussion moved her from unknown to A-list. By the time of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, her Gucci gown cemented her fashion icon status and cemented her position as a highly sought-after actress that people want see — and discuss.

What do you think of the Cannes Film Festival's connection to fashion? Leave a comment below. Follow Fashion League on Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter for Faux or Fashion™ trivia, and the latest job postings from some of your favorite companies.

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