The red carpet that made Elizabeth Hurley an overnight star was in London – she famously wore a Versace LBD held together with safety pins to join her then boyfriend Hugh Grant at the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral. But the British bombshell concocted a glamazon look to rival it not long after. The year was 1997, and Hurley was on Grant’s arm at a screening in Cannes, wearing a leopard-print gown that was strapless, clinging, and – decades before the naked dress craze – almost entirely sheer.
Cannes was the perfect place for it. Even the most minimalist stars tend to turn the volume up a notch for the most glamorous film festival on the circuit, seeking out the most extravagant trains (Jodie Turner-Smith in yellow Gucci feathers), the most expensive diamonds (Rihanna in her own Chopard collection), or the rarest archive fashion (Bella Hadid in Tom Ford-era Gucci).
In the ’50s and ’60s, screen sirens Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly helped to establish Cannes’ reputation as the home of megawatt glamour, and it was further burnished in 1987 when Princess Diana walked the red carpet with Prince Charles. “Shy Di” wore a baby-blue tulle gown by one of her favourite designers, Catherine Walker.
Decades on, the likes of Elle Fanning, Deepika Padukone and Timothée Chalamet ensure that Cannes remains among the most-watched red carpets in the world. Revisit some past red-carpet highlights below ahead of this year’s festival.
In 1998, Bruni accessorised her impeccably cut jersey gown with a diamond necklace.