The most fabulous dresses from Brigitte Bardot's cream dress to Kate Moss' feather LBD
The Cannes Film Festival sees some of the world’s most iconic stars jet into the French Riviera, year in, year out, and naturally, the red carpet out there is a pretty spectacular affair.
This year, like the last, we’re expecting an impressive selection of glamorous gowns from the annual two-week event, as the fashion world’s lead designers dress the film world’s leading ladies.
Until then, we’re looking back at some of the most incredible, and iconic, fashion moments of all time- and it’s safe to say there have been plenty over the years.
It all kicked off in 1954 when Brigitte Bardot wore a demure day frock with a flower at the waist, paired with elegant white gloves. The following year, Sophia Loren dazzled in a strapless ball gown, and in 1968, Mia Farrow was the ultimate flower power poster girl in a silky printed maxi dress.
Of course, who can forget when Johnny Depp and Kate Moss made their mark at the event as the ultimate 90s couple way back in 1998? Kate in a signature little black cocktail dress (which she later re-invented as part of her Topshop collection), complete with feather neckline and Johnny in an easy Tux and grey shirt combo – they set the bar for years to come.
One of our all-time favourite moments has to be Princess Diana though, who slipped into a beautiful floor-grazing powder blue gown in 1987, switching things-up the next day in a chic printed dress and white blazer combo.
In the noughties, Claudia Schiffer dazzled in a low cut gold sequin gown, and we still love Jennifer Aniston’s laid-back tie-neck dress – she and Brad Pitt were the ultimate California couple that year.
More recently, the likes of Marion Cotillard and Angelina Jolie ensured the glamour remained of the highest level, working frothy tulle creations and sleek Grecian-inspired gowns for their turn on the red carpet.
Yes, it’s fair to say Cannes Film Festival is one seriously stylish affair. Click through to view the most iconic Cannes dresses of all time…
First up, screen siren, Brigitte Bardot. Brigitte made the rounds as a young starlet at the film festival in 1954, being snapped on the beach in her famous bikini, as well as modelling more demure looks like this full-skirted dress.
One of the most beautiful women in the world, Sophia Lauren was the epitome of Hollywood glamour in the Fifties. She proved she really knew how to make an entrance in this scene-stealing strapless ball gown complete with fur stole.
Working the skirt suit while out and about during the festival, Raquel Welch looked relaxed and chic, and we particularly love her little sunhat!
Catherine Deneuve and husband David Bailey look the very definition of cool in this cute snap from 1966. Check out her elbow length gloves and ribbon in her hair – tres chic!
Supercool Brit Vanessa Redgrave took a candid pic on the beach at Cannes in her ubiquitous Sixties striped mini dress and bare feet.
Mia Farrow and pals got the party started in swinging Sixties fashion, with quintessential long sleeved silky gowns and pendant necklaces.
Princess Diana supported the film festival in the Eighties, where she worked a puff ball skirt and white tuxedo jacket.
The people’s princess also made an appearance in one of her famous show-stopping dresses – this strapless pale blue pleated design with a ribbon tie at the waist.
Don’t they make a beautiful couple? In the Nineties, Johnny Depp and Kate Moss were Hollywood’s hottest pairing. They looked pretty loved up in Cannes in 1998, in matching black ensembles and chiseled features.
Endless golden limbs plus endless golden fabric proved to equal a sartorial home run for Claudia Schiffer.
In 2001, we were all raving about Moulin Rouge. Nicole Kidman helped publicise the film in Cannes with director Baz Luhrmann in this jaw-dropping floor-length black gown, which mimicked the show girl costumes of the movie.
Out on the red carpet with hot hubbie Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith shone in a floor-skimming white gown with plunging neckline and lace detail.
The undisputed Queen of French cinema, Juliette Binoche, looked super slinky and smoking hot in this black satin number way back in 2002.
French-American beauty, Julie Delpy, took a star turn in this demure embellished white gown, complete with soft layered skirt and sweet cape sleeves.
This tangerine printed Pucci dress is certainly an attention grabber isn’t it? Nicole accessorised the punchy number with statement jewellery and a sleek ponytail, like only she could.
Before Brangelina, there was Brennifer. The couple took to the red carpet for the premiere of Troy in 2004, with Jen opting for this sleek white halterneck dress, with diamond panels and a sexy fishtail.
Cameron showed off her radiant California tan in this strapless white dress with white court heels, which was like a breath of fresh air amongst the array of epic gowns.
Channelling her inner mermaid, Charlize Theron stepped out in an aqua satin gown by Christian Dior in 2004. With a central, thigh-skimming slit, and elegant flowing train, she certainly knew how to steal the show!
Making a change from the usual miles of tulle and netting was Scarlet Johanssen in 2005, who instead chose a nude babydoll dress that played up her epic curves.
Hilary Swank wore this classic Chanel gown at the 2005 Festival, and we just love that cute clutch bag.
Taking a cheeky snap of the paps, model-turned-actress Milla Jovovich enjoyed her red carpet moment in a Chloe nude chiffon tea dress.
Penelope Cruz looked every inch the hot Spanish senorita in this floor length, floral printed dress by Valentino. She completes the look with a slick of red lipstick and dark, glossy curls. Caliente!
Reem Acra is responsible for this flawless plunge neck gown shown off to its full potential by former Miss World, Halle Berry.
Penelope Cruz channelled old Hollywood for the Volver premiere, wearing Elie Saab Couture, topped off with a crop of tight retro curls.
At the beginning of her Cannes career, Diane stepped out in this beautiful white layered creation by Chanel. Featuring a beaded strapless bodice and tiered skirt with floral detail, she set the bar for her annual topping of the best dressed list.
Never getting it wrong on the red carpet, back in 2007 Claudia donned an exquisite navy figure-hugging gown with flowing, fishtail skirt for her turn in the limelight at the Cannes Film Festival. The cut-out back detailing showed off her enviable physique and the super kept hair soft and flowing and make-up understated, leaving her dress to provide the drama.
Exuding the old-school Hollywood glamour for which she is famed, Dita Von Teese smouldered in a powder blue gown at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. With soft Marcel waves in her hair, a slick of signature ruby red lipstick and some serious bling round her neck, the burlesque star gave a scene-stealing turn on the Ocean’s 13 premiere red carpet.
The French beauty looked exquisite in a Giorgio Armani strapless nude creation of layered tulle and net.
Usually a firm fan of the LBD, Angelina Jolie eschewed her dark side at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, in favour of dazzling daffodil yellow. The actress attended the Ocean’s 13 premiere on the arm of beau Brad Pitt, and looked luminous in her ray-of-sunshine cascading gown.
Golden girl Linda Evangelista was the epitome of Cannes glamour in one of the glitziest gowns to be seen on the red carpet in 2008.
A heavily-pregnant Angelina Jolie proudly showed off her baby bump at 2008’s film festival, dazzling in a moss green floor length creation by Max Azaria.
Resplendent in vintage Chanel Couture, Michelle Williams brought a dash of retro glamour to the 2008 Cannes film festival. Her glittering gown was a dazzling take on modern red carpet dressing, despite dating from 1926.
Always elegant and sophisticated, Natalie Portman was a blue belle at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, stepping out at the Le Silence de Lorna film premiere in a cobalt Lanvin spring/summer ’08 dress and metallic peep-toe sandals. A contemporary take on red carpet glamour, no wonder the chic actress remains a best-dressed list staple.
Long before her star turning in Black Swan, Oscar-winner Natalie Portman channeled a balletic look in this ruffled white dress by Givenchy, with cut away detail at the neckline.
It was battle of the full-on ball dresses at the premiere of 2009’s Bright Star. Eva Longoria showed her style know-how in a beautiful creation by Versace, which featured cosmic swirls of silver, grey and sky blue, as well as an impressive fanning tail shape.
Bright Star actress Abbie Cornish stepped up her game in a Toni Maticevski asymmetric lilac grown, well and truly earning her sartorial stripes.
The 2009 Cannes Film Festival kicked off with a handful of stunning couture gowns at the premiere of the animated Pixar movie, Up. Elizabeth Banks was a leading light at the screening in her high-octane, one-shouldered Armani Privé spring ’09 gown with stunning ruched folds. A delicious splash of old-school Hollywood glamour.
Out supporting hubbie Brad Pitt at the premiere of Inglourious Basterds, Angelina Jolie looked sublime in a Versace Atelier gown, in one of the season’s hottest hues – nude. But it was the detailing which really caught our attention. A thigh-high split flashed the actress’s never-ending pins, while beauty wise it was all about old school Hollywood glamour, from her cascading curls to the rich ruby lips.
Continuing her sartorial winning streak, Cannes regular Diane Kruger wore a super flattering Marchesa gown for the premiere of Inglourious Basterds in 2009. The slinky dress featured silver metallic rose detail and an elegant train.
Michelle Yeoh came over all old Hollywood in this floor-sweeping, sequined Roberto Cavalli dress, teamed with gold jewellery and clutch bag. Serious wow factor!
2010 judge Kate Beckinsale wowed revellers with her grey and blue tulle dress from Marchesa. With ethereal layers of netting, a full skirt and beaded bust, she looked positively angelic.
Setting the style bar high, Cate Blanchett gave fellow starlets plenty to live up to, as she had a ladylike moment in an elegant ice-pink triple organza lamé Giorgio Armani Privé cocktail dress, and matching cropped jacket. Simply stunning.
Bringing plenty of wow factor to proceedings, Eva Longoria made an entrance to remember in a breathtaking Emilio Pucci white gown. There’s no denying it – the Desperate Housewife knows how to seriously work the red carpet!
As usual, Diane Kruger was the bell of the ball in this vivid fushcia strapless gown by Jason Wu, with netted black bust. Accompanied by glossy, loose waves, she looked every inch the movie star.
Having not put a style step wrong at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Michelle Williams continued her run of best-dressed moments in a thigh-skimming Sonia Rykiel minidress matched with red satin Salvatore Ferragamo heels. A sartorial breath of fresh air amongst the sea of floor-skimming designs, Ms Williams proved a touch of originality in the style stakes goes far.
As a judge in 2010, Salma was relied upon to uphold Cannes’ rep as a fashionable destination! Wearing innumerable stand-out ensembles, she wore this nude sleeveless dress by Gucci for the closing ceremony.
The 2011 Cannes Film Festival was as glam an affair as ever. Naomi Campbell seems so at home in the French town and wearing this stunning, fringed, Givenchy frock at the amfAR Cinema Against Aids gala she looked tip-top.
Rachel McAdams has had some scene-stealing red carpet moments in her time – but none quite so stunning as her Cannes 2011 look. The actress stopped traffic and oozed Hollywood glamour as she promoted Woody Allen flick Midnight In Paris in an embellished red Marchesa dress. Wow. (2011)
2011 was Kirsten Dunst’s year because she won the highly coveted Palme d’Or. For one of her many, many red carpet appearances, the actress chose this ah-may-zing ruffled Chanel number and reminded us once again why it is we love her style so very much.
In the same year, Kirsten Dunst mastered the art of day-to-night glamour with this mustard yellow Chloe dress. We are in awe and simply cannot wait to see the fashion highlights in store for us this year!
In 2012, Diane Kruger took up a place on the Cannes Film Festival jury, and was in town for the duration of the festival. Cue a string of gorgeous gowns. While the actress wowed in everything from Chanel to Chalayan, her striking, old Hollywood-esque structured Christian Dior ball gown was by far our favourite – and our favourite look of hers to date. (2012)
Proving her red carpet style credentials beyond all doubt, Jessica Chastain had a serious style moment at the festival in 2013, stepping out at the premiere of Lawless in a shimmering gold Gucci gown. According to stylist Elizabeth Stewart, Jessica had considered the dress for the Oscars, but after going with McQueen instead, saved the creation for Cannes.
As a member of the Cannes Festival jury in 2013, film festival veteran Nicole Kidman stepped out in no less than 10 couture dresses during her four-week stay on the Croisette. Her stand-out? A strapless floral creation by Christian Dior, worn to the festival opening ceremony, a screening of Baz Luhrman’s Great Gatsby. Beautiful.
Jennifer Lawrence made her Cannes Festival debut in 2013, and got her red carpet styling spot on. The Oscar-winner chose a stunning monochrome Christian Dior gown for her first walk on the famous Croisette red carpet, a look we’ll certainly never forget.
A Cannes Festival veteran, Jessica Chastain once again had the fashion pack swooning as she hit the red carpet in a simple white Versace gown when she attended a special Cleopatra screening in 2013. The actress paid homage to the film’s leading lady by accessorising with tumbling old Hollywood curls and a stunning diamond pendant belonging to Elizabeth Taylor herself.
Carey Mulligan was the queen of the Cannes Festival red carpet when she arrived at the 2013 opening ceremony in dreamy Christian Dior. The British beauty paired her cascading pink creation with glittering Tiffany jewels and a stunning scarlet lip. A fitting Great Gatsby tribute.
Blake Lively rocked the high leg slit in a Gucci floor-length gown.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley regularly tops best-dressed lists for her red carpet fashion choices. The glittering green Gucci Premiere gown she donned for a screening of The Search at the Cannes Film Festival earns her another win. She teamed the soft jade dress, thoughtfully decorated with beads, with smoky eyes, dark pink lipstick and sparkling de Grisogono earrings.
Being a top model, Alessandra Ambrosio has never been one to shy away from showing off her incredible physique – and the Roberto Cavalli gown she choose for the amfAR Cinema Against Aids Gala at the Cannes Film Festival did just that. Cut-out side panels drew attention to the Brazilian’s trim waist, while a thigh-high split made the most of her long and lean legs. Alessandra added a pop of colour to her look with a sexy slick of bright red lipstick.
An angelic dress courtesy of Marchesa.
Another fabulous gown sported by Ms Thurman that year, this time a canary Atelier Versace number.
Kristen Stewart shunned ballgowns in favour of this sequin Chanel jumpsuit and totally stole the show.
Sharon Stone rocked an Emilio Pucci LBD on the red carpet, paired with aviator shades. As cool as it gets.
The model’s hot pink Calvin Klein gown was simple yet eye-catching.
Marion Cotillard’s bejewelled Dior mini dress was just exquisite.
In a sea of ballgowns, Cara’s sparkling Chanel mini stood out for all the right reasons.
In an embroidered Ralph & Russo chiffon gown.
In a ballerina-inspired Gucci dress.
There has definitely been a shift towards short dresses at the Cannes Film Festival in recent years, and this burnt orange Chanel dress, as worn by French actress Clemence Poesy, is a perfect example.
Kirsten wore a champagne lace Valentino dress to the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
We love a suit on the red carpet, and Charlize styled her Dior suit perfectly with an unbuttoned white shirt and diamond choker.
Elle channeled Sleeping Beauty in a fairytale Zuhair Murad gown.
Looking classically glamorous in a metallic Zuhair Murad gown, teamed with a diamond necklace.
Leonardo DiCaprio auditioned for a role in Hocus Pocus but was too busy to say yes
Kit Harington cried about the Game of Thrones Ending and now we’re thinking the worst 😢
Angelina Jolie and her daughters at this premier is the definition of Girls Night Out
How I ended up jumping in the sea at 3am with Istanbul’s glitterati
I have been guilty of assaulting women and here’s #HowIWillChange
P!nk reveals Christina Aguilera once tried to punch her in a club
Sign up for our daily bulletin and get the latest fashion & beauty news, competitions and exclusive Marie Claire offers direct to your inbox