Merle Ginsberg On: Cannes 2014

If Hollywood awards season is fashion heavy — well, then the Cannes Film Festival is two tons of fashion fun. Designers descend (Vivienne Westwood threw a yacht party for Pam Anderson’s new environmental foundation; Viktor & Rolf promoted their new jewelry collection with Swarovski), models walk the red carpet (Natasha Poly, Karlie Kloss, Liya Kebede) and Carine Roitfeld curates a fashion show for amfAR every year (this year’s theme was red). A journalist such as myself has to pack at least eight gowns — and FedEx the day clothes for a spectrum of weather opps! And then there are the Cannes fashion parties…

— Merle Ginsberg, The Hollywood Reporter Senior Style Writer

Calvin Klein Eternity/IFP/Women in Film

The party was held outdoors — overlooking the sea, stars and moon — at a massive structure that was a cross between Medieval Times and the Mediterranean. White couches were stretched out on a huge lawn. The crowd sipped champagne and kir royales, but the only food served — and we love this; talk about Calvin Klein minimalism — was caviar on bellinis. The women honored included Rooney Mara, the face of Calvin Klein’s Downtown fragrance; Naomi Watts; Julianne Moore and 2014’s It Girl, Lupita Nyong’o. CK designer Francisco Costa flew in for the occasion and posed with the ladies in all their Calvin Klein minimal — but eclectic — finery: Watts wore a pale pink strapless dress with a pouf skirt; Mara, a long white one with a fringed waist; Nyong’o, a deep blue patent leather dress, and Moore, a pale grey/violet tuxedo-style gown with a folded cuff décolleté. They couldn’t have dressed more differently from each other — but that was the fun of it. This year, three major celebrity stylists accompanied clients to Cannes: Jeanann Williams with Watts, Micaela Erlanger with Nyong’o and Elizabeth Stewart came with top clients Cate Blanchett and Jessica Chastain. There’s no secret why these women were also the A-List Fashion Stars of Cannes.

Louis Vuitton 2015 Resort Collection

Interesting that this Cannes opened with the gala debut of the new film Grace of Monaco, about one of the biggest fashion stars of all time: Grace Kelly. For Nicolas Ghesquière’s second collection for the house, LV actually constructed a large glass box of a building right there on the Palace of Monaco’s grounds — I can only imagine the staff it took to get that done! The general crowd was ushered into the structure and everyone was seated on a front row of snaked-off white sofas designed by Pierre Paulin (one of Ghesquière’s favorites), while celebrities like Charlotte Gainsbourg, Brit Marling, Jennifer Connelly and Zhang Ziyi were swept into the palace for cocktails. Right after the celebrities took their seats, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene entered the structure and the mostly French crowd knew to immediately stand in attention. When they sat, we sat. The buzz in the room was palpable — the clothes were fun, fashiony but wearable; flattering, girlish but sophisticated — and when Ghesquière came out for his walk, in sneakers, his feet barely touched the ground, he was beaming so much. Too bad the crowd forgot to stay seated till Albert and Charlene stood. But then they were all drunk on taking in the high of great clothes. Champagne was served afterwards. And no one wanted to leave the hollowed fashion grounds — after all, Grace of Monaco slept next door.

Vanity Fair Party

Held at the Hôtel du Cap, this year the dinner and after-party honored Giorgio Armani. The maestro himself came to shore from his yacht, and walked the du Cap’s decks into dinner in his tuxedo. What an entrance, right? That’s Armani for you — quiet drama all the way. At dinner he was joined by Armani disciples Cate Blanchett (in a stunning poured-on nude lace gown from the Armani Nude collection), Naomi Watts (in a sparkly strapless Armani Privé gown made out of smoke chiffon), Jennifer Lawrence (in Dior, as always), Robert Pattinson (who’s really in Gucci enemy camp), Russell Crowe and, yes, Justin Bieber with an entourage of bodyguards. Turns out the Beebs crashed the party, but the Armani people graciously sat him at the dinner while feeling slightly embarrassed — although he wasn’t. The party was as eclectic as they come… and then the whole elegance of the thing was interrupted by the arrival of the actors in the new Expendables movie — Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Harrison Ford — which added a certain testosterone to the proceedings. Suki Waterhouse, without Bradley Cooper, was probably best dressed; she wore an Armani Privé printed gypsy top with a mismatched skirt. “It’s very boho, like me,” the model told me.

Clockwise from left: Nicole Kidman at the Grace of Monaco premiere at Cannes, photographed by by Francois Durand/Getty Images;
Hôtel du Cap, by John Jason Junior; the beach at Cannes, by Kim Sayer

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