This week marks what would be the Cannes Film Festival. A week where the brightest stars of film descend upon the French Riviera and share their gift – and their couture – to the world.

But with the global pandemic at hand, Cannes too has been put on pause. So in its honour, we take a sartorial stroll through the archives and look back at some of the most wondrous dresses to grace its famous stretch of red carpet along the Boulevard de la Croisette.

There was the Old Hollywood glamour of the OG bombshells. Sofia Loren in a strapless broderie anglaise and tulle ball gown replete with fur stole, opera gloves and statement neckpiece in 1955. That same year saw other stunning ensembles: Grace Kelly in an exquisite lace sheath followed by a black bodice gown of Duchess silk satin, while a brunette Brigitte Bardot wore a simple sweetheart gown with big bauble earrings and opera gloves. Then in 1957, Elizabeth Taylor in an off-the-shoulder gown and antique tiara gifted to her by her third husband, Mike Todd. Oh, the wonder of old world glamour!


Then, of course, the original It-girls of the sixties and seventies: the Jane Birkin’s, the Twiggy’s, the Diana Ross’s, who shook things up in shorter hemlines and big broad hats.

The Supers came ‘a knockin’ in the ’90s: Claudia in black lace, Eva in crystal shawl and who could forget a sylph-like baby Mossy on the arm of then-boyfriend Johnny Depp? She indulged some major ’90s fashion moments, wearing everything from a minimal Narciso Rodriguez shift dress in grey in 1998 to a black-feathered strapless dress that looks very similar to the ones currently peddled by the likes of Saint Laurent and The Attico.

Then one of the most memorable Cannes moments of all time: Princess Diana in swathes of powder blue chiffon, by one of her favourite designers, Catherine Walker, in 1987.

The major Hollywood sirens came to play in the oughts: Nicole Kidman in a Moulin Rouge-inspired showgirl dress by Yves Saint Laurent in 2001, Blake Lively in towering blue Atelier Versace in 2016, Angelina Jolie in lemon custard Ungaro Couture with Brad Pitt in 2007, and that iconic photo of Brad and Jen in 2004, with Aniston in a white beaded number by Versace.

And more recently, Elle Fanning in that sublime, pansy-cinched peach Gucci gown, Bella Hadid’s barely-there red Roberto Cavalli “dress” and Margot Robbie in that Chanel ensemble; the black-sequinned cigarette pants, the sequinned pale pink baby-doll top, the perfect organza rose – it was, truly, a moment of red carpet perfection.

And who could forget the moment Kristen Stewart took off her Christian Louboutin heels in custom Chanel Haute Couture in 2018? Or Bjork rocked up as a pink lantern in 2000? OR Madonna wore nothing but Jean Paul Gaultier’s cone bra, fleshy waisted briefs and a hot pink, flesh-lined satin cape? So many marvellous and truly shocking memories.

Below, a gallery of some of the most memorable outfits to grace the prized Cannes carpet.

All images via Getty Images and Pinterest