Last week, we were dubbing Lupita Nyong'o the Cannes Film Festival's de facto MVP for arriving wearing a custom Gucci frock in a dizzying hue of jade and styling her enviable natural locks into a towering "fronut." The whole look promptly turned heads and taught her peers several lessons, the most important being: try harder.
It was a message these ladies certainly heeded as the 9 days that have since past have brought out the eye-popping extravagance that a red carpet of this size, this length, this significance so in fact deserves.
As mentioned before, Lupita's biggest competition (if ever red carpet dressing was competitive sport) would be Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, who has a history of owning the Cannes red carpet. A consistently dramatic dresser, Bingbing hardly shies away from volume, drama, or detailing, and having chosen the below ethereal Marchesa gown, which leaves a trail of flowers in its wake, she proves that yet again.
Yes, look back at it.
With a flower crown woven throughout her hair, the blossoms matching the very bouquet sprouting from the back of her gown, you come to realize that attention to detail is just the name of Binbing's game.
Speaking of game, actress Aishwaya Rai is playing none of them in this Ralph & Russo couture architectural wonder.
Often dubbed the "most beautiful woman in the world", the glint in her eye and the half smile she's curled her lips into suggest she believes that to be the case too.
Araya A. Hargate essentially wafted in wearing this bedazzled and befeathered show-stopper of a ballgown from Ashi Studio Couture. In my dreams, she's dared to wear flats underneath this titanic gown, because really, who would notice?
By the way, titanic gowns are par for the course in Cannes, and Sonam Kapoor went big and plumed in her Elie Saab couture.
It was a risk to wear yellow feathers, considering the Big Bird jokes write themselves, but Kapoor is too beautiful of a woman and that waist is far too cinched to even make the connection.
Cate Blanchett trounced in this darkly romantic strapless Giles gown, with its hallucinogenic print and metallic sheen. Blanchett, while often critiquing the gender politics that play out on the red carpet, always seems to be a master of them.
Speaking of gender politics, Emily Blunt, who dazzled in gilded Ralph Lauren, had earlier spoken up about the tremendous sexist push-back she received playing her character in Sicario and the ridiculous ban on women wearing flats on the Cannes film festival red carpet. Blunt did wind up wearing heels, but she made her point: a woman should have the right to choose. Can we live?!
I was certainly living for Diane Kruger's Prada gown, demurely twinkling and glistening off the glare of camera flashbulbs. There is just a hint of leg in that sheer panel, leaving so much to the imagination.
Also, the gown's train actually necessitated its own handler, which is just baller.
By now, you may have noticed I've only focused on an international contingent of women attendees. Well, there's a reason for that. I personally find that the Cannes Film Festival red carpet is their terrain: these citizens of the world simply dedicate themselves to creating extravagant moments and I would dare say there is a sense of reverence for dressing American actresses don't necessarily possess. This isn't to suggest my fellow countrywomen didn't wow me, because they did. I just find pulling them out of their "naked dress" rut is difficult.
But Jane Fonda did manage to remind everyone that she's very much an OG, rewriting the script on septuagenarian chic in Atelier Versace.
I love the super ~casual~ hand-on-hip perch.
Then Fonda gave absolutely zero fux in this resplendent and outlandish Schiaperelli couture gown that has a hint of 80's prom and a large dose of Wicca glamour with its darkened bodice and festive (almost errant) pink sash.
Solange Knowles, too, was a huge proponent of the festive and gratuitous sash, she donning a strapless Pamela Rolland top, replete with back flare.
Then members of "Mad Max's" feminist girl gang, Zoë Kravitz and Charlize Theron preened about in gowns that were a far cry from the tattered cloths that made up their onscreen costumes.
Yes, that would be Zoë looking nothing short of an angel in Valentino and Charlize looking like the sun around which we all rotate.
If you need more angles of these stunners, have a gander:
On the subject of girl gangs, Julianne Moore, a member of Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci's infamous clique, arrived in a custom crimson gown from the label. There was something bionic about the whole look, which may be the reason why she looked unnaturally good.
Speaking of unnaturally beautiful women, a slew of supermodels were in attendance, showing off plenty of leg and plenty of blessed genetic makeups. Liya Kebede, Natasha Poly, Erin O'Connor and Joan Smalls were obviously beautiful on the red carpet, but they also were full of sartorial surprises, making bold statements with color, texture, and volume.
However, my favorite moment on the red carpet has nothing to do with clothes, but everything to do with Cate Blanchett grabbing the ass of Todd Haynes, who directed her in Carol.
No idea what's going on here, but Haynes was caught palming both Blanchett and her co-star, Rooney Mara, moments before… Or after…?
Then Rooney was in on it.
I'm not sure who was guilty or what exactly was the provocation, but Blanchett looked great. The woman was was wearing Alexander McQueen, after all.
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.