Like Ascot, Cannes has a strict dress code. As an attendee, you can wear a sheath of fabric with a pelvis-high slit (just ask Bella Hadid), but flat shoes, well they are out of the question.
In 2015 a group of women were denied entry to the premiere of Todd Haynes’ Carol because of their footwear. There was a media outcry but officials shrugged it off. The producer Valeria Richter who has had part of her foot amputated has spoken out about how she has been repeatedly been stopped by festival watchdogs over her shoes. As the backlash waged on, a social media campaign called #ShowMeYourFlats went viral. Still, the officials didn’t change the rules. Three years later Marion Cotillard who is a long-running attendee of the French film festival has defied convention. How? She wore a pair of knee-high Nicholas Kirkwood lace-up boots. Sure it’s a funny choice of footwear for a warm spring day in the South of France, but in a small way, it’s groundbreaking.
Cotillard made her sartorial statement while promoting a new spy caper, called 355, which she along with Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o and Fan Bingbing are shopping to distributors at Cannes. Though no director has been named and filming has yet to start it’s been reported that the project, which has Chastain named as producer, is like a mix of the Bourne series and Mission: Impossible. Why? It’s about a group of spies fighting for the greater good.
While the photocall is the definition of glamour (as are the sea of Instagram promo pictures already doing the rounds) the all-female line up has already let to the as-yet unmade film being compared to Ocean's 8. However - as well as boasting a truly international cast of women (Cruz is Spanish, Nyong’o grew up in Kenya but was born in Mexico, Bingbing is Chinese, Chastain is American and Cotillard is French), 355 also makes its mark as a stand-alone story in its own right rather than a re-boot of a pre-existing, male dominated franchise.
Whether it lives up to the hype or not, remains to be seen...