Style & Fashion

Cannes Film Festival 2016

How Bella Hadid’s barely there red dress stunned Cannes

The Daily Beast

May 19, 2016

On Wednesday, the dramas of Cannes—such as they are, we must remind ourselves—were not personal or filmic.

Rather than Woody Allen’s abuse accusations and Kristen Stewart getting booed for her new movie, Wednesday’s headlines were reflected in the flashbulbs of the red carpet. And one dress in particular.

USA Today called Bella Hadid’s stunning red Alexandre Vauthier dress,“The Slit That Conquered Cannes,” and that was the polite way of putting it.

In photographs of Hadid on the red carpet—for the premiere of La Fille Inconnue (The Unknown Girl)—she looks a combination of beautiful, powerful, gorgeous, and understandably nervous about how and where she was standing and the disaster that could ensue from one false move or gust of wind.

To call this dress dramatic and sheer—cut tight to the hip, cut tight and revealing pretty much everywhere—needs an emphatic, additional “and then some.”

“Is it a dress?” asked USA Today. “Well yes, technically.”

If Hadid is looking nervous that her breasts might pop out, or the slit may suddenly show much more than it should, those nerves must have been compounded by being surrounded by braying photographers trying to capture the dress at its most revealing.

Hadid is wearing the hell out of a stunning dress, while also doing all she can to ward off an anatomy-revealing wardrobe malfunction in front of the world’s media.

Yet Hadid not only carried the strips of material somehow pinned together off, she commandingly blew to smithereens any other attention paid to the other beautifully attired actors and actresses at the premiere. The large number of pictures of Hadid’s dress adequately reflected our expressions of wonder.

“Don’t sneeze, Bella Hadid,” advised The Cut, sagely.

Meanwhile, Blake Lively provoked an online race controversy by Instagramming a picture of herself on the Cannes red carpet wearing a figure-hugging dress, with the caption “L.A. face with an Oakland booty.”

L.A. face with an Oakland booty

A photo posted by Blake Lively (@blakelively) on

The lyric comes from Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”—at the heart of another recent race-related controversy after Beyoncé’s invoking of “Becky with the good hair”—and online accusers took Lively to task for using women of color as a “punchline.”

Jezebel said the post was the latest in “a long list” of Lively being “passively racist,” with “L.A. face” standing for elegance/“whiteness,” and Oakland “its foil (read: blackness).”

Others dismissed the criticisms of Lively, for what they saw as simply quoting Sir Mix-a-Lot lyrics, as absurd.

And so the internet raged, and—for quite different reasons—the red carpet proved a perilous place for Bella Hadid and Blake Lively.