How Stars are Subverting the Cannes Film Festival’s Archaic Stilettos Rule

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The annual Cannes Film Festival, which officially kicked off yesterday, is known as one of the most glamorous film festivals in the world—perhaps the most glamorous, rivaled closely by the Venice Film Festival. Every year, the Cannes red carpet brings forward unparalleled glitz, with A-listers donning their best formal gowns and tuxedos. Turns out, such fabulous fashions are required: A strict cocktail or black-tie dress code is always implemented, and this extends right down to the shoes (according to the official Cannes website, “elegant shoes, without or without heels, are required. Trainers are forbidden.”)

Much has been said about the festivals footwear requirements in the past. Though it now encapsulates elegant flats, there was a time when women could only wear heeled stilettos to the affair—a mandate that many have viewed as sexist and archaic. The outdated approach that has caused many celebrities in attendance to make statement about it. Remember when Kristen Stewart boldly removed her Christian Louboutin pumps on the carpet? “I feel like you can’t ask people that any more,” Stewart said in 2017. “If you’re not asking guys to wear heels and a dress, you cannot ask me either.” Julia Roberts went barefoot back in 2016, while last year, Jennifer Lawrence made waves when she paired her Dior couture gown with a pair of black flip-flops. (Lawrence later said she didn’t know she was breaking protocol; “I had no clue. My shoes were a size too big.”)

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Greta Gerwig in Margiela

Photo: Getty Images

This year, it seems stars are continuing to subvert the stilettos rule. Though they can wear flats, celebrities such as Lily Gladstone and Greta Gerwig chose to wear heels yesterday—but the most unconventional heels possible. Stepping out for a photo call, Gerwig wore a full look by Maison Margiela that included a pair of white Tabi pumps; you know the ones—the polarizing shoes that resemble hooves. The wacky style certainly isn’t your standard Cannes heel. Similarly, Gladstone hit the step and repeat in a pair of staggering Gucci platform pumps. Sure, they’re still sky-high, but the hefty, clunky silhouette read as way more modern and current than a pin-thin heel.

Image may contain Lily Gladstone Person Accessories Belt Camera Electronics Adult Clothing Hat and Footwear

Lily Gladstone in Gucci

Photo: Getty Images

Image may contain Jane Fonda Clothing Footwear Shoe Adult Person Electronics Camera Glove Accessories and Glasses

Jane Fonda in Margaux flats

Photo: Getty Images

Yesterday, Jane Fonda also hit the red carpet in a pair of metallic Mary Jane flats by Margaux—yes, flats! All this is to say, after years of seeing your favorite stars teeter around in skyscraper stilettos, it seems that dated heels-only rule at Cannes is officially out. And, well, it’s about time! Now, the question is: What wonderfully-bizarre footwear will we see at Cannes next? Balenciaga’s pantaboots? Alaia’s mesh flats? Bring them on, baby!

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