Blake Lively was up against Naomi Watts in Armani Prive, Susan Sarandon in a cleavage-revealing tuxedo dress, Amal Clooney in sumptuous yellow and Bella Hadid in almost nothing, yet there’s no doubting the pregnant style icon stole the red carpet at the Cannes Festival, capping it off by proudly showing her baby bump in a skin-tight shimmering blue gown.
On screen Lively couldn't have looked more classical as Jesse Eisenberg’s conservative, loving wife in the opening film, Woody Allen’s Café Society. The actress’s real life hubbie Ryan Reynolds was unable to make it to the Riviera Festival, though that’s probably a good thing as Café Society, together with The Shallows (where she staves off a shark near Lord Howe Island), marks her own personal ascent in movies and her time to shine.
Still, I asked her if she could keep up with her husband’s rapid wit that had helped propel Deadpool to become a box office phenomenon.
“Can he keep up with mine?” the feisty one retorted with a smile.
Undoubtedly the queens of the festival acting-wise were Kristen Stewart and French singer-musician-cum-actress Soko, who each had two films in the programme. Interestingly they had been an item for three months though split just before the festival began.
While neither would discuss the relationship, Soko admitted, “I like being part of a generation where everything is gender fluid and nobody cares if they’re with a woman or a man, nobody cares who they love so long as they have feelings.”
Appropriately the 30 year-old Los Angeles resident plays the freewheeling, ground-breaking Loïe Fuller in one of the festival’s best films, The Dancer, where she twirls around creating the most stunning formations with super light fabric amidst a flurry of light. In Cannes, Soko likewise wore fanciful lightweight dresses by Giambattista Valli, Giamba and Gucci which she teamed with large Rochas platform shoes with sock-like uppers creating a kind of style all her own. In her second film, The Stopover, about women in the French military she mostly got to wear a military uniform, something Stewart had also donned in Camp X-Ray.
After her Café Society premiere in Chanel, Stewart went casual in a blue woollen suit (“I don’t know the designer”) for our interview for Personal Shopper where she plays the title character, Maureen.
“A personal shopper is a rare thing," Stewart says. "People have stylists. I’ve worked with the same stylist since I was 12 or 13. A good stylist is able to highlight who you are, to make you feel solid and good. I really like that collaboration. It sounds surface and cliché but actually there’s nothing wrong with really appreciating aesthetics and beauty and I have fun with it.”
The outfits she wears at her premieres match her characters, she notes. “It’s like telling a second part of the story.” In this case Maureen summons the ghost of her dead twin brother, so Stewart wore white.
“Last night I wanted to feel really young, I wanted to feel pure and unguarded,” the 24 year-old says. “I usually don’t wear things that are so ornate, but I like how it made me feel considering how dark the movie is.”
My discovery of the festival? As is often the way with child actors, by the time you meet them to promote their movies they have grown up. This was very much the case with Lily-Rose Depp, who plays Isadora Duncan in The Dancer. But most surprising was up-and-coming Annalise Basso, a 17 year-old American with flaming red hair, alabastar skin and a ballerina’s poise who plays one of Viggo Mortensen’s hippy kids in Captain Fantastic and could be Jessica Chastain’s daughter. In our Cannes interview she looked stunning in a fitting red jersey top and shoes and a flower-patterned denim skirt by Alice + Olivia. She stars in the upcoming Ouija 2 so is well on her way.