Royal Flashback: The Cannes Film Festival

This is the story of a dress and it begins with Grace Kelly. Back in 1955, she starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief.  The movie took place in Cannes and, in one of her first scenes, Grace wears this gorgeous chiffon gown designed by Edith Head. With tonal shades of blue, a fitted bodice, and a chiffon scarf that drapes just so, can we agree this dress is a total knockout?

[The Blond at the Film]
[The Blonde at the Film]
It helped to define Grace’s fashion icon status and in 1982 came out of storage to be modeled for a portrait session (one of the spaghetti straps has been tucked away).

More recently, the dress and matching clutch bag were also recreated for Barbie herself.


When Princess Diana planned to attend the 1987 Cannes Film Festival, she asked Catherine Walker to design the perfect dress for the occasion. They decided to use Grace’s costume as inspiration and ended up with this icy blue gown.

It has a fitted bodice, floaty skirt and matching scarf to finish the look. Instead of wearing the scarf draped over her shoulders, Diana wore it around her neck and tied it low in the back. She also accessorized with a bracelet pushed up her right forearm exactly like the model above. I think it’s safe to say that wasn’t a coincidence.

During the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, Prince Albert’s then-fiancee Charlene Wittstock attended the Amfar Gala in her own icy blue adaptation of this dress.

The dress is by Armani Privé and I love how the off-the-shoulder chiffon is fastened at center back and flows down into the train. The delicate crystals are Swarovski.

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This brings us to the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. I know she’s not royalty, but when Amal Clooney showed up in this stunning Versace chiffon gown, I immediately thought of the To Catch a Thief costume. Amal’s dress is obviously not blue, but I love this shade of yellow and how there is such an ethereal feeling to it.

And the train really takes the cake.


One more style note before we leave. In 1987, Diana arrived to a festival event wearing this black and white bubble skirted dress and white jacket. She must have felt it was super chic to bring it to Cannes.

Now check out what Amal showed up in when she arrived at her hotel for the festival.

What we have there is a black and white bubble skirt with a white jacket-style sweater.  As Lainey would say, coincidence or conspiracy?


P.S. During the Cannes film festival in 1955, Grace Kelly met Prince Rainier for the first time wearing her ‘dreaded taffeta dress.’ The meeting took place in Monaco, and the next time she was in the principality it was for her wedding.
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