Cannes Film Festival is all about glitz, glamour and sophistication tinged with intellect - the perfect setting to be seen in the best, among the best of people and brands, like Chopard and de Grisogono...
By: Arundhati De
Posted on: June 10, 2011
As I carefully packed my suitcase before my trip, I looked at every item very critically before putting it in. Flying cattle class for the Cannes Film Festival isn’t so cool with a meagre 20 kg luggage allowance, given that normal wear in Cannes is the current season’s prêt-a-porter collections, fresh from Paris and Milan! I quickly weighed the saris I so wanted to take with me. Ahh, 100 gm a pop, not too bad. I would dress them up with Indian baubles. Givenchy could wait till next year.
So in a sentence, yes, the Cannes Film Festival is 10 days of high-voltage glamour. People come dressed to impress. Even the TV Crew or the regular Joe, who comes to the Croisette to watch one of the movie screenings, must be appropriately dressed. Men must be in Black Tie (The Smoking was the preferred outfit) and ladies painfully endure slinky heels and even slinkier dresses, all in the name of fashion.
I swished into the city late on May 11 and quickly scrambled into something little more festive than my travelling attire and rushed to the Croisette to catch some of the action. The festival was opening with the screening of Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ as I strutted in what I thought was appropriate for the ocassion, only to see throngs of people in their slickest best, clambering all over the Croisette, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite celebrities sashaying down the red carpet. “To hell with it” - I thought – “I am here now and nobody knows me, no pap’s looking my way”. I poked myself into a neat little vantage point and watched as Woody Allen and friends made their way to the dinner marquee. Ahh, I spotted our very own Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, looking sublime in Elie Saab and Chopard jewels. I couldn’t help but shout out, “Ash, I love you!”. And you know what? She turned towards me, gave her characteristic wave and sent a flying kiss my way. Oh, I was in sheer bliss. “Welcome to Cannes”, I thought to myself. It was only going to get bigger and better from here…and in deed it did.
Before I go on, one must understand that despite the heavy-duty drama and glamour of the festival, it is not a holiday. Quite the contrary actually. Almost every one at the festival has a mission in mind. It is a lot of schmoozing, networking and foo-faa-ing. You spend the day either watching movies and quickly getting back to the press room to file your piece, or you are spending Nespresso over Nespresso with possible financiers to float your feature in the ‘marché des films’ (film market where individuals have stalls to get funds or distributors). Adding to that, there is a fashion shoot or photo call or press conference in every nook and corner of the city. If that isn’t enough, you need to work your way to get a pass for the much-coveted red carpet screenings that take place at 7pm every evening. Maximum energy goes into getting into one of the high-fly celebrity glittering soirées each evening.
This year, like every year, there were parties, parties and some more parties. Before I got here, a good friend who had been to the festival a few years ago had given me a low-down on the ‘hierarchy’ of the parties at Cannes. At the lowest rung, were the pavilion parties where any one with a badge could get into and grab a plastic cup and enjoy the festivities. Higher up are the parties thrown by production homes to celebrate the launch of a new feature. This requires an invitation, but tipping the bouncer with 10 Euros is sufficient to get in. Edging up were parties thrown by the jet-set for their ‘closest friends’. Here it gets sticky. Finding your way in deed needs an invitation or guest listing, unless you are a drop-dead gorgeous group of ladies with ample of confidence and charm!
Finally, at the top of the pyramid are the parties thrown by exclusive luxury brands or by a world-famous celebrity at the most fabulous locations. Getting into these is almost airtight if you didn’t have your invitation. Invites are strictly non-transferable as well. I got lucky and made my way for two of the most glittering evenings thrown by two of the most dazzling jewellers who had dressed up the most illustrious personalities on the red carpet.
My Monday night entertainment was a performance by the delectable girls from Crazy Horse can-canning and tantalizing the imagination of all those present at Chopard’s party, titled ‘Happy diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’. The mood was burlesque and the décor was inspired by the wild world of the red light district in Paris during the roaring 1950s. The dramatic passage leading to the main hall was filled with huge photo frames and had models dressed in breathtaking jewels of this year’s Red Carpet Haute Joaillerie collection. The black and pink décor continued in the dimly lit, velvet draped ballroom. Guests included Jury members Uma Thurman and Jude Law, actress Jane Fonda, Julia Saner, Bar Rafaeli, Sonam Kapoor and Zhang Zilin - all in Chopard - as well as Naomi Campbell, Jo Jackson and Kenneth Cole to name a few. In keeping with the colour code, guests chose between pink Boizel champagne and cocktails created especially for Chopard by Grey Goose. While conversation dazzled as much as precious baubles, renowned deejay, Bob Sinclair, popped on to the stage to ensure that the decadence continued till the wee hours of morning.
Still reeling from that, I was whisked away from busy Cannes to the picturesque Antibes on Tuesday evening. In its true unimitable style, de Grisogono celebrated a decade at Cannes with an evening to remember! For its 10th soirée at the Eden Roc, de Grisogono set Cap d’Antibes on fire with a ‘Gypsy Glam’ themed evening. Three hundred handpicked guests from all over the world shared this moment with Mr Fawaz Gruosi. Among these happy few were the stunning Bianca Balti, Goldie Hawn, Karolina Kurkova, Rob Lowe, Boris Becker, Emmanuel de Savoie and his wife Clotilde Coureau, along with Quincy Jones – all longstanding and faithful friends of the brand.
The high-profile guests made their way through the red carpet, lined with huge flaming torches, and were welcomed into the main party area with the music and clapping of Gypsy musicians that had everyone on their toes. The evening demanded glamour and the guests were, of course, suitably dressed in an incredible array of gowns and unbelievable jewellery. Guests seated for dinner after a burst of dazzling fireworks. With a crisp Mediterranean wind bringing down the temperature, the ladies were given shawls made out of silver foil to keep warm. The dinner ended to the thumping beats of the deejay that got the stage heated up for the next round of entertainment – The Black Eyed Peas! As if things couldn’t get any better, Leonardo de Caprio made a surprise entry at 3 am! The party went on till sunrise with guests sipping the last of their Rosé, ending a historic night at the Cote d’Azur…
Both Chopard and de Grisogono are inextricably linked to the festival. Both the brands were the jewellers of choice for top celebrities on the red carpet. For Chopard, this festival is personal since Caroline-Gruosi Scheufele loves cinema and this association is very significant for her as she seeks inspiration from it. This is the 14th year that Chopard has designed the Palme d’Or. For de Grisogono, again it’s an extension of the brand’s universe, which is about glamour and creativity. This year was especially special for them as it marked a decade partnering with this prestigious festival.
As I look back at the time I had, I only think, “Wow!”. I was there and I survived. Can’t wait to do it again. Next time it will be me shining on the red carpet!