According to the Cannes festival’s dress code, men are expected to be dressed in black tie with black shoes and women must be elegantly dressed but there doesn’t seem to be an explicit rule for their footwear. Last year, however, the festival came under fire after a group of women were turned away from a red carpet screening for allegedly not wearing high heels. Some of them were apparently suffering from a medical condition and couldn’t even wear high-heeled shoes, but this didn’t stop the staff from denying them the access to the premiere of Todd Haynes’s Carol. The story led to a backlash against what was immediately perceived by many as a sexist dress code rule.
“Everyone should wear flats, to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels,” said actress Emily Blunt when she was asked about the controversy. “That’s very disappointing, just when you kind of think there are these new waves of equality.”
One year later, two other actresses are protesting the festival’s alleged footwear policy. During an interview for Indiewire, Kristen Stewart criticised the festival’s fashion etiquette.
“Things have to change immediately,” said the star of the new Woody Allen’s movie Café Society. “It has become really obvious that if [a man and I] were walking the red carpet together and someone stopped me and said, ‘Excuse me, young lady, you’re not wearing heels. You cannot come in.’ Then [I’m going to say], ‘Neither is my friend. Does he have to wear heels?’ It can work both ways. It’s just like you simply cannot ask me to do something that you are not asking him. I get the black-tie thing but you should be able to do either version—flats or heels.”
Julia Roberts also made the headlines on Thursday for stepping onto the red carpet at the premiere of her new movie Money Monster completely barefoot.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know that these kind of events are very glamorous, but I’m on Emily, Kristen and Julia’s side on this one. Red carpets are basically fashion shows and I guess you’ll always find the dumb journalist who’s gonna ask you “What are you wearing?” and eventually end up on one of those “10 best/worst dressed” lists but to take away a woman’s choice on what to wear is just too much. We’re here to celebrate cinema and award talent, not shoes.