Cannes Film Festival and luxury brands: a glamorous marriage with multiple challenges

For the luxury goods industry, the Cannes Film Festival is crucial, marking a convergence between cinematic glamour and the prestige of the great Houses. For decades, this event has become a podium where stars transcend their roles to become style icons. This phenomenon has been intensified by the rise of luxury goods and the power of social networking.


As the Cannes Film Festival rolls out its red carpet from tomorrow, May 14, until May 25, 2024, organizers and the entire 7th art world are fearing the worst. On Monday, a group of film workers called for a strike “involving all employees of the Cannes Film Festival and its parallel sections”, with the aim of “disrupting” them, just one week before the opening of the world’s biggest film festival. The collective, called “Sous les écrans la dèche”, organized a general meeting of some 50 members to vote in favor of the strike, according to one of its spokeswomen.


And that’s not all. The festival and the film industry fear the disclosure of a list containing the names of ten high-profile French actors, directors and producers implicated in affairs denounced by the #MeToo movement. The list, which is already circulating, could be linked to an investigation by Mediapart.


However, the team behind Artus‘ film “Un p’tit truc en plus”, which is enjoying great success in cinemas, were preoccupied with a different issue. Invited to walk the steps, she was shunned by the luxury clothing brands that usually dress the stars for special occasions. “It’s always more elegant for a brand to dress Brad Pitt”, said the director, pointing out that the film’s cast is made up of “11 actors with disabilities” and “4 classic actors, boring we’ll say”.


A sensitive point, since the Cannes Film Festival, in addition to being a major event for world cinema, is also a major event for the fashion industry. It creates a symbiosis between cinematic glamour and the prestige of the great luxury Houses. Over the decades, this relationship has intensified, transforming the red carpet into an open-air haute couture showcase for the world’s leading brands.




Since its beginnings in the 1950s, the Cannes Film Festival has been the playground where movie stars have transcended their acting roles to become style icons. This phenomenon of “celebrity endorsement”, whereby a celebrity carries the image of a brand for the duration of an advertisement or event, is not new. Brigitte Bardot, photographed in a bikini in 1953, made history by launching the two-piece swimsuit craze.


In the 1990s, with the luxury goods industry booming and the celebrity phenomenon in full swing, fashion brands sought to shine off the catwalk by taking part in fashionable parties. On red carpets, celebrities and glamorous members of the royal families, notably Lady Di, have replaced supermodels, those celebrated professional models.


At the 69th Oscars in 1997, Nicole Kidman appeared in a spectacular chartreuse gown signed Christian Dior by John Galliano. Tom Cruise, who accompanied her that evening and was hoping to win the Best Actor statuette for his role in Jerry Maguire, was relegated to the background. The eyes of the world were on Nicole and what would become, according to fashion critics, “the dress that changed the history of the red carpet”, now immortalized on a Wikipedia page.



Since then, the general public has been clamoring for more. Actresses such as Monica Bellucci and Diane Kruger, transforming themselves into fashion ambassadors, have found Cannes a launching pad for their film careers.


“In the collective unconscious, media events such as the Oscars and Cannes are linked to the red carpet and the celebrities who walk it,” says Daphnée Burbach-Weiss, founder of D.B.W Agency, which specializes in image and communications. “An actress on a red carpet will always work, it will always make people dream.”


Maximum visibility


The Cannes red carpet has become the ultimate catwalk, where every outfit is scrutinized, admired and sometimes reproduced the world over. The media cover the event with an intensity often surpassing that of the Olympic Games.


Over the years, and with the growth of the luxury goods sector, film events have become strategic appointments for an industry constantly seeking visibility and innovation. Brands set up specialized VIP or “talent” teams, develop their networks with agents and seek to identify young artists with high potential.


“Dressing up or adorning a star during a festival, and promoting him or her on social networks, is part of this soft influence phenomenon, by which brands seek to show off and convince the general public without using the classic advertising springboard,” explains Nathalie Fleck, professor of marketing at Paris-Dauphine-PSL University.


With the advent of social networks, this influence has increased tenfold. Brands are deploying sophisticated digital strategies to capitalize on their presence at Cannes in real time. Instant publications give brands immediate global exposure, turning every appearance on the red carpet into a viral event.


“Red carpets have always been a communications lever for brands, but Instagram and Tik Tok have amplified the phenomenon spectacularly,” confirms Daphnée Burbach-Weiss. “The stakes have changed; everyone now has the opportunity to share, repost and, above all, give their opinion.”


Close collaboration


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Featured photo : © Press

Picture of Hugues Reydellet
Hugues Reydellet
Hugues Reydellet is a young and passionate journalist whose favorite subjects are economy, culture, gastronomy, but also cars, and sports. With a sharp pen and an insatiable curiosity, Hugues is constantly on the lookout for new hot information to report.

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