CANNES — Led by Julianne Moore, star of the thriller "Blindness," which kicks off the Cannes International Film Festival today, a formidable cast of leading ladies is expected to mount the event's fabled red steps over the coming days — all in need of a frock.
And fashion designers are equally eager to dress the stars, many of them already attached to brands. These include Cate Blanchett, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Christina Ricci, Penélope Cruz and Ziyi Zhang, as well as jury member Natalie Portman, who is said to have been directing a self-penned short film for the "New York, I Love You" anthology right up to boarding the plane for the festival.
Giorgio Armani has lots of big fish in his net already, having announced that he will dress Blanchett, Sean Penn, Harrison Ford, Joaquin Phoenix and Aishwarya Rai during the festival.
Roberto Cavalli, who wrangled 70 dresses onto stars during last year's festival, has added an extra suite to his showroom at the Hotel Martinez, equipped with three seamstresses and stocking around 150 gowns. Jimmy Choo, also situated in the hotel, will offer around-the-clock hand-dyeing and heel-altering services. Swarovski will have a customized dyeing service for the first time for three of its Red Carpet clutches.
Rumor has it Louis Vuitton will dress Mélanie Laurent for the opening of her first directorial effort, "De Moins en Moins" ("Less and Less"). At age 25, Laurent is one of the youngest directors to have been nominated for the festival's short film section. Ziyi and Adrien Brody are also likely to be dressed by Vuitton during the festival, according to a source.
Linda Evangelista, Eva Herzigova and Milla Jovovich are also expected to roll into town, while speculation is that Bar Refaeli will don the mega-expensive bejeweled gown created by Chopard's Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele and designer Alberta Ferretti at the festival's opening night ceremony, followed by an after party where Juliette Lewis will be manning the decks. The gown will later be auctioned at the amfAR gala, whose after party will be hosted by Fendi. The Roman fashion house is also reprising its "Fendi O" private club at Jimmy'z for the two-week festival.