Cannes: All for the Photo Op

Before the 58th edition of Cannes winds up on Sunday, firms will have invested millions to coddle and wrangle stars into their wares.

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Kelly Reilly, to whom Chopard awarded its annual trophy as most promising female talent, confessed she's more comfortable in "cutoff jeans and a T-shirt. I like to feel myself." Reilly didn't work with a stylist in Cannes, but had no shortage of direct offers. To accept her prize, she wore a vintage Versace couture dress worlds away from her preferred mode of dress.

Vintage, in fact, turned out to be a major trend at this year's festival, with Natalie Portman donning vintage Chanel couture; Charlotte Rampling, a vintage Yohji Yamamoto, and Sharon Stone shrugging on a lightweight mink bolero from the early Eighties that will be similar to one she will wear — and presumably doff — in the forthcoming "Basic Instinct 2." Other golden-oldie moments included Michelle Monaghan in a two-year-old Elie Saab couture gown and Mischa Barton in a vintage Roberto Cavalli beaded tunic, which she wore over white jeans.

Still, fashion continues to rate as only a footnote at Cannes, which has always taken a highbrow approach to the art of filmmaking. Only recently has it embraced the more commercial aspects of the celebrity circus a la the Academy Awards.

Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, credited "the American influence" and presence in Cannes for opening up marketing opportunities for brands like hers, a sponsor for the past eight years. The house threw a party on Sunday for Stone, who is said to have a $250,000 deal with the jeweler (Chopard declined to comment on it). Ironically, the actress showed up at Sunday's party in Bulgari earrings along with her Chopard baubles. Gruosi-Scheufele declined to say how much Chopard spends at Cannes, but said it represents less than 5 percent of its annual communications and promotion budget. Still, it's not small change to be a presenting sponsor, plus take an entire floor of the Majestic Hotel, pay a legion of security guards (who accompany the jewels everywhere) and provide hospitality tables for clients, press and celebrities at the hotel's beachfront restaurant.

Most design houses take just one hotel suite to show their wares, then another for the staff to sleep in. But hotels on the Croisette start at 500 euros, or $630, a night and require an 11-night stay.
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