Elle Fanning in from left to right: Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Gucci

let’s take a moment to appreciate elle fanning’s red carpet style at cannes

The actress isn’t just the youngest juror in the history of Cannes, she’s also the festival's most fashionable.

by Liam Hess
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24 May 2019, 10:40pm

Elle Fanning in from left to right: Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Gucci

We all remember the first time we saw the Fanning sisters on-screen: whether it was a young, wide-eyed Dakota in I Am Sam (which earned her a SAG nomination at just eight years old) or Elle in the movie that launched her as Hollywood’s latest indie darling -- Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. From the moment they lit up our screens, it was instantly clear they were major future talents within the world of cinema.

What we couldn’t predict, however, was that they would also end up as some of Hollywood’s most playful style icons. Dakota has starred in campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Elle is a muse for Miuccia Prada and the Mulleavy sisters at Rodarte. Just a few weeks ago, Elle delivered a delightfully naff (but appropriately camp) look to the Met Gala, with an I Dream Of Jeannie-inspired high pony and pink Miu Miu separates, along with nails hanging with charms of french fries and toothpaste tubes. Tasty.

She’s showing no sign of stopping. Currently attending the Cannes Film Festival as the youngest member of the jury ever, Elle has been walking the legendary Croisette red carpet in some of her most outrageous looks. All we can say is: Elle, you’re doing amazing, sweetie.

The first whispers I heard of Elle’s iconic parade of high, high fashion came via a report by Variety on Tuesday, noting that she had passed out a party in a Prada number with a corset that was fitted too tight, prompting Colin Firth to come to her rescue after she fell off her chair and Marion Cotillard to gasp and clutch her heart. Elle followed up later that evening with an Instagram post reading: “Oops, had a fainting spell in my 50s Prada prom dress but it’s all good!” Which is all very relatable.

Some have waded in to say that it’s ridiculous for a woman in 2019 to be forced to wear a corset that tight. But all the same, there’s something about it all that is also low-key iconic in its OTT, old-school fabulousness. Also, it feels strangely appropriate for Elle’s particular brand of chirrupy, classic cuteness: you could easily imagine her as the cheeky younger sibling in a Jane Austen novel, or a long-lost Mitford sister. Fainting for the cause of fashion foreshadowed the fact that Elle had some major style moments up her sleeve for the rest of the week.

Following this, I dug a little deeper, discovering pictures of her arriving at Nice airport in an outrageously chic cream suit accessorised with a dinky red quilted fanny pack. It’s the kind of look that screams “I only fly first class” before it steps on your neck. Imagine any of us peasants in economy trying to get through a long-haul flight in that number without spilling our microwaved plane food down it. There have been further glorious off-duty looks from Elle throughout the week: a frilly sheer number by London designer Ryan Lo, or the effortless granny chic Prada two-piece with strappy heels and geeky glasses she wore to a press call on Wednesday (Cath Kidston, but make it fashion).

But most extraordinary have been the plentiful moments of red carpet high glamour. While it wasn’t the look that would later break Twitter, her opening night Gucci number made it instantly clear that Elle wasn’t pulling any punches. Showing up in a billowing peach-coloured Gucci gown with an embroidered purple pansy, it was the first of many characters she would be inhabiting across the week.

We’re feeling the fantasy, and her wardrobe is giving us the following: a 50s American débutante marries into a snobby British aristocratic family, before divorcing her husband in a fit of fury after discovering his philandering. She promptly embarks on a tour around Europe for the social season, making sure her ever-more fabulous outfits end up in the pages of her evil mother-in-law’s favourite magazine as a two-fingers up. She picks up smoking but only with a long, slender cigarette holder, and has a harem of young men across all the European capitals at her beck and call. We could go on.

But now, it’s time for the pièce de resistance. At last night's premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, a lone figure in a Dior bar skirt began walking up the red carpet, head tilted to obscure her face in a wide-brimmed, black straw hat. “Who could it be?” They whispered.

With a turn of the neck, all was revealed. It was Elle, but then of course it was. Within a matter of minutes, Elle didn’t just set Twitter on fire, she began stomping on its ashes. “Rob me please,” wrote one Twitter user. “THANK YOU FOR SHOWING UP AT THIS LEVEL,” wrote another. “Give the Palme d’Or to Elle Fanning’s stylist,” wrote a third. We quite agree.

And while it might have been the cherry on the cake of Elle’s style odyssey this Cannes so far, don’t forget there are still two days left! So stay tuned for updates, and put down whatever fashion magazine you’re currently reading. Elle -- the Fanning variety, of course -- is your new style bible and frankly, we couldn’t be more proud.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.