Cannes's Top Red Carpet Trend? Leaving Your Steamer at Home

After dozens of red carpet premieres, exclusive afterparties, and ritzy galas, the 2024 Cannes Film Festival left us with one lingering question: Did the picturesque beach town suddenly run into a shortage of steamers?

Over the course of the past two weeks, the festival’s step and repeat saw a handful of notable trends: from the celebrity favorite naked dresses to angelic bridal whites. But one particular trend, the quirky crinkle dress, stood out from the pack. Whether posing during photo calls or out on the red carpet, stars seemed on a mission to prove that looking like their dress was plucked out of a crumpled-up garment bag was no big deal at all.

Now, stylists, don’t get mad: yes, these dresses are intentionally designed to look this way. And, more often than not, they created rather interesting silhouettes. Diane Kruger led the pack at Cannes, starting off her experimentation during The Shrouds photo call in a powder gray Jason Wu Collection number. The German actress followed that moment up just a few days later for the amfAR Gala where she wore a citrus green Prada look designed out of the most perfectly crinkled fabric.

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Of course, Cannes guests treated the textured textile to a hefty dose of metallic sparkle. Kinds of Kindness star Emma Stone dazzled during the premiere of her latest film in a custom Louis Vuitton gown. While her dress’s plunging neckline seemed to be the focus here, her skirt’s frilled sequins continued the festival’s embrace of unexpected, coarse finishes.

Supermodel Sasha Pivovarova followed Stone’s cue in a crinkled Prada disco ball dress of her own and, to a much lesser extent, so did Cate Blanchett. The latter’s red carpet gown, also custom Louis Vuitton, while not fully crinkled was made special by some flouncy draping.

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The crinkle phenomenon isn’t entirely new to the red carpet. During this year’s Met Gala, Michelle Yeoh stepped out in an aluminum foil Balenciaga gown. Speaking of Balenciaga, Greta Gerwig wore a similarly crumpled dress—in Barbie pink, of course—from the brand’s fall 2022 couture collection during the L’Amour Ouf red carpet.

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So, isn’t crinkly fabric just a fancy way of describing a type of pleated fabric? Well, yes and no. There were plenty of pleated numbers this year, with notable examples on Uma Thurman (who wore a Grecian number to a Kering event) and Lily Gladstone (whose Markarian look was accented by a crinkled pouff skirt). But, while pleats remained commonplace throughout the festival, there were plenty of new crinkly experimentations, too.

Perhaps, among other things, the greatest lesson gleaned from the 2024 Cannes Film Festival red carpet is that leaving your steamer at home shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

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