Julianne Moore’s Secret To Cannes Opulence: Change In Your Pocket

julianne moore opening ceremony red carpet the 75th annual cannes film festival

Stefania D’AlessandroGetty Images

What is it about the Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped its 75th year this past weekend, that inspires some of the most unabashedly glamorous, breathtaking fashion?

For Kate Young, who styles Julianne Moore as well as a number of Cannes regulars like Michelle Williams and Sienna Miller, it’s the only red carpet “that is really photogenic,” she said in a phone call last week. The ocean light gives everyone a pure, rich glow. The length and width mean the carpet itself is vast, so that stars are usually photographed walking, rather than static. (“Step and repeats are the worst,” she said, adding that the angle at which we’re used to seeing clothing photographed for premieres and award shows is “the most unflattering way to photograph a dress or a woman. Clothes look better walking .””) The photographers are often positioned on a raised platform, so that actors are captured from above, creating a sense that the paparazzi are gawking down from a heavenly perch.

In short, it is one of the only red carpets expansive enough to accommodate some of the world’s biggest and most opulent dresses. And one of the only events, really, whose premise fits the occasion of these gowns. The scope of its programming accommodates both monolith blockbusters like top gun and indies like Jesse Eisenberg’s directorial debut, When You Finish Saving the World, which stars Moore as a mother running a shelter for domestic violence victims while also parenting a teenage son. Cannes encompasses both the Hollywood machine operating at its zenith and the smaller films that give the industry artistic credibility. Actors, Young added, “are usually super proud of [the film] if they’re at Cannes.” They tend to feel joyful, celebratory. And all these kinds of films demand a standard of beauty, an aesthetic decorum enforced by its no-flats, no-denim dress code. (Which stars like Kristen Stewart occasionally flout, becoming all the more alluring in the process.) The result is a glamor that defies decadence, basking solely in aesthetic wonder.

Take a look at the silk twill Bottega Veneta dress in which Young Moore dressed for the festival’s opening ceremony. Young, who often creates custom looks for her clients that remix themes from designer’s recent runway shows, borrowed the twisted knot shoulder detail from the Fall 2022 collection. The rest of the dress is a satin ballet of weight and movement: the darted, fitted bodice meets a peaked skirt in a gentle u-shape. A horsehair crinoline was built into the skirt, and the hem, too, is weighted, to create the gentle sway of the silhouette. To keep the skirt sitting just so, Young slipped coins into the pockets.

us actress julianne moore arrives ahead of the opening ceremony of the 75th edition of the cannes film festival in cannes, southern france, on may 17, 2022 the 75th edition of the cannes film festival kicked off here on tuesday photo by gao jingxinhua via getty images

Julianne Moore in a silk twill Bottega Veneta dress, with a weighted hem and coins in her pockets.

Xinhua News Agency

cannes, france may 18 julianne moore attends the photocall of when you finish saving the world during the 75th annual cannes film festival at lespace miramar on may 18, 2022 in cannes, france photo by jacopo raulefilmmagic

Julianne Moore in a leather look from Matthieu Blazy’s debut collection.

Jacopo Raul

Young is a devotee of Matthieu Blazy’s “new-new” Bottega; Uma Thurman’s stridently chic black skirt and white button-up, for this year’s Academy Awards, was also a Bottega special. Blazy took the helm last fall, after the unexpected departure of Daniel Lee, and his first collection debuted at Milan Fashion Week in February. Young first met Blazy when he worked with Raf Simons, a mentor, at Calvin Klein.

“For a certain kind of woman—a more serious woman—finding ways to do minimal, modern evening is kind of tricky,” Young said. With Blazy’s Bottega, “I can see the evening in it. Because the quality and craft is there.”

For the film’s premiere, she dressed Moore in a chocolate leather cocktail dress with fringy pompom sleeves, also from Blazy’s debut collection for the house. For another press event, an interview with Eisenberg, she wore the already infamous trompe l’oeil pants that look like distressed jeans but are, in fact, leather. “We all just thought they were cool,” Young mused. “And I also thought it was funny, you know: you’re not allowed to wear flats in Cannes, you’re not allowed to wear denim in Cannes. So the idea that she would have the appearance of wearing a very casual look that in fact wasn’t was kind of funny to me.”

los angeles, usa march 27, 2022 uma thurman arrives on the red carpet outside the dolby theater for the 94th academy awards in los angeles, usa photo credit should read p lehmanfuture publishing via getty images

Uma Thurman, wearing the first edition of her Bottega Veneta Oscars look.

Future Publishing

cannes, france may 27 michelle williams attends the screening of showing up during the 75th annual cannes film festival at palais des festivals on may 27, 2022 in cannes, france photo by samir husseinwireimage

Michelle Williams at Cannes in a couture dress from Chanel’s Spring 2022 collection.

Samir Hussein

Later that week, Young flew to the festival to dress Michelle Williams, also in town to fete a smaller American film, Show Up, in which she plays a sculptor in the midst of a new exhibition and which marks her fourth collaboration with director Kelly Reichardt. The actor, who is pregnant with her third child, wore Chanel exclusively, including a white floral dress from the Spring 2022 couture collection with white and black floral appliques and a scalloped wrap front. Very ’60s opulent. For custom looks, especially for an event at the scale of Cannes, Young will do three fittings, and take hundreds of photos and videos. Her methodical approach often inspires romantic, intimate gestures of style, like Moore’s spare change; for Thurman’s Oscar look, Young had a replica made so that the actor could change backstage and appear onstage to present an award, looking impossibly fresh. She had the idea while reading Marian Fowler’s The Way She Looks Tonightwhich detailed how Empress Eugenie of France did the same for her extravagant balls.

Her final tip for Cannes glamor? “Weird undergarments,” she said. “I would rather build something,” she added, “than constrict.”

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