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Cannes Film Festival wardrobe


The story behind Jessica Chastain's exquisite Cannes Film Festival wardrobe

Cannes Film Festival came to an end on Sunday evening, and with it ten days of dazzling glamour. While a plethora of actresses and supermodels, from Bella Hadid to Diane Kruger and Nicole Kidman, took their turns on La Croisette's famous red carpet throughout the festival, there was one consistently best-dressed star who, by virtue of her place on the jury, was a constant elegant presence at the premieres, photo calls and parties which punctuate the event.

It may come as something of a surprise then to learn that for Jessica Chastain and her stylist Elizabeth Stewart, the fashion element of jury duty was first and foremost a pragmatic exercise in putting together a wardrobe which would make getting dressed the one effortless element amongst her tightly-packed juror's schedule.

After all, as Chastain said in her powerful closing remarks on Sunday (in which she spoke out about the 'disturbing' representation of women in the festival's entries), she had to watch 20 films in 10 days besides attending all those engagements.

"She was very concerned with her jury duties so our thoughts were mostly practical," Stewart, who has worked with Chastain for the past six years, explains. "Mostly it was about making getting dressed as easy as possible so as not to distract from the jury responsibilities."

Of course, an A-list actress's version of 'easy' is somewhat exceptional. Stewart began to commission custom gowns around a month before proceedings kicked off, turning in large part to designers with whom Chastain already had a long-running and close relationship. "It makes fittings go more smoothly," says Stewart.

Her first red carpet look of the festival, a delicately floral and bird embroidered black column dress by Alexander McQueenn, was the result of one such collaboration. "We have a very long history with Sarah," says Stewart of the label's creative director, Sarah Burton. "She made Jessica’s first Oscar dress. She just understands Jessica’s vibe completely." In fact, there were parallels between that first McQueen dress in 2012 and the Cannes creation- the embroidery against an elegantly simple black dress which looked immaculate with Chastain's red hair and porcelain complexion.

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