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Is the Jenna Lyons Aesthetic Infiltrating Cannes?

Jenna Lyons didn’t make it to Cannes, but her black-tie aesthetic did. Or at least that’s what popped into my head while I consumed six “Best Of” red-carpet roundups in succession. Sure, there have been plenty of standard-fare princess gowns with ubiquitous sweetheart necklines, but, among the typical red-carpet garb, numerous acts of black-tie rebellion are afoot — which just so happens to be the aforementioned Ms. Lyons’ calling card. Has her legendary penchant for challenging red-carpet norms with fully fun additions à la denim jackets, cargo vests, puffy ballet skirts and button-down shirts finally trickled upward to the ranks of Hollywood’s elite? Let’s break down the evidence.

First and foremost: black-tie sunglasses. Leandra flagged this trend as soon as Susan Sarandon emerged wearing Gentle Monsters atop her green velvet-clad gown last week, looking very much like 2017’s answer to Scarlet O’Hara’s curtain ensemble, followed by another outfit featuring a white button down and black leather skirt. After seeing the first image, I vowed to start lathering sunscreen on my décolletage every morning, for surely that is why Susan Sarandon’s 70-year-old cleavage looks like that. I’ll report back in 45 years.

Rihanna jumped on board shortly thereafter, taking black-tie sunglasses to THE NEXT LEVEL with a teeny-tiny pair I’m sure many a cyborg would enjoy. If only it had occurred to me earlier in life that a pair of wonderfully weird shades could singlehandedly rescue a black-tie dress from excessive girliness, I would have saved a lot of time and a lot of black eyeliner over the course of my robust partying career.

Apparently sequins work a similar magic upon ruffles, because Nicole Kidman’s Rodarte number was distinctly feminine without losing its edgy sheen of disco-ball cool. She looked like a Victorian cello player dipped in glitter. Magnifique.

Which brings me to the leather jackets, another shining member of the resistance. Elizabeth Moss wore one over a tank top and tulle ballet skirt. I swear she’s been reading Man Repeller, because that combo was lifted directly from Look #2 in Leandra’s wedding do-over style story. Either that or great noodles think alike.

Roger that for Uma Thurman, who layered her leather jacket over a black tee and satin trumpet skirt — with pockets, naturally.

Oh also, remember when Amelia made the very astute observation that celebrities tend to ruin their red carpet dresses with boring shoes? I’m simultaneously regretful and delighted to announce that the celebrities at Cannes are stomping upon her thesis with toes clad in decidedly not boring, but actually very possibly *cool,* footwear. See: Elsa Muse’s Cinderella-esque Miu Mius, Amber Valletta’s chain-adorned sandals, Aymeline Valade’s brogues and Jeanne Balibar’s purposefully mismatched block heels.

Speaking of Aymeline Valede and Jeanne Balibar, these two actresses (who both happen to be French, surprise surprise) debuted some of the best red-carpet rebel garb I’ve ever had the pleasure of digesting: suits! But not the regular kind. Theirs were teal and cream, the latter with oversize puff shoulders to boot.

There’s no doubt about it: the Cannes red carpet feels different this season. There’s a true whiff of “you do you” in the riviera air. Maybe it’s the Jenna Lyons black-tie effect, or maybe it’s a mutiny spurred by the seemingly widespread consensus that the Met Gala red carpet could have benefitted from more abundant risk taking. All I know is that Kendall Jenner wore belted denim jorts with a trailing, black taffeta one-shoulder crop top, and I need to talk about it. Meet me in the comments.

Photo by Venturelli/WireImage via Getty Images. 

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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