One obvious fact about attending an event like the Cannes Film Festival is that it’s impossible to simply plan one outfit or one showstopper dress. You need options!
So, before I left for what I called ‘my 48-hour whirlwind of glam and stress’, otherwise known as the Cannes Film Festival 2021, my team had ensured that more than two dresses were shipped to the hotel we were staying in.
Since everything was now apparently in order, all I had left to do was show up for the event. But of course, things did not go exactly as we’d planned.
My team and I had decided that I would stay in Cannes for only 48 hours. After all, parting ways with your four-month-old baby isn’t the easiest thing to do.
Before we arrived in Cannes, even though we felt as ready as we could be, I ran a gamut of emotions from excitement to pride to nervousness to stress. You name it, I felt it.
However, I swallowed my emotions and on my first day there, I began filming content and more content. This was Cannes after all: a city where even the most ordinary of fashion is couture!
My first look at the event was to be traditional Indian wear, a vibrant lehenga created by Falguni and Shane Peacock. As I filmed other people in their incredible outfits, I hoped and prayed that the dresses we had shipped would have arrived by then. There was no panic, but there was a little nervousness. However, the day proceeded and so did I.
But when I returned to my hotel after a few hours, I learnt that my outfits had still not arrived.
My immediate response was to contact the courier via every possible route: their email, contact number, Instagram and Facebook page. But despite this persistence, there was no sign of my dress. The package, apparently, was lost.
Dress in shining armour
But we had worked out a plan B and now, I thought, was the time to implement it.
Moving on from the lost dress disaster with hope in my heart, I left the hotel to attend a dress fitting and tried on an outfit appropriate for the red carpet. Unfortunately, the dress and I weren’t very compatible. In fact, it was the polar opposite of my style.
However, I was still grateful for its existence. More: I was grateful that it was right there, with me. So, I wouldn’t have to walk down the red carpet in sweatpants, thank heavens!
Just as I was about to get back to the hotel to glam up, I got the opportunity to meet Mohieb Dahabieh, the public relations person and stylist for Tony Ward Couture. As our conversation flowed, I told him about the dress mishap and like an angel sent from above, he remarked that he had a dress for me.
As I sat there, stunned and excited, he pulled out a beautiful Tony Ward dress that I instantly melted for. With one hour on the clock until the red carpet, I tried the dress and… we seemed made for each other!
After a few adjustments and alterations, we were finally ready… or not. Mohieb is a perfectionist and minutes before I left for the event, he had come at me with a needle and thread for a few more adjustments.
Finally, the moment arrived. When I stepped out of the car, I felt as if I was in a Hollywood movie, living the moment in a showstopper of a dress.
I had a red carpet again the next day and the package with my dresses was still missing. I did have a backup dress already in the city, so I wasn’t too worried, but back I went on the line to the courier.
But luck was not by my side. My dress for the night was in Marseilles, two hours away, and the only way I could get it would be to fly it to Cannes by helicopter. Obviously, this was not an option.
Now my backup outfit also vanished – it was to be delivered at the hotel, but the roads were apparently being blocked by police, leading to major delays. My only consolation was the fact that my dress and I were in the same city. But by now I had only half an hour left to dress.
With only 10 minutes left for the event, the dress arrived. There wasn’t even time to feel anxious at this point: I had to slip on the dress at lightning speed and make my way down to the carpet.
When I finally got there, I made the most of my Cinderella moment, this time in a gorgeous dusty blue, Aishwarya Rai-inspired dress by Milla.
An incredible honour
Now that there were no more red carpets to worry about, the festivity of the event began to sink in as I started to watch the film Still Water.
As stressed as I had been, I realised as I watched the movie that the purpose of the Cannes Film Festival is the appreciation of films and all the talent behind them. The glamour of the event tends to hide that fact.
But in the cinema that night, there were only a few faces to be seen, even though many people had entered via the red carpet. Perhaps people slip out of the back exit after they enter, I don’t know. But as much of a pity as this seems, it is somewhat understandable. Imagine sitting in a cinema in an extravagant outfit for more than two hours on a summer evening. Keep in mind that you are offered nothing to eat or drink. Perhaps this is why people don’t stay to watch the films.
With the end of the movie came the end of my Cannes Film Festival 2021 experience. As much stress as it had brought, it was still an incredible honour to attend.
One of the first Indian influencers to gain global recognition with her work, Diipa Khosla is also the founder of the NGO Post for Change. She was recently featured on the cover of HT Brunch, among several other leading magazines
From HT Brunch, July 25, 2021
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