Cannes is, of course, filled with actors dressed to the nines promoting their films, but the red carpets are also synonymous with supermodels bringing major glamour to the festival. Bella Hadid was the model not to miss this Cannes, turning up in a series of archival gowns drawn from memorable collections throughout the ’80s and ’90s. First, she wowed in a black strapless gown designed by Gianni Versace for his spring 1987 collection, setting the internet ablaze. She followed that up with a Donatella Versace fall 2001 gown, a Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel 1986 gown and a white long-sleeved Tom Ford for Gucci gown.
Behind each moment was Law Roach, who first dressed Hadid a few months ago for the Prince’s Trust gala before they set off to Cannes.
“Our love for archive and vintage brought us together, and we thought it would be cool to focus on that [at Cannes],” Roach said over the phone from the airport, fresh off a flight. “It’s such a trend right now and I love seeing it because I just think that clothes should have more than one life. I don’t think they should sit in a closet somewhere. There are so many beautiful, spectacular things that were created years and years ago and I just think that they deserve a new life.
“We talked about that and I think she wanted to feel different from last year,” he continued. “I think she solidified herself as the queen of Cannes last season in the Schiaparelli and the Gaultier and I think she wanted to be a little bit more subtle this time around. The clothes speak for themselves, right?”
The Gianni Versace gown was Roach’s favorite of the mix, and it came courtesy of Donatella Versace opening the Versace archives to him. She sent 10 to 15 options for him complete with all the dresses’ information and history, and six dresses were then selected to travel to Cannes, along with an alterations team.
“Being able to touch those clothes is really spectacular,” Roach said.
Of the Gianni gown, he said everyone got emotional when Hadid first tried it on.
“It was Gianni’s Versace. Bella and I were a little [emotional] — she’s such a student of fashion and she has so much respect for it, and she just wanted to make Gianni proud,” Roach said. “The team, people were really emotional about that look. That’s what fashion is: it has the power to evoke emotions from us and take us somewhere else.”
The Lagerfeld dress, complete with puffy sleeves and mega volume in the skirt, was a big turn in another direction.
“It’s early Karl. It’s fall ‘86. You don’t really get to touch those types of clothes that often,” Roach says. “The ‘80s were about opulence and success, and those sleeves just read that. You can tell that Karl designed that collection with Coco in mind.”
Overall, their objective was to make Hadid into a true screen siren through fashion.
“It was more of an emotion. She wanted to feel like a movie star from another era, and it was about that story of who that girl was that night.”