CANNES: It is the most celebrated cinematic jamboree across the globe, but the annual Cannes International Film Festival also rolls out the red carpet for the latest and best in the fashion world.
From international divas like Angelina Jolie and Diane Kruger to Bollywood beauties like Aishwarya Rai and Mallika Sherawat, everyone puts her most stylish foot forward at the gala.
The best movies are screened at the fest, with top-rated filmmakers and A-list stars from the world congregating at the French Riviera. But what's not amiss is a lot of fashion - elaborate cocktail gowns with intricate embroidery and superflous trails, teamed with eye-catching accessories.
Some like it over-the-top, while some keep it minimalistic, but the fashion quotient at the 12-day red extravaganza doesn't go unnoticed as the paparazzi keep a constant tab on the hits and misses year by year.
From Angelina Jolie's strapless black gown, Natalie Portman's white ruffled dress by Givenchy to the Atelier Versace gown worn by Freida Pinto or Sonam Kapoor's classic white gown by designer Jean Paul Gaultier - fashion divas have been setting statements and trends with their red carpet appearances at the event.
According to designer Shane and Falguni Peacock, who have designed for the likes of international icons including Madonna, Britney Spears and Katy Perry, "Cannes is a fabulous place for fashionistas."
"Cannes is a classy haute couture affair where all fashionistas come out to play. The look needs to be nothing less than perfect with the perfect synergy between high levels of fashion, glam and elite class," Falguni told IANS.
"It is abuzz with a high dose of film and fashion and is where everyone looks their best. It is a compliment to us as designers, if a celebrity chooses to wear one of our creations for an event of such calibre," added Shane.
What with some of Aishwarya Rai's disappointing choices of attire in previous seasons of the fest, Indian beauties, including Aishwarya, now go out of their way to get the perfect look for their red carpet moment.
Designer Pria Kataaria Puri said: "Cannes film fest is a big and great opportunity for designers to showcase their talent since it has become a big fashion and film glamour event."
"Everyone eagerly waits to see what everyone is wearing, and there are some points one needs to keep in mind when selecting an outfit. One should realise it's an international event, and people should keep in mind the colour and silhouette trends abroad."
Freida, who had a fairytale ride to fame with "Slumdog Millionaire", grabbed camera lenses with a pink Michael Angel gown on the first day of this year's fest May 16. Her lime green coloured Atelier Versace number on day two also won a thumbs up from fashion critics.
Bollywood's "Maiyya maiyya" girl Mallika Sherawat, who is at Cannes for the fourth time, sported a a bold nude-coloured gown with a high neck and a low back. The dress was so body-hugging that the actress took to Twitter and said it was "literally stitched" on her body.
It was a welcome change from the over-the-top, blingy, attention-seeking golden ensemble she wore for her first appearance at Cannes in 2005 when she accompanied international action star Jackie Chan for "The Myth".
All eyes are currently set on Aishwarya, whose post-pregnancy weight has become the talk of the town in the Indian and international media alike. Earlier, the former beauty queen-turned-actress received many brickbats for her sunflower yellow sari, parrot green sari and shimmering white gown, but she made up for her fashion misses with her selection of a one-shoulder gown by Elie Saab last year.
Sonam, who is Cannes-bound this year too, stole the limelight during her debut appearance at the festival in 2011 when she opted for a white gown by Jean Paul Gaultier.
Among Hollywood bigwigs, Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Berenice Marlohe and Jane Fonda have impressed fashion critics with their wardrobes.
Chastain's nude chiffon Gucci gown with gold detailing on the bodice, Kruger's gold sequin-encrusted Vivienne Westwood gown and Marlohe's gold lame Emilio Pucci gown have turned out to be head turners at the ongoing edition so far.
At 74, Fonda, who proves glamour is ageless, grabbed eyeballs with a bronze Atelier Versace and black and white Stella McCartney gown. In the past, international artists including Rachel McAdams have sported designs by Indian jewellery brand Amrapali at the gala as well. With such a plethora of designs and colours from all nooks and corners of the world, Cannes seems to be becoming another fashion hub.