Fashion at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival is better than this year's Met Gala — sorry

  • Fashion at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival is already making up for this year's lackluster Met Gala.

  • Only four days into the French event, stars have worn stunning gowns, sparkling suits, and more.

  • Many outfits at this year's Met Gala, on the other hand, were forgettable.

It's time for everyone to admit it: Fashion at the Cannes Film Festival is usually better than what we see at the Met Gala.

I know what you're thinking. How can you beat Blake Lively's ball gowns, Kim Kardashian's controversial looks, and Rihanna's fashionably-late entrances?

Maybe you can't. Those moments stand out in pop-culture history for a reason.

But if we're focusing solely on style — head-turning outfits, meaningful designs, and dazzling accessories — the fashion-filled gala doesn't measure up to Cannes. And the contrast between the two events this year has proved it.

Elle Fanning attends the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.Mike Marsland/Getty Images

Take a minute to really think about the Met Gala. For every iconic look we see on the famous steps at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there are another three outfits that don't match whatever theme is in place for that year's event.

This year, for example, some stars took the "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty" theme in stride, dressing as the German designer himself or like his beloved cat Choupette.

But others missed the mark entirely.

Stars like Kylie Jenner and Ariana DeBose wore colorful gowns that didn't match Lagerfeld's aesthetic.

And couples like Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas played it too safe, seemingly using Lagerfeld's signature black-and-white color palette as inspiration for very basic outfits.

Ariana DeBose, Kylie Jenner, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Nick Jonas at the 2023 Met Gala.
Some of the fashion at this year's Met Gala.Jamie McCarthy/Cindy Ord/Christopher Polk/Getty Images

That's not to mention issues with this year's theme itself, which honored a late fashion designer who was undoubtedly iconic, but also deeply problematic.

In his lifetime, Lagerfeld often displayed fatphobic, homophobic, and racist views. He said in 2013 he was "less keen" on supporting same-sex couples adopting, and was later quoted saying that "no one wants to see curvy women on the runway."

So even when celebrities nailed their red-carpet looks, viewers were left with a lingering question: Why is this particular designer being honored?

Jeremy Pope attends the 2023 Met Gala.
Jeremy Pope attends the 2023 Met Gala.Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The very nature of Cannes, however, leaves little room for disappointment.

There are no confusing themes to limit the fashion choices of attendees, and the surplus of events at the festival creates room for every celebrity to have their moment.

To put it simply, there's no need for gimmicks. When stars are on the red carpet, the focus is on fashion and fashion alone.

bella hadid at cannes 2021
Bella Hadid attends the Cannes Film Festival in 2021.Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Only four days into this year's festival, we've already seen dozens of standout looks — many of which have been more exciting than those at this year's Met Gala.

First, there was Chinese actor Fan Bingbing, who attended the Cannes opening ceremony on Tuesday in a custom Christopher Bu ball gown printed with images of leaves and tigers, a symbol of bravery and strength in China.

Fan Bingbing attends the "Jeanne du Barry" screening during the Cannes Film Festival.
Fan Bingbing attends the "Jeanne du Barry" screening during the Cannes Film Festival.Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Then, Spanish actor Ester Exposito hit the red carpet in Atelier Versace.

Her daring dress was covered in skin-baring slits and sparkling chain mail, creating a look that was edgy and glamorous all in one. She also added Messika diamonds in the form of earrings, a necklace, and rings.

Ester Exposito attends the "Black Flies" red carpet at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
Ester Exposito attends the "Black Flies" red carpet at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Male stars have delivered too. Look at model Rahi Chadda, who turned heads at the "Monster" carpet in a red, crystal-encrusted blazer with ruffled fringe.

His outfit was designed by the Parisian fashion brand Homolog.

Rahi Chadda attends the "Monster" red carpet at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
Rahi Chadda attends the "Monster" red carpet at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.Gisela Schober/Getty Images

Considering there are still eight days left of the festival, it's safe to assume Cannes fashion will only get better and better.

But rather than spell it out, I'll leave you with this: Elle Fanning in a silver, shimmering Paco Rabanne gown at Cannes last night.

If I somehow missed an outfit as stunning at this year's Met Gala, let me know.

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