How to make waves on the beach like Bardot and Loren

Brigitte Bardot then, Rosa Cha now

In 1953, the French bombshell helped popularize the new and scandalous bikini by frolicking in the sand at Cannes, circled by salivating paparazzi. Business by the pool could include a little sun worship this year. You might opt for a more demure look than Bardot’s skimpy ensemble with this Rosa Cha two-piece that features a bandeau top and banded shorts. (It’s not like you’re planning to swim anyway.) Be sure to accessorize a casual beach look with bold jewelry like bangles or a splashy headband. Sunglasses are a must, of course.

Sophia Loren then, Cynthia Rowley now

Italian comedy “The Death of Venus” brought then 21-year-old Sophia Loren to the festival. Though she didn’t strip down like Bardot, Loren knew how to make a demure, pleated dress look sexy by showing a little shin. An elegant, easy-to-wear day dress is key for Cannes because it will keep you looking fresh — even when you’re wilting inside. This floral frock from Cynthia Rowley (Spring 2010) makes the perfect update, with its 1940s feel and hem that grazes the kneecap. Pair it with nude heels or a pair of gold flat sandals.


Grace Kelly then, Tibi now

Clearly, the American starlet understood — better than anyone — the appeal of the classics. In 1955, wearing a simple frilly white tuxedo blouse buttoned to the neck and a pair of patterned trousers, she still radiated high-octane pizzazz. You’ll do well to pack a sleek ensemble that works for cocktails on a yacht or a stroll through the Suquet. Ditch the button-up blouse for a cooler, more modern look with this architectural top and tapered black slacks from this season’s collection from Tibi. Kelly amped up the effect with bright red lipstick and a tidy bun. Follow her lead.




Catherine Deneuve then, Andrew Gn now

With her long white gloves, flipped hair and whimsical column dress, the beloved French star embodied 1960s chic. If there’s one black-tie rule to remember in Cannes, it’s this: Go beaucoup bold. The red-carpet fashion critics here applaud color, drama and over-the-top accessories. A simple black dress reads dreary and funereal with an oceanside backdrop. This off-the-shoulder electric blue Spring 2010 Andrew Gn gown complements the fervor of the festival. The elegant ruching flatters the waist, and the crystal applique makes additional baubles unnecessary. (There’s one less thing to worry about packing!)

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more