Inside Marion Cotillard’s Star-Spangled Cannes Moment
NEVER knowingly predictable, Marion Cotillard’s red-carpet looks at Cannes have ranged from Y Project’s jeans-and-tunic combo, to Chanel’s embellished nude mini dress, to Jean Paul Gaultier’s lace-up pinstripe hybrid gown. How to keep them guessing? The French actress lit up the red carpet in an electric rainbow-sequined bustier and flared trouser two-piece. Knock-out looks are nothing new from Cotillard, but this was something else: the design featured a 2.65m-long train (move over Kendall Jenner).
Furthermore, in a red-carpet sea that’s dominated by the undoubtedly glamorous Gucci, Dior and Valentino gowns, it was a choice that showed off her fashion credentials. To the well-trained industry eye, the distinctive Studio 54-esque sequins that glinted and shimmered could only be the handiwork of London-based designer Michael Halpern.
The 29-year-old designer launched his eponymous brand, Halpern, in February with a show at London Fashion Week that drew all the big names in the industry – and caught the eye of Matchesfashion.com fashion director Natalie Kingham. The online retailer is stocking his unashamedly glamorous debut collection for autumn.
In an exclusive interview with Vogue, Halpern told us it was the dream red-carpet debut for his brand: “I am a humungous fan of Marion. What I think is so extraordinary about her is that she is so intelligent in her work, the roles she chooses, and the grace she has when speaking to you. She’s incredible: humble, and of course, gorgeous.”
Cotillard and Halpern worked together to adapt an original design from the runway collection. “She first saw the runway look, and then we made a custom version for her. I think the addition of the train was the most integral part of the adjustment – when we had our fitting in Paris, I kept the train really long. If there is ever a moment for a major sequin train, it is most definitely in Cannes! She agreed.”
Halpern, who produces all of his fabulous designs in the UK, earned his stripes at Atelier Versace having graduated from Central Saint Martins. Cotillard’s look sported over 100,000 sequins, all hand-applied. “I have a very small team, I am only in my first season of this brand, so it’s very much an all-hands-on-deck situation when it comes to a project like this,” Halpern told us. “I think unapologetic glamour is always something that should be present. It’s a tough and scary world at the minute, so if we can get a little respite with a sparkly frock, then why not?”