Turns Out, Cannes Doesn't Have a Rule Against Flats After All

The director of the festival called the rumor "bullshit" before apologizing.

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(Image credit: Archives)

Update, 5/22: This whole We-Don't-Allow-Flats-Oh-Wait-No-We-Do Cannes scandal has now gotten a proper name: "Flatgate."

The festival's director, Thierry Fremaux, spoke out about the dress code at a Women in Motion talk, calling the ordeal "bullshit," according to The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab).

"There is a rumor that the festival obliges women to wear heels," he said. "It's a rumor, it's not true." He then went on to say that it (and the subsequent controversy) were due to a security guard with an "excess of zeal."

Did he happen to look like this?

Update, 5/20: Emily Blunt's co-stars in Sicario, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, sadly did not wear heels to the premiere of their film in Cannes. Why is it sad that two men weren't subjected to the pain that caused by modern-day female stilts? Because they had *promised* to wear them.

In the same press conference where Blunt made her disapproval of the "no flats" policy known, director Denis Villeneuve commented, "In a sign of protest, Benicio, Josh, and I will walk the stairs [of the Palais] in high heels tomorrow."

But they didn't. As Vulture reports (opens in new tab), none of the men actually followed through on the plan, with del Toro explaining that he did attempt to in earnest.

"I tried!" he said. "I tried to find high heels, but, sadly, I can't walk in them." Been there, del Toro. But apparently for female goers, they don't have a choice. That's kind of the point.

Original story, 5/19: The Cannes Film Festival—that thing 95% of us mispronounce (it's "can," apparently)—is known for its red carpet moments and couture gowns (opens in new tab). So you might not be surprised that it has a pretty strict dress code—one that found some women actually *turned away* from a premiere after they showed up wearing rhinestone flats instead of high heels.

It's basically a case of Mean Girls: French Riviera—the women, reportedly in their 50s and some with medical conditions, were told they couldn't attend the premiere of Carol (opens in new tab), starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, because of their footwear. According to Harper's Bazaar UK (opens in new tab), a festival spokesperson said it was "obligatory for all women to wear high heels to red-carpet showings."

Emily Blunt, ever the voice of reason, decided to pipe up about the incident at a press conference for her new film Sicario. "I think everyone should wear flats, to be honest," she said, according to Variety (opens in new tab). "We shouldn't wear high heels anymore. That's just my point of view. I prefer to wear Converse sneakers."

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Samantha Leal
Senior Editor

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.