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Not wearing heels? Get off the red carpet…women are told at Cannes

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There has been a social-media backlash after a number of women were reportedly refused entry to the Cannes Palais on account of their footwear at the premier of Todd Haynes’ Carol on Sunday night.

According to Screen Daily, a group of women were denied entry to the red carpet for not wearing high heels. The women, “some older with medical conditions” were turned away for wearing flats.

People have taken to Twitter to vent their fury and the hashtag #cannesheels has been trending.

Senna and Amy Winehouse biopic (Amy) director, Asif Kapadia, tweeted that his wife had encountered the same resistance.

Screen reported that “the festival declined to comment on the matter, but it did confirm that it is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels to red-carpet screenings.”

However, the website states only that “black tie/evening dress is required for gala screenings. For all other screenings appropriate smart dress is sufficient.” There is no mention of high-heels.

A regular attendee told Screen: “ I’ve heard this happening several times now, even to older women who can’t wear heels for medical reasons. It’s bulls***.”

The feminist movement has welcomed some famous film industry supporters of late. This past week alone saw the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, a film considered so ‘feminist’ it set the men’s rights groups into meltdown (the filmmakers sought feedback from Vagina Monologues playwright, Eve Ensler whilst scripting the female characters), and a panel of actors and directors at the UN’s HeForShe event including Salma Hayek, criticise Hollywood for its dated gender bias. The festival itself opened this year with a film by a female director, for the first time in 28 years.

So, naturally, the premier of a progressive film such as Carol, got us all excited for the latest in a line of female triumphs. The film (starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara), a lesbian romance set in 1950s America, was widely anticipated by the LGBT community. The film has an anti-establishment bent, rejecting societal norms. Unfortunately, when Carol premiered at Cannes, the heels debacle rather ironically distracted from the film itself.

We are all for dress codes – half of the fun of a red carpet event is seeing the frocks, and black tie is obligatory for men – but these women were reportedly wearing smart rhinestone pumps, not beaten-up Adidas Superstars. And how do Cannes define ‘high-heels’, is it in inches, or circumference – do Cuban heels count? In which case should men not be subjected to the same archaic rules?

Stylist have requested comment from the festival organisers and are waiting for a response. Watch this space. 

Images: Rex Features

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