Is There Really a Ban on Flat Shoes at Cannes?

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This week, Kristen Stewart made headlines when photographers snapped her taking off her black Louboutins on the Cannes red carpet as she continued to walk up the steps to the cinema barefoot. The most common reaction from women from around the world was, “Girl same.” However sources soon pointed out that this rebellious act was about more than just comfort.

Photography by Tristan Fewings/Getty

In 2015, Screen Daily reported that “multiple guests, some older with medical conditions, were denied access to the anticipated world-premiere screening for wearing rhinestone flats” at the premiere of Carol. The same year, Asif Kapadia, who was at the festival for his Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, tweeted that his own wife was turned away for her choice of footwear before eventually being let in, which led to the pervasive belief that there is a ‘flats ban’ on the red carpet at Cannes.

The festival has vehemently denied that there is a ban on women wearing flat shoes to the red carpet, which Kristen Stewart countered in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “People get very upset at you if you don’t wear heels…If you’re not asking guys to wear heels and a dress you can’t ask me either.”

One thing is for certain: Cannes and dress codes go hand in hand. The festival released a statement claiming they have always had “precise protocol” when it comes to how their guests are dressed: tuxedo for men and formal dress for women. A representative for Cannes clarified to FASHION via e-mail that “there is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels as well as for men’s.”

So, is there a flat-ban for the Cannes red carpet? Technically, no. But that doesn’t account for the mystery culprit who got “very upset” at Kristen Stewart for her sneakers stunt. Something is going on at the Cannes Film Festival when it comes to women’s footwear, but it certainly isn’t the official dress code.
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