The Cannes Film Festival is facing backlash after several women in their 50s were denied entry at the premiere of “Carol” for wearing rhinestone flats on Sunday night, Screen Daily reports.
A number of attendees said they were turned away for their footwear choice including director Asif Kapadia’s wife (who was eventually let in), staff members of the British film company Independent and film producer Valeria Richter. Richter's case is particularly heinous because she is unable to wear high heels given that part of her left foot has been amputated. Richter was stopped four times on her way to the screening "Sea of Trees" for her footwear, but was eventually allowed into the theater.
In response to the sexist allegation, the “festival organizers confirmed it is ‘obligatory for all women to wear high heels’ if attending a red-carpet screening.”
However, Cannes director Thierry Frémaux tweeted, "The rumor that the Festival requires high heels for women on the steps [is] unfounded." And a spokesperson for the event said that there is no specific height requirement for women’s or men’s shoes.
Regarding the dress code for the red carpet screenings, rules have not changed throughout the years (Tuxedo, formal dress for Gala screenings) and there is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels as well as for men’s. Thus, in order to make sure that this rule is respected, the Festival’s hosts and hostesses were reminded of it.
Twitter exploded in reaction to the fashion rule that discriminates against disabled women.
@ChinChinDarling Apparently, it doesn't matter if you are disabled or able-bodied. Etiquette comes first in Cannes.— Victor Anfu (@verflucht) May 19, 2015
Whoever barred women from #Cannes2015 for not wearing high heels needs to be fired - and forced to stand in stilettos for 12 hours.— Tom + Lorenzo® (@tomandlorenzo) May 19, 2015
I think women should have heels on the red carpet - one shoe in each hand ready to hurl at the fashion police when questioned. #cannesheels— suzanne alizart (@suzybelle) May 19, 2015
“Everyone should wear flats to be honest. We shouldn't be wearing high heels anyways. That's my point of view. I just prefer wearing Converse sneakers."
Hollywood is known for its appalling sexism and forcing women to wear high heels is proving once again that women’s appearances must be dictated by the industry or not accepted. Yet while the dress code has remained in place for years, women are turning Hollywood on its head and finally calling out the unfair beauty standards. And as Blunt mentioned, flats really are the better choice anyway.