It’s no news that international film festivals are just as big a deal for the actors, producers and critics who are flown in to attend these events as they are for the colossal teams that groom and dress them. The international film circuit is a huge part of any fashion label’s annual itinerary, offering many labels the kind of public relations possibilities and reach that would otherwise cost millions of dollars. This is why brands like Dior, Chanel and Prada routinely dress celebrities on the red carpets and how relatively younger labels like Christian Siriano and Iris Van Herpen have groomed themselves prestige and a massive following.
The Cannes film festival, held annually in the French Riviera, is the first and biggest stop on the film calendar, a string of events that lasts for five months and leads up to the awards cycle that begins in August with the Tonys and ends February of the next year with the Oscars.
The film festival circuit has also become a much needed spring board for growing industries like Nigeria’s Nollywood through its highly contested short film categories. Film makers from around the world without the financial wherewithal to compete with international studios are allowed to enter their short films where the playing field is a lot more level.
The Cannes film festival cares not for convention and its red carpets have been the ground zero for the discovery of many fashion behemoths like Amal Clooney. There are photo opportunities abound for every attendee. This is how we found out that not one, but two Nigerian actors, O.C Ukeje and Lala Akindoju are walking the red carpet at the Cannes this year, supporting their film. Lala Akindoju shared a photo herself on the red carpet wearing this dress.
A photo posted by lala akindoju (@lalaakindoju) on
There are many questions but I’ll ask one.
How did all of Nigeria’s designers let an opportunity as big as the Cannes Festival red carpet slip without utilizing the massive press opportunities it offers? How did they let Lala Akindoju represent Nigeria in a dress that is supremely unflattering for her figure, a dress that is the exact same colour as the red carpet and completely washes out in photos?
Right off the top of my head I can think of a dozen pieces that would have served Lala better on that carpet, Lanre Da Silva’s Autumn Winter 16 pieces have those delightful prints that would have stood her right out, and Ejiro Amos Tafiri (whom Lala is close friends with) had some of the most phenomenal dresses in her spring 16 collection. A statement dress would have attracted more attention, drawing the much needed attention of the international press to both the design label and the actress.
This missed opportunity was a loss for everyone.