This is not a rerun. Elle Fanning wore the Outfit of the Week last week and since she’s in Cannes as a juror, as Sarah predicted, she’s been serving look after look and, most importantly, her looks have not all been same same, glitter, glamour, feathers, train. There’s been a lot of fun and imagination in these choices – none more so than what she wore to the Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood premiere on Tuesday which, as we saw, was the biggest of all the premieres over the course of the festival. And so she made the most of the moment. 

But let’s back up a bit because this recent parade of fashion porn from Elle didn’t begin in Cannes. She kicked it off at the Met Gala. Elle Fanning won the Met Gala along with Zendaya with her campy go-go groupie girl vibe and it seemed like she still had camp in mind the other night in Cannes in Dior. The outfit is a throwback to Christian Dior’s New Look in the 40s, one of the defining silhouettes in the history of fashion. And that it’s being worn in Cannes, the most extra and over-the-top of all film festivals, there’s an extra layer of throwback here to classic movie stars on the Croisette, or a movie star playing the part of “mysterious woman who boards the train” in a classic movie, smoking a cigarette out of a cigarette holder, all red lips and secrets. 

I love that this is how Elle is playing with style, with character, with expression, trying on identities with her clothes. I love that she’s willing to lean into these moments, vamping for the cameras, working every angle to do right by the design, showing us that she can be more than just a princess gown – and that her appearances in Cannes may also be marking a new stage of her career, that perhaps she’s made the fashion part of the work, part of the strategy, yet another example of how clothes aren’t just clothes.