Kristen Stewart has taken a stand against the unwritten red carpet rules at the Cannes Film Festival by removing her high heels to walk barefoot up the grand auditorium’s much-photographed steps.
The 28-year-old actress, who is on the festival’s jury this year, was photographed removing her Christian Louboutin stilettos at the premiere of Spike Lee’s new movie Blackkklansman on Tuesday (Monday local time).
It’s regarded as an unspoken rule of the annual French festival that female attendees only sport high heels at red carpet events.
While festival director Thierry Fremaux has denied the existence of this rule, several reputable media outlets over the years have reported incidences of women being turned away from events over inappropriate footwear.
While most of the major events specify formal wear as the dress code, there is no specific mention of footwear.
“The rumour that the festival requires high heels for the women on the steps is baseless,” Mr Fremaux tweeted in 2015, but the rumour has persisted regardless.
Stewart is the second actress to buck the unspoken rule – in 2016 Julia Roberts also removed her heels to go barefoot at the premiere of her movie Money Monster.
This year’s Cannes festival has seen a number of protests – both big and small – in support of gender equality and the Time’s Up and Me Too movements.
While the majority-female jury this year was seen as a win for female representation, a dearth of female nominees disappointed many.
“Would I like to see more women in competition? Absolutely,” jury president Cate Blanchett told reporters.
On Sunday (Saturday local time), 82 female actors, filmmakers and industry professionals, including Blanchett, gathered on the steps of the Palais des Festivals to represent the total number of women selected to compete in the festival’s 71-year history.
Blanchett was joined by notable Hollywood stars like Salma Hayek and Jane Fonda in the protest, which was organised as part of the ongoing Time’s Up movement.
In an interview with Variety in April this year, Fremaux defended the festival’s lack of female competitors by arguing many female directors were not experienced enough to compete.
“Many of these films directed by women are first or second films,” he said.
“They are still young filmmakers, and I wouldn’t be doing them a favour by putting their films in competition. It can be very harsh.”