4 iconic Cannes Film Festival beauty looks you need to see (and how to get them yourself!)

10 May 2016

In honour of today being the eve of the 69th Cannes Film Festival, we’re throwing it back to what was arguably the event’s heyday: the 1950s. After all, how could it not be the pinnacle of glamour when iconic stars like Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, and Elizabeth Taylor were strutting about the festival’s red carpet?

They may have been in the heart of the 1950s, but the retro beauty looks of these iconic screen sirens are surprisingly and stunningly now: strong brows, dramatic lashes, dark eyeliner, short hairstyles, and bangs that make each look unique. On top of that, their commanding confidence on the red carpet makes for scene-stealing style.

Lose yourself in the lush fashion and beauty visuals of the Cannes Film Festival in the 1950s with our fashion and beauty breakdown of a few of the world’s most iconic screen sirens.


Sophia Loren
Photo courtesy of Getty

Flashback to the May 1966 Cannes Film Festival, where Sophia Loren complimented her Van Cleef and Arpels earrings and necklace with dramatic black eye liner, meticulously coated lashes, and clearly lined lips. Now fast forward to the spring 2016 catwalks, where makeup artists at Louis Vuitton, Marni, and Mary Katrantzou heavily applied mascara and false lashes proving that the stranger and more dramatic the lashes, the better. Not so far off from Loren’s 1960s look, is it?

Want to get Sophia Loren’s 1966 Cannes Film Festival look? Simply use a black pencil eyeliner to line your upper lid from the inner corner of your eye, all the way to the outer corner, creating a slight cat eye towards the end. Apply the same liner to your bottom lash line, connecting the two lines at the inner and outer corners of the eye. Coat your lashes many times using a volumizing mascara, and moving your hands in a back and forth motion as you move up along the lashes. This will separate the lashes, creating emphasis on each individual lash. 


Photo courtesy of Getty

While Audrey Hepburn may have been known for her flawless complexion, she succeeded in turning heads in the hair department, as well. For the 1960s edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star reflected the spring 2016 catwalk’s with her choppy bangs and voluminous top knot.

To get this look, start by spraying dry hair with volume spray to achieve initial texture and volume. Separate your strands into two sections (one at the top of your head, and one that lines up with your ears), and secure with an elastic. Wrap the top ponytail around itself on the top of your head to create a donut-like shape. Twist the second ponytail around the first to achieve maximum volume. Finish off with volumizing, strong-hold hairspray for an Audrey Hepburn-approved hairstyle!


Elizabeth Taylor
Photo courtesy of Getty

While no-makeup makeup has been spotted on the spring 2016 runways at Alexander McQueen, Isabel Marant, and most recently, on blonde bombshell Blake Lively for her arrival into France, the trend is nothing new. Elizabeth Taylor, one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s, opted for minimal eye makeup and a clear, glossed lip at the Cannes Film Festival in 1957.

Get Elizabeth Taylor’s minimalist look by using a tinted moisturizer or BB Cream to coat the face, rather than a heavy foundation and concealer. Play up your features by applying highlighter on the high points of your cheekbones, and use mascara to coat your upper and lower lashes. Apply a light brown or medium brown shade of eye shadow to your upper lid, and use a small shadow brush to coat the same shade under your lower lash line for a natural, shadow effect. Finish off with a clear gloss and voila! You’re red carpet-ready!


Brigitte Bardot
Photo courtesy of Getty

In recent years, celebrities like Taylor Swift and Adele have made the classic cat eye their own by incorporating it into their day-to-day beauty routines. But before them, iconic French actress, singer and supermodel Brigitte Bardot set the stage for the classic flick at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956.

Achive Brigitte’s dramatic cat eye and bold lip by using a black liquid eye liner to line the area just above your upper lash line. Use a pencil liner to draw a V-shape at the corners of your eyes, leaving negative space in the middle, and smudge the liner into a full cat-eye shape with a shadow brush. Use the same pencil liner to line your lower lids, connecting the two lines at the inner and outer corner of your eyes.

Next, Use a shimmery white shadow to strobe the inner corners of your eye, opening up your eyes and making them appear bigger and brighter. Finish off the look by slightly over-lining your lips with a lip liner pencil, and filling them in with multiple coats of lipstick for large, voluptuous, supermodel lips.


More about Paige Exell

Fashion & beauty writer, lipstick enthusiast, lover of all things beautiful, constantly on the lookout for what's new and what's cool.


    1. Loved the stars and the look then. Nice to see it coming back.
      Great article Paige.

    1. Love the articles wish I could do my eyes as you instruct to do

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