Marie Lodi
May 13, 2016 4:02 pm
Camilla Morandi/Getty Images via Corbis

Julia Roberts made a statement at the Cannes Film Festival during the premiere of her new movie Money Monster, in which she co-stars with George Clooney. Looking stunning in her black Armani Privé gown, she was noticeably missing one accessory — her shoes. At one point on the red carpet, Julia kicked off her heels. Was it an issue of comfort, an act of carefree whimsy, or something more?

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Vanity Fair speculates Julia’s decision to go shoe-free was in response to last year’s incident when a group of women were allegedly turned away for not wearing heels. The group of 50-something women had arrived at a screening for Carol when they were rejected for showing up in rhinestone flats. According to Screen Daily, the festival declined to comment on the occurrence, but  “did confirm that it is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels to red-carpet screenings.”

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This wasn’t the first time Julia left her shoes at home during an important event. She also went barefoot for her wedding to country singer Lyle Lovett in 1993.

The actress has a history of giving the finger to antiquated gender norms. At the 1999 Notting Hill premiere, she famously showed up with unshaven armpits — something that was seen as extremely shocking back then.

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Fellow attendee Kristen Stewart also rejected the archaic dress code when she decided to wear sneakers and pointed out the festival’s sexist hypocrisy during a roundtable conversation. “It has become really obvious that if [a man and I] were walking the red carpet together and someone stopped me and said, ‘Excuse me, young lady, you’re not wearing heels. You cannot come in.’ Then [I’m going to say], ‘Neither is my friend. Does he have to wear heels?’ It can work both ways. It’s just like you simply cannot ask me to do something that you are not asking him. I get the black-tie thing but you should be able to do either version—flats or heels,” she explained.

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