An Indigenous Producer Was Turned Away From the Cannes Red Carpet For Wearing Moccasins


Photo: Courtesy of Kelvin Redvers

After being turned away on the red carpet, one of Redvers’s French-speaking colleagues reportedly tried to argue with security that the Cannes dress code should have exceptions for such cultural pieces. But security didn’t budge, and they actually got quite aggressive with the producer. “A fairly aggressive security guard got fed up, got right in my face and said, ‘You need to leave now. Leave now. Leave now. Leave now. Leave!’” Redvers told Variety. “I was very confused and hurt; I felt belittled.” Redvers could only return to the red carpet once he changed his shoes, which he did.

The Cannes Film Festival deeming moccasins as not “formal” enough is ironic, given the shoes are in fact a special-occasion piece within Indigenous culture. It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly they were first designed, as numerous tribes across North America created and designed them before colonization. Today, they are widely known as a soft-soled style—often embellished with beadwork, quillwork, or embroidery—that can be worn as a house slipper. Most popularly, however, they are worn by dancers at powwow ceremonies, and paired with their traditional, head-to-toe regalia. Within the Indigenous community, moccasins are often given as gifts. They are seen as special objects, and hold sacred meaning.



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