If there was ever a place to wear Chanel haute couture, it would be on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. Michelle Williams knows this well. On May 27, the actor attended the premiere of her newest film Showing Up, directed by Kelly Reichardt, dressed in an empire waist dress and cap-toe flats by the French house. On a carpet that’s all about dramatic proportions, layers of sequins, and mountains of tulle, Williams’s ensemble was a bit of a breather. Easy elegance. “With this dress, it was love at first sight,” Williams tells Vogue. “It is an exquisite representation of romance and glamor—everything I hope to feel when I get dressed up.”
The dress first appeared on the runway this past January, as look 23 of the Chanel spring 2022 couture show (Williams wore it sans jacket). Embellished with floral appliqué and subtle sequins, the black and white dress features a scalloped slit up the front, adding just the slightest amount of skin to the otherwise sweet gown. Williams looked gamine with her signature pixie cut, single necklace, and natural makeup. Perhaps the glow also is thanks to her growing baby bump, which the dress’s empire waist accentuated.
The look was similar to another Chanel couture ensemble Wiliams has worn to the Croisette: a pink, off-the-shoulder dress that she wore to the 2010 premiere of Blue Valentine. A crowd favorite, and one of Williams’s too. “Talk about relaxed romance—I can still recall the feeling of ease I had in that dress,” she says.
Even though she’s no stranger to Cannes, Williams still gets excited by the red carpet. Especially when she’s promoting a film with a collaborator as close to her as Reichardt. In Showing Up, Williams plays a sculptor preparing for an exhibition, and she’s previously acted in three other films by Reichardt: Certain Women, Wendy and Lucy, and Meek’s Cutoff. “The Cannes carpet and long red staircase feel so special and I don’t want to forget a moment of it,” she says. “I’m proud to return with my dear friend and collaborator, Kelly Reichardt, and seeing her celebrated this way is the fulfillment of a 15 year relationship.”
Below, see how Williams got ready for the premiere at Cannes.