Why Yseult's Custom Dior Look At Cannes Film Festival Matters

yseult cannes film festival
The Significance Behind Yseult's Custom Dior LookGetty Images

Since its La Croisette debut in 1946, major movie stars and celebrities have put on their best dresses for the Cannes Film Festival. While it's a pivotal moment in the film industry calendar, it also serves as an opportunity for designers to showcase some of their most glamorous creations on the red carpet. One look that's taken the internet by storm at this year's festival has been that of French indie singer-songwriter, Yseult, who wore a custom Dior look.

‘Iconic’, ‘elegant’, ‘J’adore’ are some of the thousands of comments left under the musician's Instagram post debuting the red-carpet look. At a time when the industry is consumed with Ozempic – while simultaneously calling for more diversity and inclusion on the runway and in collections – Yseult’s look highlights the importance of plus size visibility, especially in the luxury fashion space.


yseult cannes film festival
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Plus size bodies are not celebrated on the red carpet, says Yseult’s stylist, Jonathan Huguet. ‘We tried to find a strong look to show people that a plus size body can be celebrated on the red carpet,’ he tells ELLE UK. As amazing as Yseult looked, it was also a political move, he adds. ‘It showed that a look like this, [originally] worn by a slim white woman now worn by Yseult, a Black woman, with a strong voice and music, is what we want to see nowadays.’ Yseult speaks to the French woman, and women around the world, who sit outside of Western society’s expectations of beauty. ‘That symbol of France and French couture, and the French woman is [shifting]. Yseult’s showing this iconic French look in the modernity of who she is.’

That has been Huguet’s main objective while working as Yseult’s stylist. She has previously walked the red carpet wearing alluring custom looks from industry heavyweights Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen. To achieve this, Huguet has dressed Yseult in looks previously worn by 'straight' size models and reimagined them on a plus size woman. For example, Yseult wore a red silk rose dress from Alexander McQueen’s AW19 to the Cannes Film Festival last year. It was a standout look worn by Kate Moss in the original AW19 campaign. ‘It was [ironic] to see this gown worn by a plus size model, we all have the campaign in our mind with Kate Moss, who is a skinny woman.’

yseult cannes film festival 2023
Ernesto S. Ruscio - Getty Images

For this year's festival, the goal was to continue pushing boundaries and challenging people’s perceptions of plus size fashion – especially when it comes to luxury brands. Huguet was keen to have Yseult dressed by one of the top luxury fashion houses in France. It’s a conversation that has been in the works for a long time, he says, noting that designers are hesitant to dress plus size models. However, Dior was willing to create a custom look for the French rising star, marking the first time the brand has dressed a plus size body for the red carpet, Huguet explains. ‘Everyone was super excited at the studio and really involved. They wanted to make sure that they [created the look] properly,’ he says, pointing to the intricacy and detail of this look. Often plus size models are seen wearing oversized or loose-fitting clothing, but he was keen to recreate Dior’s 1947 signature ‘New Look’, which saw Yseult wear the house’s Bar tailored jacket and black pleated skirt. The look was fitted, elegant and accentuated her waistline.

yseult cannes film festival
Getty Images

Yseult’s look is testament to luxury brands being able to design for plus size bodies. ‘The fact that we can see such a clean and beautiful look on a bigger body shows that every designer has it in them to make amazing clothes for people of different sizes and it can still look just as beautiful,’ says plus size male model, James Corbin, adding that this is a window into what the fashion industry could look like.

‘Yseult is dressed by these high fashion designers often, and nothing is a gimmick – it’s just beautiful,’ he says. It’s exceedingly rare to see a dark-skinned Black woman, who is also plus size, celebrated in this way. ‘She’s plastered everywhere, and no one can say a bad thing because the look is so clean, so beautiful, so high fashion and so luxury.’

Seeing a range of plus size bodies celebrated on the red carpet is incredibly important; for emerging plus size models, it’s an indicator of what is possible. It not only refutes the pushback the plus size community receives when calling for more inclusive collections but shows that high fashion is possible for plus size people, says Corbin. ‘This inspires me as a model. It’s literally an example I can show when I am talking to designers, when I am pitching decks or showing casting directors... this is what the future of fashion should look like in 2024.’

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