Mahira Khan’s debut at Cannes 2018

Mahira Khan made her Cannes Film Festival debut this year, and the paparazzi had a field day with her wardrobe choices. After MET Gala, Cannes is one of other few platform that bring fabulous fashion on forefront, and discussing Khan’s choice of designers is only following a predefined flow of discussion.

While Khan isn’t the first Pakistani to grace Cannes’ red carpet, she’s the first official spokesperson for L’Oreal Paris Hair in Pakistan to be invited to attend the festival. This feat mirrors the confidence that international brands now have in Pakistani celebrities as influencers, and is likely to open doors to future cooperation and collaborations for the entertainment industry. For that, we all owe it to her.

Now, jumping on the band wagon, let’s discuss Khan’s looks for Cannes. For those who might not know, celebrities rarely decide on what they wear for important appearances, such as Cannes. There is a team of stylists, brand collaborations and sponsorships at play in the background. Having said that, many celebrities have a very strong and clear fashion inclination, and are actively involved in finalising their looks – a classic example for that would be Sonam Kapoor.

If you look at Cannes’ red carpet and Khan’s personal style mantra, the two have very little in common. There is elegance in both, but where Khan is soft and safe, Cannes is OTT and all about statements. This disparity was obvious in Khan’s début at Cannes. It does not mean that she did not look beautiful – that doe can make rags look exquisite; she looked pretty every day, and beautiful on most. And ALMOST reached the vavavoom stage. Almost.

1. The Arrival:

Paparazzi first spotted Khan stepping out for Cannes in a chambray asymmetric dress by Carven. The dress had a left shoulder ruffle, a-line silhouette midi skirt and large sarfari style pockets. Espelette, or deep rosy blush, worked wonders against her flawless ivory skin.

Styled by Amar Faiz, she wore black Louboutin, and golden Tom Wood hoops. As far as airport looks and entry statements are concerned, Khan nailed it.

2. To cleavage or not to cleavage:

Being a celebrity and a spokesperson is a tough job. Schedules are drafted for super human beings, and mere mortals often struggle to keep up.

Khan had a series of media engagements and promotional campaigns awaiting her upon arrival. This is when we saw her in Blumarine anemone print wide leg trousers and kimono top with contrasting trims. This look left a lot to be desired. The original silhouette overstepped Khan’s exposure limits and the way she tightened the Kimono around her gave it a dated vibe. This original way of wearing a kimono really makes me want to have a look at some for myself that could have some nice designs that could pair well with many outfits. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who doesn’t want a kimono.

3. Sunshine with a red sole:

Next up we saw Khan strutting in a Solace London’s Rosa top in lime yellow, with extended sash and flared sleeve. She paired it with midnight blue high waisted, wide-leg pants and a statement white belt to hold it all together. Muted gold earrings and Louboutin were the choice of accessories.

She was styled by Amar Faiz, and looked beautiful. She was in her element as the attire complemented her aesthetics, and pushed the envelope just enough to stay trendy without being uncomfortable.

4. Elan Eclipse:

I have never seen anything from Elan that I did not like. The label stands for quality and artisanal craftsmanship. However, at Cannes, it fell short by at least a mile, if not more.

Khan was next spotted in Élan’s NisaNur kimono, paired with harem pants and a crossover bustier. She teamed it with statement earrings from Zohra Rahman. A bun with minimal makeup completed her look.

It was an attempted melange of east and west, but did not survive the collision. Again styled by Amar Faiz, the looked lacked an oomph factor. Though those abs peeking in from behind the bustier almost saved the day. Goals!

5. Colourful and contemporary:

Khan picked up the rhythm as she slipped into a colourful Leonard Paris silk ensemble, paired with Afrodite earrings from Caprice Decadent and chunky heels. She wore her hair in a sleek fashion and opted for subtle makeup; her chic and casual contemporary take on the pyjama trend was refreshing and summery. Kudos to Amar Faiz was that experimental twist.

6. Sorry Saree:

You know how somethings can just not go wrong? Well, saree is meant to be a fool proof option but this Menahel and Mehreen creation just made me shrug. A nude salmon coloured saree with strappy embellished blouse, fishtail braid, statement emerald earrings and pink lips – they all look great on paper but didn’t do much for Khan at Cannes.

While everything was on point as far as makeup, hair and accessories were concerned, the saree itself lacked lustre and reeked off of confused design concept.

7. Full bloom:

Another breezy outfit by Blumarine’s Spring Summer 2018 anemone print gown with balloon sleeves. Khan accessorised it with gold hoop earrings and rings from Zohra Rahman, and looked fresh as a daisy. The minimal look worked well for the BTS and spokesperson duties, don’t you think?

8. Long Black Dress Moment:

And finally the day to grace the red carpet arrived. Khan walked on the Festival De Cannes red carpet in an Alberta Ferretti black gown. The off-shoulder, body hugging gown was accentuated with minimal make-up, red lips and a multi-layered Chopard necklace, bracelet and diamond studs.

She looked beautiful, of course. I think she can even pull a rag off and make it look exquisite. However, the look was too safe for Cannes. It can be justified with the fact that it was Khan’s first red carpet appearance, but with the right stylist, this could have been done better. Just saying.

9. Sparkle On!

Now we are talking! It seems like Mahira had been saving all the drama for last as she pulled into a chic, long, sequined magenta cocktail dress with an exaggerated flower detail on her shoulder, for the evening’s Soiree.

10. Lavender dame:

I think I spoke too soon about my favourite look of Khan at Cannes. Dressed in Dubai-based Maison Yeya lavender strapless gown, paired with bespoke diamond chand-sitara earrings by Kiran Fine Jewellery. In line with its easy going feel, she accentuated the overall look with soft tresses and makeup to a minimum – a perfect ode to the seaside city.

11. Tux-Finale:

And that’s a wrap! And we are going to close this VERY long post with Khan’s own words:

“Oh Cannes you have a piece of my heart! Thank you for taking us in with open arms, you were warm and generous. I wish I could pen down my entire experience but that’ll be a long love letter for another time. However there are a few things I want to relay to all of you.

As I sat in the car on my way to the airport I realised that I felt more empowered than ever before. And the reason was because of the amazing women that I met over the last three days. All these talented women had one thing in common – they lifted each other up. They were supportive and kind. They had each other’s backs. And that is the only (if any) key to success.

It is empowering to sit with women and speak about the lines under your eyes or how fast your children are growing up. It’s a relief when it is your first time on the red carpet with hundreds of people photographing you, to get a ‘you’ve got this’ from the girl whose done this like a dream so many times. It was even more amazing to get all these lovely msgs from my industry back home. And the best family and friends one could ask for. Aah and my fan family, how I love thee!

We are nothing alone, and that is something life keeps teaching me time and again.

My @seherhafeez I love you. @amarfaiz for giving it your all. @shakeelbinafzal for keeping up with the insanity and @manekaharisinghani for being there always?

Loreal Pakistan ??, we did it! Thank you loreal Paris for having us.. can’t wait to see you again! À bientôt,

Love love love


12. BONUS:

Because you really cannot have enough of this diva, right?

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