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Red carpet high heels
Mandatory: high heels on the red carpetvia

Women banned from Cannes red carpet for not wearing heels

Female guests to a screening were denied entry for wearing shoes they can walk in

Struggling to walk in heels? Well, don’t expect to be let onto the red carpet at Cannes – even if you have an invitation.

Female guests were turned away from the screening of Todd Hayne’s feminist lesbian drama Carol, starring Cate Blanchett, because they were wearing flat shoes. According to Screen Daily, the women were in their 50s and some even suffered from medical conditions that made it necessary for them to be in flats. 

Vicci Ho, a former film festival programmer, was turned away from the screening even after explaining to guards that she had ankle issues which ruled out wearing heels.

"It's been ridiculous this year," she told BBC Newsbeat. "Cannes need to catch up with the times. Being fashionable for a woman is no longer about wearing heels. They need to train their guards better."

Cannes director Thierry Frémaux has rubbished the claims of high heel rule, writing on Twitter: "The rumour saying the festival insists on high heels for women on the red carpet is baseless."

But filmmaker Asif Kapadia, who was in Cannes to premiere the Amy Winehouse Amy, said that his wife also fell foul of the red carpet policy. 

Guests expressed their anger on Twitter, with one writing: "I would just wear the ugliest heels to Cannes as recompense. Like heeled Crocs, or wedged trainers." Comedian Samantha Baines published a defiant image of herself skirting the policy and wearing flats on the red carpet:

While the festival is usually criticised for the lack of representation of female filmmakers, this year the organisers have actually made an effort to fight industry sexism. For the first time in 28 years, a movie directed by a woman opened the event, while Cannes is also hosting a UN conference about gender equality. But let's just say banning women from entering the event altogether probably isn't going to improve the gender situation.