Cannes Fashion Flashback: Zoe Saldaña’s Chic Red Carpet Moments on the Festival’s “Magical Stage”

“She’s one of my fashion girls — she loves fashion and is very spirited when it comes down to it.” So says veteran stylist Petra Flannery about one of her A-list longtime clients, Zoe Saldaña. And it shows. The actress, who moves seamlessly from blockbuster franchises like Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy to indie fare like Jacques Audiard’s Emilia Perez, the film that leads her back to the Palais this year, catches eyes whenever she steps on a red carpet. On the eve of her return, Flannery looks back on their memorable Cannes collaborations and teases what to expect this year: “The beautiful premiere moments are a really magical stage for fashion. These are the moments that we live for.”

Victoria Beckham in 2014

“This was a fun dress. I like the softness of the pleating mixed with the hardware like the gold chain and big earrings. Zoe has always worn Victoria Beckham really, really well. She’s worn it a couple of times, for Avatar photo calls and as recently as the AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Nicole Kidman. I like [Victoria’s] designs very much. They’re usually very structured with some interesting design element. Zoe and Victoria Beckham have been a nice pairing over all these years.”

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Zoe Saldana poses in a white dress on the Cannes red carpet
At the Grace of Monaco premiere on May 14, 2014.

Jason Wu in 2014

“I love the drape of the gown, and the neck scarf. Though you can’t see it in the picture, it had a low back and there’s something about that green color with the accent — I love it. She went with more dramatic makeup for a little bit of a sultry look. It’s a great look.”

Zoe Saldana poses on the Cannes red carpet in a black and green gown
At the Mr. Turner premiere on May 15, 2014.

Emanuel Ungaro in 2013

“She was one of the first to wear Ungaro after Fausto Puglisi took over as creative director in 2012, so that was a big moment. I remember that collection and I adored what he did with Ungaro. I love the graphic print and the black-and-white, paired with a red shoe. I would still use the look today, it’s super fresh. I love the aspect of showing a little skin with legs for daytime.”

Zoe Saldana attends a Cannes photo call for Blood Ties
At a photocall for Blood Ties on May 20, 2013.

Valentino in 2013

“This dress was made during Pierpalo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s time at Valentino. The color blue was spectacular; it was neither a pale blue or darker, almost a cornflower. The dress had so many details with an open back and those white straps. It was a very elegant look.”

Zoe Saldana attends a Cannes premiere for Blood Ties
At the Blood Ties premiere on May 20, 2013.

Armani Privé in 2011

“I love this dress. When I saw it, I thought, ‘Oh my God, it would be stunning on that carpet.’ It was perfect on Zoe — the fit, the shape, and it’s very modern and unique. I knew she would pull it off elegantly and she absolutely did. We paired it with an amazing cuff that was from Neil Lane and Paul Flato, an art deco designer. It was [100-carat faceted citrine stone] with a knotted cuff. Though it was a vintage statement piece, it had a modern feel. I loved how clean it looked with the dress.”

Zoe Saldana poses on the Cannes red carpet in 2011
At The Tree of Life premiere on May 16, 2011.

Vionnet in 2011

“I remember getting her dress for that [Tree of Life] party and it’s so beautiful. Vionnet is another designer who is not really designing anymore but Zoe used to wear them a lot. This was an organza with a printed floral motif. I loved how the belt was kind of an opposing print with the stripes. When you mix two prints like that, they seemed to coordinate and almost present an artful look with the shape. There’s an elegance but also it feels light and effortless. It’s really a piece of art.”

Zoe Saldana poses in a floral dress at a Cannes party
At a party for The Tree of Life on May 16, 2011.

Margiela in 2009

“Zoe always looks great in neutral, almost caramel colors. She wore this for an amfAR cocktail party and it’s chic. She loves Margiela, always has, and they have always had an almost artful sense to their designs. It works really well for her.”

Zoe Saldana poses at an amfAR party in Cannes
At the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the Hotel du Cap on May 21, 2009.

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