Just as there is excitement in new discoveries—the buzziest restaurant, the latest trend, the unexplored getaway—there is something welcoming, and reassuring, about familiar things. For example, the film community’s regular pilgrimage to Cannes, which begins this week, is made more interesting because of its long history.
It’s almost impossible to mention the festival without evoking its glorious past and its unofficial mascot since 1953, Brigitte Bardot. The kittenish actress’s first appearance at the event wasn’t even to promote a film, but the sun-soaked impression she and her itsy-bitsy bikini left is indelible. It’s also a high watermark of retro beach style, which is as tied to this seaside spot as limos and Champagne. While we’re always hungry to see how stars reinvent the red carpet by the glittering Mediterranean—and to track the latest crop of ingenues—the darkened theaters and paparazzi camera flashes are only temporary distractions, really, from the natural beauty of the town with its diamond-touched waters. Looking to make a style splash worthy of those sandy stretches? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel; instead we recommend studying up on the flawless open-air performances of Grace Kelly and Bardot. Here, five crowd-pleasing updates on their classic coastal chic.