Quebecer Monia Chokri received a standing ovation and very positive reviews at Cannes for her film Simple comme Sylvain. Her outfit – a see-through dress – earned her additional articles in magazines and newspapers. What does this garment say about Cannes, women and fashion?
The dress is signed Courrèges. Contacted, the fashion house replied by email that it had been approached by Monia Chokri’s agent. The director and actress “then came to do fittings, following which we made a bespoke dress […] designed in a material called ‘second skin’ which is one of the emblematic fabrics of the house”, writes Caroline Lachenal, communications officer for Courrèges.
Monia Chokri was not available in recent days to explain to us the reasons why her choice fell on the Courrèges dress (and neither did her agency).
Juliette Gosselin finds that “Monia is a model of elegance and sophistication. She’s radiant, good about herself.” In an interview, the actress notes that she herself likes transparency a lot. “I like organza, which lets you see what’s through. »
On Instagram, she recently posted a photo of herself with a transparent top in New York. In the street, Juliette Gosselin says that she did not observe any particular reactions.
On social networks, it’s a different story. People have praised the fact that women like her feel free enough to wear and reveal what they want, she explains. Others saw it as an affront. “Some have criticized me for the message this can send to young people. But I can’t be on show all the time. This is giving me too much responsibility. »
Juliette Gosselin adds that as a teenager, she did not meet the criteria of beauty and that she was convinced that she would “get her breasts redone”. The fashion then was for voluptuous breasts and those for whom “nature had decreed otherwise” wore trompe-l’oeil bras, of sorts.
She remained as she was. Fashion has changed. To feel comfortable enough today to wear what she finds beautiful is pure pleasure for her. As a teenager, “I would have liked to see models of women with breasts of different shapes and sizes,” she illustrates.
Sociologist Francine Descarries reminds us that there are two feminist points of view. Many young people believe that using your body and showcasing it is very ok when you are willing. Older feminists, continues Ms. Descarries, are on the contrary numerous to think that to sexualize the body, “is to place oneself in the gaze of the other to define oneself”.
Arnaud Granata, president of the Infopresse Group specializing in communication-marketing, found this dress magnificent, with its entire concept oriented towards “the bare and transparent aspect”. The dress allows you to “guess certain parts of her body”, and it is “in tune with the times”. “It’s very authentic, very free, very coherent” with Monia Chokri, according to him. “Cannes is the place to have fun, where you climb the stairs with daring outfits. »
Is the fear of the hypersexualization of women still relevant? Chantal Maillé, a full professor of women’s studies at Concordia University, responds that “the debate over this has mostly centered on adolescent girls and children rather than adult, mature, consenting women.”
“Monia Chokri is a smart woman who has been to Cannes before and knew she had better get that attention. […] It worked. »
The dress is transparent, flesh-colored “very 2023”, she adds, “but there is fabric”.
Ms. Maillé doesn’t find this dress more provocative than the very short, high-cut dresses you see in so many boutiques.
And above all, adds Ms. Maillé, Monia Chokri went to Cannes, “which is very 20th century”.
The men are there in tuxedos, she points out, the women, in high heels “and waiting with bare bodies for them is a standard”, underlines Chantal Maillé.
According to Mariette Julien, honorary professor at UQAM’s École supérieure de mode, women, regardless of their talent, “are still very much judged on their ability to seduce”.
However, it is not easy to stand out in Cannes, to attract the gaze of others and media attention when there are “full of beautiful women with plunging necklines”.
Model Irina Shayk is no longer there: it was in a lingerie set that she presented herself at Cannes this week.
Provocation is also about challenging bourgeois codes and that is part of an artistic process, Ms. Julien conceives.
All the same, she does not subscribe to the “hypersexualized fashion strategy” in vogue, nor to the idea that it would reflect a freedom and equality that would be conquered by women.