For the second time in a row, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wove a bit of Dubai into her gown as she made a dramatic red-carpet entrance at the 71st Cannes Film Festival with a UAE-based designer’s couture creation.

Last year, Michael Cinco transformed the actress and L’Oreal ambassador into a princess with a billowing, powder blue gown. This year he chose to showcase her as a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. The gown is from his collection called The Impalpable Dream of a Butterfly Metamorphosis.

“So the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis and metamorphoses into this cape made in the lightest of fine mesh,” said Cinco in a message to Gulf News tabloid! right after their red-carpet outing where they attended the Girls of the Sun movie screening together on May 12.

As always, Cinco’s delicate gowns have a deeper story to them.

“Its colour [is] starkly evocative in all shades of violet, red and blue threadworks… [and the dress is] fully embellished in Swarovski crystals and French pailettes [glittering material],” said Cinco.

The Filipino designer found the photographer’s vociferous reactions as a validation of sorts as he could hear the sounds of collective approval in the ‘oohs and aahs’.

“The photographers asked her to stay longer on the red carpet because they wanted to capture more of her stunning beauty … I think Aishwarya is the best celebrity to wear my gown,” said Cinco, who admires her for timeless style.

It is Rai Bachchan’s 16th year at the festival and her annual appearance at Cannes since her debut in 2002 has become a symbol of pride for Indians. Her every move is monitored and scrutinised to its last detail, but the global fashion police was floored last year as she twirled in the Cinco creation.

This year, she has scored high on the sartorial stakes. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise since it was a laboured birth for the metamorphosis-themed gown. With a six-metre train, Cinco revealed that it took 3,000 man-hours to make the piece.

“Aishwarya’s stylist wanted something very unique for the Cannes red carpet… So I showed her the photo of the gown that I had made for Swarovski exhibition last October and she liked it so much,” said Cinco.

The original designe had a six-metre long cape, but a new version had to be created so that the gown was comfortable to wear for the actress, who also made her social media debut on Instagram this week.

“The original one was very heavy and very long,” he said.

It took as many as 50 artists to bead and tailor the gown, which has a plunging sweetheart neckline and figure-fitting form. The designer, who is perennially influenced by the culture and traditions of the UAE, is big on attention to detail and his use of colours and fabrics.

It isn’t the first time that Cinco creations have been worn by A-listers. Hollywood stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Dita Von Teese have looked up Cinco in the past. One of his gowns was worn by Mila Kunis in sci-fi blockbuster Jupiter Ascending.

Cinco, who has his own eponymous label in the city, has dreamed of dressing up celebrities since his childhood. He moved to Dubai in 1997 to begin his journey as a master of haute couture for royalty.

Cinco put his name on the US map after he participated in America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks and is now keen on dressing up Bollywood stars too.

Rai Bachchan isn’t the only star from Hindi cinema to charm Cannes festival goers. Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Huma Qureshi are all at the French Riviera to attend the film festival, which runs until May 19.


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