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16 years & everything Ash wore at Cannes

By Monali Sarkar
Last updated on: May 24, 2017 14:53 IST
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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's Cannes fashion choices, Monali Sarkar notes, have come a long way from her debut in 2002.


From photo call to red carpet, Aishwarya Rai went all out desi for her debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002.
She was there with filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shah Rukh Khan for the premiere of Devdas, perhaps the first masala Bollywood film to be selected for screening at the famed festival.
The crowds adored her, but not her Neeta Lulla-designed sari.


Miss World 1994 returned to the festival the following year as a jury member -- one with a string of regrettable sartorial choices designed by Neeta Lulla.


Ash scored a hattrick this year in returning to the festival as a L'Oreal global ambassador, but neither her red carpet look -- once again designed by Neeta Lulla -- nor her off red carpet look left a mark. 


This time Ash -- who delivered the Cannes inaugural speech, the first for an Indian actor -- ditched Lulla and opted for international designers.
But the missteps weren't over.
While the black Gucci gown hit the right notes, she struck out with the printed Giorgio Armani dress.


This year saw Ash return to Cannes not just as a beauty icon, but also the star of Provoked, which was screened at the festival.
It also saw her up her red carpet game.


Aishwarya Abhishek Cannes

The newlywed Aishwarya charmed the red carpet with her Giorgio Armani gown and husband Abhishek Bachchan by her side.
Screenings of the couple's film, Guru, and a teaser of Ash's next, Jodhaa Akbar, were the icing on the cake.


Be it the black Elie Saab, the green Armani Prive, the gold Giorgio Armani, or the magenta Roberto Cavalli, Ash was on point at every red carpet turn this year.
And the entire Bachchan clan was there to witness it


By 2009, Ash had clearly learned to get it right on the red carpet by sticking with designers like Roberto Cavalli and Elie Saab, but her off red carpet styling -- even Cavalli couldn't help here -- still needed serious work.


For the first time since her 2003 red carpet disasters, Ash brought back the sari.
And designer Sabyasachi held his own amid Ash's other choices of the year -- Elie Saab, Armani Prive and Gucci.


Ash brought her A-game to the red carpet with Elie Saab -- for the fourth consecutive year -- and Armani Prive.
But that off red-carpet look -- this time by Lanvin -- still cried out for the right stylist.


We give major props to Ash for embracing her post-partum weight in an Elie Saab gown and an Angelo Katsapis maxi dress. We only wish designers Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla had done the same with her sari pick.


Ash continued her winning streak with Elie Saab and Gucci and her hits and misses with Indian designers (read Sabyasachi and Abu Jani-Sandip Khosla, respectively).


Ash steered clear of Indian outfits and banked on Roberto Cavalli and Armani Prive to help her get the right look.
Every. Single. Time.


This was clearly the year Ash cracked her off-red carpet look with a maroon Oscar de la Renta gown for the launch of Jazbaa, a floral Sabyasachi creation for the Variety and UN Women's panel, and a lilac Elie Saab gown for the amfAR Gala.
On the red carpet, while Elie Saab remained consistent with a green gown, the winner was clearly the dramatic Ralph & Russo gown.


Ash clearly leaned towards embellished gowns on the red carpet irrespective of the designers -- Ali Younes, Elie Saab or Rami Kadi.
She also chose Naeem Khan for an off red carpet interaction and a Rohit Bal for a pre-Sarabjit screening engagement.
But what most people remember about her 2016 Cannes outing are those purple lips.


Ash channeled her inner fairytale princess at Cannes this year and left everyone nodding in approval.
For the first time in years Elie Saab was missing.
Instead, we saw her successfully experiment on and off the red carpet with Yanina Couture, Mark Bumgarner, Michael Cinco, Ashi Studio, Ralph & Russo and Monisha Jaising.

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Monali Sarkar /