The fashionable thing to do in May of course is the double-whammy of the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, both taking place on the Southern point of France, on its famed Riviera, just an hour apart, either side of Nice. The fantastic and fabulous and frivolously wealthy all descend upon the region for two weeks of glamour, and debauchery, peppered of course with the screenings of films, meetings, and a rather famous car race.

Unusually this year, the Monaco Grand Prix event clashed with the opening weekend of the Film Festival – it ordinarily takes place during the second weekend, providing very attractive scheduling for all those attendees who care more about the next bottle of champagne, the next party, the biggest yacht and rip-roaring smell of rubber, than they do about who will be polishing their Palm D’Or this year. Rumor has it that Prince Albert of Monaco

Fashion was very much a theme again this year, as always, with the red carpet at the Palais Du Festivals showcasing the most beautiful people in the world wearing the most beautiful clothes in the world. Film anyone? The week of events was definitely underscored by the celebration of famed jeweler Chopard celebrating their 150th anniversary, with owner Mick JaggerCaroline Gruosi-Scheufele seemingly hosting smaller events every night (including partying till 5am with yours truly in VIP Room) in the run up to the huge 150th bash, which took place at the ostentatiously consistent nightclub venue VIP Room at Palm Beach. Given the glamorous Chopard bashes of previous years, at the glittering Carlton hotel ballroom for instance, VIP Room seemed a bizarre choice, which I can only imagine was decided due to its capacity for such a large event. We arrived to the venue on a private J Craft boat – a very elegant speedboat, which is the only way to travel during a festival like this, and will definitely be our transport of choice at this summer’s Venice Film Festival. The Chopard dinner section was themed like a rainforest – again, a bizarre and not very brand-evocative choice, but this was more than made up for by a sterling performance by none other than Lionel Richie, who belted out all his classic hits, whilst an array of celebrity admirers looked on. Quaffing on champagne and chocolates and enjoying the performance were Eva Herzigova, Kate Beckinsale, Paris & Nicky Hilton, David Furnish, Harvey Weinstein, Marion CotillardLady Victoria Hervey, Carly Steel, Andrea Harrison, and a stunning and brilliantly lovely Myleene Klass – the British singer/musician/TV host/mum extraordinaire, who introduced Lionel on stage, but unfortunately missed out on playing piano for him, due to the volcanic ash cloud delaying her plane. Dressed in a gorgeous silver number, and sporting bodyguards, due to her highly expensive Chopard earrings, Myleene also attended the next evening’s DeGrisogono dinner at Eden Roc, Hotel Du Cap, which featured a performance by fellow TV-competition-winning pop star, Cheryl Cole, who of course looked beautiful, and why not, when it’s understood she was paid a mere quarter of a million pounds for a thirty minute set, before going off to party with her newest friend Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas.

Other standout events included the event on the ultra-glamorous Pegasus yacht in the Marina, which was co-hosted by my friends Tim, Rolf and I, and the concierge Paris Hiltonoutfit Quintessentially. This event was raising money and awareness for the World Wildlife Fund by auctioning off roles in movies, and was one of those parties that was so popular and fun, that the closing time just kept getting extended….which helped it compete sufficiently enough in the gossip stakes with the Abu Dhabi party at VegaLuna beach.

A predictable disappointment was the inclusion on the scene of a Christian Audigier themed bar. Following his huge 51st birthday celebration last year at the festival, the new bar, which was quite off the beaten track and the size of a corridor, equipped with unaccommodating doormen, and zero atmosphere, ensured that this was not a place that was talked about during the festivities. Meanwhile, party and fashion staples David Furnish and Patrick Cox successfully launched their popup venue Royal for three days in Monaco, housed in an elegant museum, and David told me it was so successful that it will be a permanent fixture in the world’s classiest locations going forward.

The recurring Terrazza Martini lounge Gerard Butlerprovided once again a great meeting and starting place, with the ever-fashionable Parisian hosts Axel and Lorenzo accommodating many movers and shakers, and stunning celebrities, including Shannyn Sossamon, who made an appearance at the Variety party there one night. Liam Gallagher and his All Saints bride used the venue for a photo call too, but as with many of the venues, the beach was off limits due to the unusually close tide this year – even Audi who had built a purpose-built venue for their press launch, had to relocate to VIP Room after a flooding.

The real prizewinner in fashion this year at Cannes though undoubtedly went to the Chic Little Devils. This style-house from Los Angeles successfully transplanted their brand, designers and expertise to the Riviera for their virgin venture to Cannes, with a highly exclusive, personal and couture laden suite at the Miramar, where they ensured that celebrities looked stunning for their red carpet appearances and the designers they represent were given the biggest exposure since the Oscars for their latest designs.

Lady Victoria Hervey and Hofit Golan both made nearly daily trips to the lounge, where as two Darren Darnboroughof the most desired women for designers to dress, they wowed on the red carpet throughout, along with other celebrities, in Jean Fares, Romona Keveza, David Alexander and Thuy, adorned with jewels by Left Turn, Rebecca and Tacori, and handbags by Clara Kasavina. Tolula Adeyemi, Joy Vieli, Amanda Bauer, Andrea Harrison and Samantha Gutstadt also all dazzled in CLD wares. Celebrities including Rachel Bilson, Michelle Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Strong, Kate Moss and Karolina Kurkova also received gift bags with luxury products from Apollo Jets, Mastros, ICON hair care, B Platinum and many more.

With so much fashion at the festival, it’s left me wondering if it’s about film any more? Or maybe we should just set up impromptu cinemas at New York fashion week in retaliation...

About Darren Darnborough - click for biography.

Catherine Malandrino
Larisa Katz