Bella Hadid makes Palestine statement with her keffiyeh-style sundress in Cannes

Model has long been vocal about her support for Palestine

Bella Hadid is in France for the Cannes Film Festival. Arnold Jerocki / GC Images
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Bella Hadid has been demonstrating her support for Palestine by wearing a keffiyeh-style dress at the Cannes Film Festival.

Although she has not appeared on the red carpet, the model, 27, has been spotted walking around town in a red-and-white keffiyeh-style patterned sundress complete with tassels and thin spaghetti straps. The look is inspired by the keffiyeh, with the checked scarf having morphed into an international symbol of protest, resistance and solidarity.

The dress was created by designers Michael Sears and Hushi Mortezaie of the label Michael and Hushi. It originally debuted on the runway in 2001.

Mortezaie told WWD at the time that he was inspired to create the piece after visiting his homeland of Iran for the first time since he emigrated to the US at the age of three. “I think everyone has a different interpretation of what we’re designing, but our message is something about power and beauty,” he said in the 2001 interview.

The designer has now also taken to his Instagram to update a former post about the dress after it received renewed attention thanks to Hadid wearing it. “Pre-internet & pre-social media but the labels never change. Palestine forever,” he wrote.

He also added: “This is the same dress worn by Bella. It is vintage now and was made 23 years ago at a time when anyone from the region was grouped together as one big Other. There was no Google, just whatever we could put together on a dime without many resources to stand in love and solidarity.”

Hadid, who is half-Palestinian and half-Dutch, has long been vocal about her support for her father’s homeland even before the Israel-Gaza war began on October 7. Last week, on Nakba Day, she uploaded a post commemorating the occasion, saying as a “child of a Nakba survivor” and “grandchild of grandparents that live through the Nakba”, she hopes that today will be the day it finally ends.

Although protests are nothing new at Cannes, for the last two festivals French authorities have banned demonstrations where core events were being held. Organisers have urged against their platform being used for political means. In a pre-festival conference, Cannes general delegate Thierry Fremaux insisted he wanted this year's festival to be “without polemics”.

“The main interest for us all to be here is cinema, so if there are other polemics, it doesn’t concern us,” Fremaux said.

However, earlier in the week, actress Cate Blanchett seemed to hint at showing her support for Palestine through a dress she wore on the red carpet premiere of The Apprentice on Monday.

The Australian stunned onlookers in a sculptural Jean Paul Gaultier satin dress by Colombian-French designer Haider Ackermann. The colour-blocked dress featured a black front and pink back, with green lining inside.

While posing for photographers, the Oscar-winning actress lifted the back of her dress to expose the green lining. Seen against the colour of the Cannes Film Festival red carpet, many commentators interpreted Blanchett's dress as a message of solidarity with Palestinians, as black, red and green, along with white, are the predominant colours of the Palestinian flag.

Much like Hadid, Blanchett has been outspoken about the conflict in Gaza. In October, she joined Artists4Ceasefire, a group of more than 60 actors and artists in Hollywood, in signing a letter addressed to US President Joe Biden, urging him to call for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.

Updated: May 24, 2024, 8:53 AM