Inside Kering’s ‘Women in Motion’ Cannes Dinner With Salma Hayek, Diane Kruger and Zoe Saldana

CANNES — Kering’s annual “Women in Motion” awards bash has gotten even bigger, said Salma Hayek, with a 40-person waiting list of those asking for invites.

“It’s a very good problem,” Hayek said of having one of the hottest tickets in town — despite the night’s other premieres and parties.

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“We feel we are having a real impact. People are asking to come, people are asking to contribute to the cause. So things are moving, not fast enough as you know, but things are moving and we are part of that,” said Kering chair and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault. “So it’s a great pride for me, for the group.”

The popularity of the once-quiet event was evident in the crowds that lined the street, waiting behind barriers to get a glimpse of the arrivals at the castle that stands above Cannes. It was the ninth anniversary of the dinner, and this year’s recipient was Universal Studios chair Donna Langely.

“I’m a super fan,” Hayek said of the executive.

Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault
Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault

It marked the first time an executive has won the award, which has traditionally gone to acting talent. “[She is] living proof that women can successfully get the power and run a studio as successfully as she can,” said Hayek, who called her “elegant” on a personal level, but also a “visionary.”

Plus, having Langley present was “very cool,” she said. Hayek added that it had not been a conscious decision to overlook executives in prior editions, but a decision borne out of necessity.

“It’s because there’s not been that many women in that position,” she told WWD. “Actually right now she’s the only one that has been in that position for that long. Hopefully in the future there will be many more, and the difficulty will be choosing from a great variety of amazing women.”

On the arm of her husband, Hayek wore a lavender Gucci gown with earrings from Boucheron.

Zoe Saldana and Édgar Ramírez were riding high on the warm reception to their film “Emilia Perez.” The musical has garnered some of the best buzz of this festival so far.

“We’re so excited. To be in the biggest, most important film festival in the world and to have those kinds of reactions is a really big thing,” he said.

Ramírez said that Kering, through its Saint Laurent Productions, is supporting the arts. “They are really committed to producing movies, and that’s great news [for film]. It’s also a great way to branch out and offer a different experience of the brand, while helping and getting behind great creators and filmmakers to see their movies realized. It’s a win-win,” he said.

Ramírez joked that the “Emilia Perez” premiere invite was the hardest ticket to score, even for the stars. “They wouldn’t even give me another ticket. It was incredible,” he said. Ramírez was continuing his Cannes run in a Saint Laurent suit.

The actor said that Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vacarello supervised all of the clothing choices during the filming. “If you look at the movie, you’ll see that it is completely cinematic. I mean, you won’t feel like we’re dressed by a brand. It’s not a commercial. It doesn’t feel that way. It is very pure. It is a cinema experience.”

“It’s interesting that they’re taking such an interest in [film],” said Kruger, adding that Kering can take it a step further. Her film “The Shrouds” is in competition in the film festival, also from Saint Laurent Productions. “I’m hoping they’re also willing to take risks, real risks, with new filmmakers, female filmmakers.”

Diane Kruger
Diane Kruger

She cited Miu Miu’s short film series program at the Venice Film Festival as an example of a way fashion brands can support emerging talent.

“I think there’s not enough of that happening. We need to support filmmakers in all levels — at the beginning of their career, at all stages of their career, not just when they’re already on top,” she said. “That’s why I love this evening, because I do think it really started something that is important: to support women behind and in front of the camera.”

Kruger was in a dramatic Balenciaga skirt suit with a sculpturally elevated collar.

Another sculptural suit was from Malaysian designer Behati, who dressed emerging talent award winner Alfonse Chiu in a Barbie-pink wrap ensemble.

Before welcoming Langley to the stage, Pinault highlighted the presence of French filmmaker Judith Godrèche, who has become a major voice of the #MeToo movement in France after accusing directors Jacques Doillon and Benoît Jacquot of sexual assault and abuse while she was a teen actress.

“Cinema, all the arts, are a force for progress because they can change representation. And they can break glass ceilings. Thanks to the courageous stance taken by some, we’ve made some progress already this year. And especially here in France, where profound change was still needed. The cinema industry has been a place of unacceptable behavior in the past, but we can also see cinema can be a force for change, and to transform our societies,” he said.

Kering supported the film through the Kering Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting sexual violence against women, Pinault said. Godrèche’s short film, “Moi Aussi” will be screened on Wednesday.

Cannes Film Festival president Iris Knobloch acknowledged Langley’s rarefied position as a woman in the industry. “You’re one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, regardless of gender. And it is thanks to women like you that hopefully one day that distinction won’t be made. You managed to break the celluloid ceiling and have become an inspiration to all of us,” she said.

Michelle Yeoh
Michelle Yeoh

A video with clips from Michelle Yeoh, Emily Blunt, Ariana Grande, Tom Cruise, Cynthia Erivo and Diane von Furstenberg played for the honoree.

“It’s amazing to see that she is on the ground in person, she’s visiting the sets of her films, you take the time to say hi to everyone, to come meet the actors and make us feel like she’s so fully invested. And in each and every project that she chooses to be a part of,” Grande said.

“She can see the big picture, and she also understands the minutiae of creating something. Her care and dedication is always there,” added Cruise on screen.

“That reel was bonkers,” Langley joked as she took to the stage. “I pay all of them to say all those things.”

She acknowledged her role behind the camera — and holding the purse strings — has been a bit different than the previous recipients.

“I’m an executive, you know, in many ways I am the killer of art,” she said. She noted that her first time in Cannes she was with the “amazing auteur film called ‘Austin Powers the Spy Who Shagged Me.’”

On a serious note, she acknowledged that as an executive she does need to take the financials into consideration, but balances that by understanding that greenlighting a film can contribute to culture change. “You start thinking about inclusion, diversity, representation, and when you realize that, that ‘yes,’ it actually becomes easier.”

She echoed the words of Viola Davis, who received the award in 2022: “I hope my ceiling is somebody else’s floor.”

“Let’s just keep doing the work. It’s never ending. It never stops,” she concluded, joking she didn’t want to keep the audience from their food any longer. The first course was served just a few minutes before the clock struck midnight.

Newly named Boucheron ambassador Pierre Niney was wearing a cascading diamond brooch taking a new twist on the traditional bow tie. “I’m still discovering the jewelry and the ways they are inventing. I love the audacity of the brand,” he said. His style has changed since joining the house last month.

“I don’t usually wear much, but now that I’m working with Boucheron I’m starting to really dig it,” he said, showing off a handful of rings.

He spoke to the call for equality in the film industry in both France and the U.S. that has been a focus at this festival.

“Tonight, it is useful to stress the path that we are on, but we need to do the work that is still necessary to get there. And there is still work to do,” he said. His film “Count of Monte Cristo” will have its world premiere out of competition on Wednesday.

Han So-hee
Han So Hee

Niney sat at the Boucheron table with “Emily in Paris” actress Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu and South Korean star Han So Hee, who was entranced with the live performance and filmed the live flautist and violinist duo on her phone.

Saint Laurent’s Vaccarello was seated with Catherine Deneuve, while jury president Greta Gerwig and jurors Lily Gladstone and Eva Green sat at a center table flanked by Cannes Film Festival general manager Thierry Fremaux and French Minister of Culture Rachida Dati.

Launch Gallery: Inside the Kering Women in Motion Dinner

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