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Bella Hadid represents Palestine with keffiyeh dress in Cannes

Bella Hadid shows Palestinian pride in keffiyeh dress at Cannes
4 min read
25 May, 2024
The Palestinian-American supermodel was photographed at this year’s Cannes Film Festival wearing the iconic Palestinian symbol fashioned as a dress.
Bella Hadid attends the "L'Amour Ouf" (Beating Hearts) Red Carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2024 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Palestinian-Dutch-American supermodel and entrepreneur Bella Hadid has caused traction for her latest show of pride for Palestine- by donning a sundress for the 2024 Cannes Film Festival inspired by the Palestinian keffiyeh. 

Hadid was seen promenading in the French Rivera while off duty on Wednesday, dressed in a red and white strappy dress in a proud display of her Palestinian roots. 

The dress itself is a 2001 archive piece by New York based brand Michael & Hushi, headed by Michael Sears and Hushidar Mortezai. 

Known for their politically charged work, the designers told British fashion news publication Dazed that the significance behind Hadid’s dress was meant to emphasise fashion as a political statement. 

"In a time of genocide and oppression Bella is not afraid to show her roots – no one should be," Mortezai told Dazed.  

"She works the media to share her message and her voice, and that is incredible. Hers is a message of love, survival, and unity, and so is mine. That is the embodiment of this Michael & Hushi vintage dress."

Hadid herself has been an outspoken voice in promoting Palestinian rights- particularly in the wake of Israel’s military offensive on Gaza

With Cannes being one of the most highly publicised festivals in the film industry, several stars also used the opportunity to showcase their public support on the world stage. 

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Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett wore a Jean-Paul Gaultier satin dress on Wednesday night, whose colours were said to be incorporated from the colours of the Palestinian flag. 

Additionally, French-Algerian actress Leila Bekhti, was spotted wearing a heart-shaped pin, designed with the seeded pattern of a watermelon, at the Cannes film premiere of Australian filmmaker George Miller’s 'Furiosa'. 

Indian actor and model Kani Kusruti also walked the red carpet for her film 'All We Imagine as Light' on Thursday carrying a watermelon-shaped bag. 

The watermelon has been regarded by activists as a defining symbol of the pro-Palestine movement. 

Meanwhile, Jordanian film costume designer Phaedra Dahdaleh sported a traditional Palestinian dress during the Cannes premiere for the Saudi film Norah. 

Shows of pro-Palestine solidarity has been rare at the internationally-renowned film festival, as Cannes has pre-emptively banned protests during the event's length of 11 days. 

However, in 2022, the festival’s organisers banned Russian delegates from attending following their country’s invasion of Ukraine

In the same year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise appearance at Cannes’ opening ceremony, during a live stream from Kyiv.  

"On February 24, Russia began a war of huge proportion against Ukraine with the intention of going further into Europe," Zelensky said in 2022. 

"Will cinema stay silent or will it talk about it? If there is a dictator, if there is a war for freedom, again, it all depends on our unity. Can cinema stay out of this unity? We need a new Chaplin who will prove that, in our time, cinema is not silent."

At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, various filmmakers have emphasised the importance of highlighting Palestinian voices in film. 

While Israel's pavilion at Cannes is promoting its filmmaking, Palestinian cinema does not have its own tent at the event. 

However, Algeria has made space for its filmmakers at the other end of the international market in Cannes. 

"Our narrative and storytelling is more important than ever," Norway-based Palestinian director Mohamed Jabaly told French news agency AFP

Dozens of filmmakers and actors have also come together to attend a Wednesday rally organised by French women’s group Guerrières de la Paix (Warriors for Peace). 

Attendees called “in one breath” for an urgent and immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all remaining hostages held in the devastated territory. 

In the fight to continue raising awareness of Gaza in world cinema and beyond- they raised placards to spell out their demands in Arabic, Hebrew, French and English- as a universal cry for justice and peace.