Israel Minister of Culture Miri Regev’s Gown Sparks Controversy at Cannes


Politics and fashion have been getting increasingly intertwined – especially if you count the statements political figures have lately been making through their clothes. Even the star-studded glamour fest that is the Cannes Film Festival is getting political, proving the trend is real.

This week on the red carpet at the French film festival, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports, Miri Regev, walked the carpet in a custom gold and ivory ballgown featuring the landscape of Jerusalem painted along the hem, reports The Guardian. The dress, designed by costume designer Aviad Arik Herman, was commissioned to commemorate the “liberation and reunification” of the the ancient, conflict-ridden city.

“I am proud to celebrate this historic date through art and fashion, and I am happy that this work by Israeli designer Aviad Herman is so moving and honors the beautiful status of our eternal capital Jerusalem,” Regev, a member of the right-wing political party in Israel, said in a statement.

Some, however, are taking issue with her choice of sartorial statement. Time for a refresher on international relations: Israel currently has total sovereignty over Jerusalem — hence Regev’s message of unification. But many view the Eastern side of the city as a territory in dispute between Israel and Palestinians. Earlier this month, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution that criticized Israel’s sovereignty, declaring the city occupied territory and Israel’s sovereignty over the city “null and void,” according to the full text of the resolution. In other words, Regev’s Jerusalem dress made for a very talked-about choice.

On Twitter, some people were quick to point out the political fashion faux pas, generating memes depicting their own views.

The Guardian also noted that some saw the dress as an allusion to the upcoming anniversary of The Six-Day War, in 1966, that led to Israel capturing the Old City of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post made the connection between this recent UNESCO resolution and the design of the Jerusalem skyline on Negev’s gown.

Fashion more than ever is a form of free speech. Regev’s Cannes dress made one statement, but Twitter responded with quite another.


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