Ehm! Indonesia's Beauty at the French Riviera

Ehm! Indonesia's Beauty at the French Riviera
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Amid the red carpet glamor and celebrity schmoozing of t he Cannes International Film Festival, actress Dian Sastrowardoyo finds herself with the honor of serving as the face of Indonesia for the first time. Founded in 1946, Cannes came into being right around the same time that Dian’s homeland gained its independence. Today the festival, named for the French Riviera town that plays host, is one of the international film industry’s marquee annual events. “It’s become one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world,” said Juliette Derosiaux, audio visual executive of the Institut Francais Indonesia. “Every year, the best movies from all over the world, from all genres, are presented.”

A series of film screenings, master classes and exhibitions are scheduled during the 12-day festival, which wraps up on Sunday. But perhaps the most popular feature is the red carpet processions, in which world-famous celebrities looking their best walk into the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, where the film festival is held. This year, Dian will share in that limelight. L’Oreal Paris has selected the actress as its first Indonesian brand ambassador to attend the prestigious gathering. “I feel honored and grateful to have been chosen,” Dian said, beaming. L’Oreal Paris has been the official makeup partner of the event for 15 years. Every year, L’Oreal invites international brand ambassadors, who are all famous actresses, to the festival. This year, Dian will attend Cannes along with American actresses Andie MacDowell and Aimee Mullins, Chinese beauty Gong Li, Australian actress Megan Gale and Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor. “This is a very important chapter, a new chapter in the history of L’Oreal Paris in the Cannes Film Festival,” said Vismay Sharma, president director of L’Oreal Paris Indonesia. “As a tribute to Indonesia as a country and a tribute to the Indonesian market, this year, for the very first time, we invited an Indonesian spokesperson to the Cannes Film Festival.” Dian is also the first brand ambassador from Southeast Asia to represent L’Oreal at Cannes. “China, India and Indonesia are countries with the biggest populations in Asia,” said Monika Ardianti Sugiharso, marketing manager of L’Oreal Paris Indonesia. “L’Oreal Paris has agreed that it’s time for Indonesia to have a presence in the international film festival this year.” The selection process began early this year, with L’Oreal Paris Indonesia forwarding Dian’s profile to its headquarters in Paris. “Dian has multi-dimensional beauty,” Monika said. “She’s not only beautiful on the outside, but she’s also very talented.” The 30-year-old film actress started her career as a model, which took off in 1996 after winning Gadis Sampul, a beauty pageant held by Gadis magazine. It was film director Rudi Soedjarwo who first recognized her acting talents and invited her to star in “Bintang Jatuh” (“Shooting Star”) in 2000. But it was her second movie, “Pasir Berbisik” (“Whispering Sands,” 2001) that catapulted Dian to stardom. The film earned Dian the Best Actress awards at the Deauville Asian Film Festival and the Singapore International Film Festival in 2002. She also won the title of Best Actress at the Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) in 2004, for her role in the movie “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?” (“What’s Up With Love?,” 2002) and 2005’s Most Promising Newcomer title at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Kuala Lumpur. “I’ve attended a number of international film festivals before,” Dian said. “But none of them matches the scale of the Cannes Film Festival that I’m about to attend. I’m so thrilled.” Dian will attend a series of media interviews and cocktail parties over the weekend. “I’ll be the first one [brand ambassador] from Indonesia in Cannes,” she said. “The reporters will surely ask a lot about Indonesia.” Dian and her team have been preparing to answer those questions. “I have to be prepared to answer their questions about the current issues on Indonesia, such as gender equality and poverty alleviation,” she said. Dian will also appear in the most anticipated event of the festival, the closing ceremony, where the coveted Palme d’Or is awarded to the international film industry’s best. How has Dian prepared for the big event? “I have to look my best,” she said. That has meant a strict beauty regime for more than a month prior to Dian’s departure for France. “No matter how tired I am at night, I have to clean up my face and diligently apply the night cream,” she said. “Soft and supple facial skin is very important for the perfect look.” Famous American makeup artist William Norris Brasfield, also known as Billy B., will do Dian’s makeup. Billy B. is one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the world. Among his loyal clientele are top names in the international music industry, including Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Mary J. Blige. During the film festival, Dian will show off the latest makeup collection from L’Oreal, “Cannes Electric.” The new palette is dominated by neon-bright colors, such as fuchsia, red and orange. “The colors are perfect for Dian’s light brown skin,” L’Oreal Paris Indonesia makeup artist Adi Adrian said. The dresses that Dian wears will also be under the spotlight over the course of the week. For her media interviews in Cannes, Dian will wear an off-shoulder cocktail dress by top Indonesian fashion designer Sebastian Gunawan. “He [Sebastian] said that he was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s dresses in the 1950s,” Dian said. The A-line taffeta dress will be enhanced with a handwoven shawl from Bali. On awards night, Dian will wear an evening gown by haute couture designer Eddy Betty. “It’s such a privilege for me to design a dress for the red carpet moment at Cannes,” Eddy said. “I’m both anxious and thrilled. The dress has to be excellent. All eyes will be on it.” Eddy’s creation was inspired by Indonesian dodotan, or a long piece of batik wrapped around the body and secured with a knot, usually worn during traditional Javanese ceremonies. His one-shoulder dress has ornate floral embellishments on the bodice and draperies cascading down the lower front of the skirt. It is embellished with French Chantilly lace in various hues of orange. “I tie-dyed it myself,” Eddy said. “I think orange goes very well with Dian’s beautiful skin color.” For the after-party, Dian will wear designer Didit Hediprasetyo’s silver long dress, which is made of handwoven songket from South Sumatra. “It’ll be very elegant,” Dian said. Yet for Dian, her appearance at Cannes is about more than just looking good and scoring publicity. “I see it as an opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge and experience in the film industry,” she said. “Hopefully, I can use [both] to contribute to the Indonesian film industry.”

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