Braided up-dos make comfortable chic this summer

It’s one thing about yourself you can change. Again and again. Hair. Candyfloss pink, flame red and all sorts of neon. Top knot or chignon. High bouffant or low ponytail — sometimes both on one head, like Nicole Kidman at the Cannes film festival’s opening ceremony this year. Side-swept old Hollywood or slanting new geometry. Shone smooth as a mirror, messed up rough into a deliberate bed-head. Highlighted or coloured global. Dip-dyed or bleached. French braid or fishtail. With bangs or without. There’s ‘The Karlie’ and there’s ‘The Kate’. With the sun beating down, though, the discomfort caused by thousands of strands clumped together on a protesting neck make one more practical. Braided knots here tick two boxes — a welcome nudge to Greco-Roman, while a comfortable alternative to most of the above. Cannes, here, showed the way.

Freida Pinto started it with a braided knot at the premiere of The Great Gatsby, where she turned up in a Gucci dress worn with a gold belt. Very neo-toga.

Carey Mulligan went for a braided up-do at the premiere of the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.

Berenice Bajo, who won Best Actress for The Past, attended the film’s photo call earlier in the festival in a braided up-do (with a Louis Vuitton jumpsuit), as did Chinese actor Fan Bingbing (a Cannes regular) at the screening of Young and Beautiful.

Jury member Nicole Kidman, however, gets a standing ovation; the coiled braid at the La Venus a la Fourrure (Venus in Fur) premiere managed to upstage the Chanel dress that walked underneath.