An Intimate Affair in Cannes

Ziyi Zhang was the belle of the quiet ball

Ziyi Zhang and Hidetoshi Nakata

“It’s risqué to have a dinner in Cannes,” says Stefano Tonchi. “There’s always a better movie and a better party.” Nevertheless, W’s editor-in-chief managed the impossible: an intimate meal during the movie world’s most hectic week. Held at the L’Ecrin Plage, there were no red carpets, no mandatory black tie, no VIP areas or VVIP areas—just good food, a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean and a handful of elegant guests.

Co-hosted by Nicolas Béliard, General Manager of the Peninsula Hotel in Paris, the dinner was a celebration of cultural relations between China and France. The belle of the ball (or non-ball, as it were) was Ziyi Zhang, playing the part of the most radiant Chinese cultural ambassador in history, appropriately clad in a vermilion frock. Meanwhile, the French contingency was well-represented by the dashing Gaspard Ulliel, dressed as sharply as he was when portraying the late, great Yves in the film Saint Laurent, which premiered at the festival.

As dessert was served, guests were treated to a ravishing display of fireworks over the water. But the spectacle was merely coincidence, set off for yet another event somewhere along La Croisette. Proof that, in Cannes, nothing is ever low key.

Photos: An Intimate Affair in Cannes

Ziyi Zhang and Hidetoshi Nakata.

Gaspard Ulliel and Gaëlle Pietri.

The atmosphere at L’Ecrin Plage.