THERE ARE SO MANY things to like about Emma Thompson. She smiles with her eyes; she poses lightheartedly for the camera. You can imagine having a conversation with her like you would with a good friend. She didn’t hesitate to call Harvey Weinstein a predator, not a sex addict, or to raise hell when a co-star in the 2008 film Brideshead was asked to lose weight. Then there are her two Oscars—one for best actress in Howards End and another for best adapted screenplay (she writes, too) for Sense and Sensibility. She has been in a slew of other films and TV adaptations (notably “Wit”) and has two new films, The Meyerowitz Stories and The Children Act.
JANET: The 5-foot-8-inch, 58-year-old Thompson keeps it simple and comfortable in Cannes, above, with a long, loose tunic and white cropped pants with decorative gold buttons. The gold does a repeat in her necklace, which ties both halves of the outfit together. Her bootie-like shoes with a cut-out in the vamp are unusual, but the more I look at them the better I think they look here than the expected sandal.
NANCY: Yes, simple. Also quite casual. The men at her sides are in suits, which leads me to think the occasion was supposed to be a bit more dressed-up. That said, as I’m sure Kathy will point out, Thompson sure looks comfortable!
KATHY: She does indeed look comfortable. No wobbling around in horrible heels. I’ve long been a Thompson fan. She seems like she would be the best girlfriend ever. Smart, fun and funny. Plus her acting talent is beyond brilliant, in my opinion. She always appears confident and at ease, which is why this casual combo works so well on her even in a high-octane locale like Cannes. The focus is on her. Not her clothes, even if the clothes are as breezy as these. Goodness knows she can go glam. I remember the Armani (I think) gown she wore when she accepted her Howard’s End Oscar. It was divine.
JANET: This is a great color for Thompson, who glows in her two-piece suit. I would have liked the scooped-neck black top to have some detail to hold its own against the striking suit. As we’ve pointed out before, buttoning a jacket all the way up makes it puff out in an unflattering way. Thompson pulls it off anyway as she mugs for the camera, looking as if she’s making fun of her bizarre-shaped shoes.
NANCY: I’m as big a fan of ankle pants as Thompson seems to be. Even at 5-foot-8, she benefits from not looking nailed to the floor, which is sometimes the effect, I think, of longer trousers. That separation between pant and shoe does call for a substantial shoe; I mean, if it’s hanging out there, it had better have some personality (maybe not as much as the weirdly cut shoes she wore in Cannes, though). One question arises: Has anyone seen Emma Thompson’s waistline recently? Not that any fashion law requires her to show it, just wondering.
KATHY: Interesting. I had never considered longer trousers having that effect, but since Nancy has pointed it out I must give it more thought. Thanks, Nance. I’m not nuts about this suit. Seems a bit frumpy. Although that could just be the result of the camera catching a gesture in mid-movement. But I do like the shoes, and her blond bob is quite youthful and flattering. I’m a fan of out-of-the-ordinary shoes. They can add some spunk to an otherwise meh outfit.
JANET: It’s clear Thompson puts a premium on comfort, wearing slightly flared cropped trousers, an untucked shirt and flat sandals. We’ve talked before about the wisdom of a uniform (which this black and white combo looks like), particularly when you’re traveling.
NANCY: Yes, yes! This is the look I aspire to just about every morning. LittleBird Kathy often dresses like this and looks just as crisp and pulled-together as Thompson does. Just looking at this woman makes me happier; she looks as if she’s fun to be with. And her outfits get that message across rather well.
KATHY: Love it! She’s wearing my go-to outfit. You can never have enough black pants and white shirts. Doesn’t she look wonderful? Hmmmm, I think I need that necklace.
NANCY: Okay, not my favorite look. Hate the pants. And the shoes. Even the top. It’s athleisure unbridled. But it’s clear at this point that Thompson cherishes comfort, and the outfit does look comfortable. So I’ll shut up.
JANET: Thompson is adorable, and I like the color here, but I’m not a fan of elastic-hem pants. Reminds me of pajamas. Even if the carpet is pink, it’s not sophisticated enough for a star of Emma Thompson’s magnitude.
KATHY: On this one, the LittleBirds are in complete agreement.
NANCY: So this seems to be a slightly dressed-up version of what is clearly Thompson’s uniform. Note to self: The short crop of that jacket is not a help; it cuts across her at her widest, and since I have a lot of wide spots, I’d better forget this crop-of-the-moment. Thompson does seem to have a thing for weird shoes, which might be a challenge for a lot of us. Where everything else is simple, they provide the punctuation. Her neck looks rather bare, but I guess a necklace would have been too much in concert with those fanciful earrings—Thompson either has or is a good editor.
JANET: This whole look is a misstep on Thompson’s part. The short yellow jacket hits her at the widest part of her body, which does nobody any favors. The shoes look like a bad patchwork. That white strip covering the toes defeats the whole idea of sandals.
KATHY: Oh, Emma.