Kering Women in Motion Honors Michelle Yeoh at Cannes
Since its launch at Cannes in 2015, Kering Women in Motion has highlighted women in cinema—both in front of and behind the camera—whose work helps to transform the way we see the world. This past weekend Academy Award-winning actress and producer Michelle Yeoh was named the 2023 Women in Motion Award honoree at the plein air event held in the picturesque Place de la Castre in Cannes’ old town.
To accept the honor, Yeoh chose a custom Balenciaga Couture black micro beaded bustier column dress. She matched Hayek Pinault (in a custom Balenciaga black silicone lace gown), Isabelle Huppert (in a Balenciaga Couture black gabardine swing back jacket and tailored trousers and black jersey turtleneck), and Anok Yai (in a black Balenciaga Couture shiny silk taffeta dress). “Noir” singer Yseult also wore all-black, as did actress Roh Yoon Seo, actor Turbo Liu, and model Vittoria Ceretti. Naomi Campbell, meanwhile bucked the trend in a white Balenciaga dress and pantaleggings.
Hayek Pinault and Huppert are past recipients of the Women in Motion Award, as are Viola Davis, Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Patty Jenkins, and Gong Li. The initiative has also expanded to recognize women affecting positive change in other artistic genres including art, design, photography, music, and choreography.
“Kering and the Cannes Film Festival loudly proclaim, yes, women can have ambition,” Cannes Film Festival president Iris Knoboch said in her opening remarks. “Yes, women can succeed and be proud of their accomplishments. Yes, women deserve the spotlight.”
Pinault then enumerated a few of the many reasons—beyond her Best Actress Oscar—that Yeoh was selected as the recipient of this year’s Women in Motion Award: “She’s one of those international icons to whom people turn to dream bigger. She’s one of those heroines who inspire the wildest ambitions. She’s brave and tenacious. She’s passionate and hardworking. She’s strong and sensitive. She’s powerful and independent, and she’s a role model for new generations around the world.”
In her acceptance speech, Yeoh thanked Knoboch, Pinault, and Kering for “recognizing the importance of women’s voices in the arts and for creating this platform to celebrate them.”
“For too long, we as women have been left out of rooms and conversations,” Yeoh continued. “We have been told the door is closed to us. Well, Virginia Wolfe once said, there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind. Our ideas are endless. Our passion is infinite and we have come to knock that door down.”
Yeoh discussed how she draws inspiration for the positive personality traits she strives to embody everyday from some of the many characters she has portrayed on screen over her four-decade career: fearlessness (Wai Lin from Tomorrow Never Dies), determination (Julian from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and love (Evelyn Wong from Everything, Everywhere, All at Once).
Yeoh also described how she wishes to use her long-overdue recognition to empower other women: “I stand here for all who are still to come: for every little girl with big dreams, for every young woman paving her way, for every woman my age breaking out of every box she had been placed in. I am holding the door open for you. We will never let it be closed again.”
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