Meet Malayali stylist behind Kani Kusruti's awesome ensemble, watermelon clutch at Cannes

(Lto R) Actress Divya Prabha, director Payal Kapadia, Kani Kusruti arrive for the screening of the film 'All We Imagine as Light' at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP/File. (Inset: Stylist Diya John)

It took a Malayali artist to make a bold political statement at the renowned Festival de Cannes, often touted as one of the world’s biggest celebrations of cinema. Actor Kani Kusruti’s watermelon clutch that she flashed on the red carpet at the French Riviera had been grabbing attention. ‘All We Imagine As Light’, meanwhile, became the first Indian movie to be screened at Cannes in almost 30 years. The film’s director Payal Kapadia and the cast stole the show, with their incredible sartorial choices, on the red carpet of Cannes.

Kani wanted to project a strong political statement when she prepared her outfit and accessories for Cannes, which is also one of the biggest fashion events. Her close friend and stylist Diya John deserves credit for putting together such a classy look. Kani and Diya had a brainstorming session at the latter’s boutique ‘Salt Studio’ at Panampilly Nagar, Kochi before finalising the now famous watermelon clutch.

(L to R) Actress Chhaya Kadam, Kani Kusruti, director Payal Kapadia, actress Divya Prabha and actor Hridhu Haroon arrive for the screening of the film 'All We Imagine as Light' at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP/File

“Kani had clear ideas about what she wanted. We wanted something that was so artistic and beautiful yet not so loud. Our first choice was to add some embroidery detailing in the dress. However, we then thought that an accessory would be better. We decided to make the clutch after Kani too agreed to this idea. It was for the first time that a clutch was made at the Salt Studio. It was made entirely using fabric. We completed it with beadwork in watermelon colours,” says Diya.

Watermelon that bears the colours of the Palestinian flag has long been a symbol of resistance and solidarity. Even though the organisers of the film festival wished to avoid controversies on the red carpet, Australian actor Cate Blanchett too had worn Palestinian colours to show solidarity. 

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