Cate Blanchett wearing a favorite black lace Armani Prive gown at the 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival in France - May 8, 2018 Cate Blanchett wearing a favorite black lace Armani Prive gown at the 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival in France - May 8, 2018

It’s been a dark opening to the 71st Cannes Film Festival, with black ensembles dominating the red carpets.

Maybe it’s because the South of France’s premiere film festival is synonymous with bright, bold colors that this latest wave of monochrome is so startling. The trend inescapably recalls the blackouts which prevailed all through Awards Season in support of the Time’s Up campaign and the #MeToo movement. Does this mean the protest against sexual harassment and power abuse will continue at Cannes?

Judging by the first few red carpets, the answer appears to be yes. Apart from dressing head-to-toe in the sobering hue, Penelope Cruz and this year’s jury president Cate Blanchett made strong statements for sustainability with their outfits at the festival’s opening ceremony on May 8. Penelope’s sophisticated black Chanel Couture gown was vintage and accessorized with fair trade Swarovski ruby earrings.

Similarly, Cate’s Armani Privé dress is one of her favorites, having served her well before now, at the 2014 Golden Globes. “From couture to T-shirts, [the] landfill is full of garments that have been unnecessarily discarded,” the Oscar winner told InStyle. “Particularly in today’s climate, it seems willful and ridiculous that such garments are not cherished and re-worn for a lifetime.” A dazzling pair of Aphrodite’s Garden earrings from Chopard accented Cate’s eco-minded ensemble.

Another member of this year’s jury, Kristen Stewart, likewise joined team monochrome at the opening ceremony in an embellished Chanel Fall 2018 halter neck dress. With her hair several shades darker than we’ve seen it for some time and sporting a glimmering smoky eye, the look took us back to the star’s Twilight days.

There are already signs that the somber tone set on opening night is spilling over into the rest of the festival. Today, Penelope Cruz and Virginie Ledoyen both opted to don classy dresses — again in black — at photocalls for Un Certain Regard and Everybody Knows.

It’s looking like this might be the year that goes down in history for a notable absence of vivid colors at Cannes. If that is the case, at least it will also be remembered as the year that celebs walked the walk, took a stand, and “pressed for progress” in the spirit of this year’s International Women’s Day. With women outnumbering men on this year’s jury, it’s clear that the 2018 Cannes statements for equality have only just begun. — jas