Rolling Solo: Thandie Newton Made a Stylish Statement About Representation at Cannes

Thandie Newton and Stormtroopers attend the Solo: A Star Wars Story party at the Carlton Beach during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2018, in Cannes, France.
Photo: Antony Jones (Getty Images for Disney)

Fun fact: Thandie Newton collects Star Wars action figures. Well, only the black ones.

How do we know? Because she incorporated them into the Vivienne Westwood gown she wore to Tuesday night’s European premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which opens May 25 in the U.S. That’s right: Newton, who plays explosives expert Val Beckett in the film, figuratively brought Billy Dee Williams, John Boyega, Samuel L. Jackson, Forest Whitaker and Ghanaian actor Hugh Quarshie along as her guests, literally wearing her love for the characters they’ve played in the franchise on her sleeve (and her skirt, and her bodice, and her train).


How, you ask? Newton’s ivory silk gown was made using Westwood’s iconic “absence of roses” print, which was then customized with an overlay of silkscreened images of Newton’s collection of Star Wars action figures, photographed by fashion photographer Christian Hogstedt.

Paired with golden platform sandals and Newton’s natural curls swept up into a stunning pompadour, the effect was a dazzling tribute to the few black actors who have been immortalized as action figures by the Star Wars franchise (soon to be joined by Donald Glover). It’s also exactly the type of subversive yet subtle statement about black representation we’d expect from the actress who continually knocks Westworld off its axis.

Thandie Newton attends the screening of Solo: A Star Wars Story during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 15, 2018, in Cannes, France.
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain (Getty Images)

But Newton wasn’t the only one who arrived at the premiere in style; aside from her Solo co-stars, other notables on the carpet included models Lais Ribeiro, Maria Borges and Winnie Harlow; rapper and mogul 50 Cent; and ... a Michael Jackson impersonator?

Top row: Lais Ribeiro, Donald Glover, and Maria Borges. Middle row: Winnie Harlow. Third row: 50 Cent, a Michael Jackson impersonator and Thandie Newton.
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain, middle and bottom rows (Getty Images), Andreas Rentz, top row, center (Getty Images), Antony Jones, top left and right (Getty Images for Disney)

Want to know more about Newton’s character and what to expect from Solo: A Star Wars story? Check out her behind-the-scenes interview below:

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Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.