The Cannes Film Festival red carpet recycled into handbags

The Cannes Film Festival red carpet recycled into handbags


The Cannes red carpet has been transformed into a handbag by the Marseille association Les Nippones.

CANNES – Nothing is lost, everything is transformed. The Marseille association Les Nippones gave a second life to the red carpet unfolded during the 74th Cannes Film Festival in 2021. From this used red carpet after the fortnight dedicated to cinema, the association has made bags that it sells on local markets.

It all started in 2021, when the Cannes Film Festival donated its famous carpet to the Réserve des arts, an association that helps cultural and craft professionals enter a circular economy. After recovering 2.6 tons of red carpet, she called on the Japanese to exploit this material.

Find a new use for the red carpet after the festival

Our association aims to manage and promotewaste, in particular textiles. We therefore seek to develop products from materials destined to disappear.”, explains Elsa Yordikian, who created Les Nippones a little over a year ago with his mother Nathalie. The project therefore corresponds perfectly to their practices and values. Upcycling and “zero-waste” make it a family affair.

During a five-month residency, they were challenged to find a new use for the red carpet, and so decided to make a series of bags. Five prototypes were then created in carpet, a material which “is not highly valued, and which has difficulty flowing” according to the association. Soberly named “Red Carpet”, the series notably presents a model inspired by the details of the Birkin bag from Hermès.

The Japanese

The Japanese have created a series of bags from the Cannes red carpet, including a model inspired by the Birkin bag from Hermès.

Based at the Friche de la Belle de Mai in Marseille, the Japanese sell their creations on local markets for €50 each. On their stand, the designers have installed their own red carpet, on which they invite customers to walk. “No one believes us when we tell them it’s the real thing,” they quip.

In Saint-Cyr-sur-mer, or at the Cité des arts de la rue in Marseille, “people are quite intrigued and interested. Our stand can be seen from afar, we are recognized thanks to that”, they add. “We were even asked to make wine bags out of them, for plocal producers based in Cannes. That makes sense for them to reuse the carpet from the festival for the local cellars”, they specify.

The Japanese

The Japanese have created a series of bags from the Cannes red carpet.

“You have to keep in mind that the product has lived”

They see it, selling bags made from recycled materials is not easy. “It remains difficult to haggle. It’s still too early to sell waste, it’s not accepted,” they lament.

“You would almost have to hide it, but we are proud to revive materials that had to go to landfill and transform them,” explains Elsa. “I come from a modest family where recycling is nothing new. With us, nothing is thrown away,” agrees Nathalie.

The product has some scars from its old life. “Certainly it is damaged in some places, it is not perfect, but you have to keep in mind that it is a product that has had its day,” they point out.

A 60 meter long carpet changed every day in Cannes

After each edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the organizers find themselves with several tons of carpets under their arms. Installed on the steps, it is 60 meters long, and spreads over 240 m². It is changed every day by the teams of installers. Even if the festival has halved this replacement frequency since 2021, thus saving 950 kilos of fabric, the quantity of carpet remaining at the end of the fortnight remains considerable. This is why the introduction of this material into a recycling circuit is particularly important.

“It’s interesting for us to work with the Cannes Film Festival because it’s a big energy-consuming machine, which has been running for a long time. The organizers themselves realize what they produce and throw away”, explains Ariane Leblanc, in charge of development and members of the Réserve des arts.

Collected in warehouses, the fabric can then regain the usefulness it has lost. The Japanese are not the only ones to have benefited from it. “We also provided some of it to Leslie Bourgeois, a scenographer who made kimonos for his adaptation of The Seagulla play by Anton Chekhov”, adds Ariane Leblanc.

See also on The HuffPost: On the red carpet of Cannes, Omar Sy was overexcited



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