Back in 2001, when Ocean’s Eleven had its debut, the very idea of a female-led cast producing a similar blockbuster that people would actually want to go and see was nothing short of inconceivable. The premiere itself only featured a few token women – most notably Julia Roberts, the lone female actor in the film with any sort of major part, and Jennifer Aniston, on the arm of then-husband Brad Pitt. So, to see the all-female cast of Ocean’s 8 descend on London last night for the UK premiere, in all their powerful, stylish glory, felt like the red-carpet moment none of us knew we needed. Until now.
While only six of the eight leading actors were there – Anne Hathaway and Awkwafina were absent from the event – it felt like a celebration. Not only are the main actors all female, they’re also a mix of ages and races and all successful women in their own right. All have carved out brilliant careers for themselves in both Hollywood (a male-dominated industry, obviously) and the music industry (just as bad, if not arguably still worse, for a lot of female artists).
And they all looked absolutely brilliant on the red carpet. Cate Blanchett was typically glorious in Louis Vuitton, Sarah Paulson is surely the only person who could pull off that long, tiered, scallop-edged, pink Valentino gown and Mindy Kaling was resplendent in embellished Alberta Ferretti. Helena Bonham Carter chose silver sequins by Vivienne Westwood and Sandra Bullock looked awesome in her own sparkly jumpsuit designed by Zuhair Murad. And then, there was Rihanna.
Rocking up slightly late to proceedings, Rihanna wore a gold Poiret dress, posing for cameras and sending the tabloids into typical frenzy over the fact that she – gasp! – has boobs. Ignoring those inevitable headlines, it’s harder to ignore the fact that on her own, Rihanna’s success is almost overwhelming. Her recent foray into the fashion and beauty industry (with her ongoing collaboration with Puma, Savage x Fenty and Fenty Beauty) has not only proved her unparalleled selling power, but also her commitment to bringing greater – and much needed – diversity to the world. But added to the mix of the other Ocean’s 8 stars, you’re left with a group of women who make for a truly formidable force. A truly formidable, brilliantly dressed force at that. This film is a trailblazer in many ways, so we can only hope it does well. And, judging by the current US box-office figures (over the weekend, it pulled in an estimated $41.5m, smashing the figures of Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13), that looks very likely.
With a more diverse cast of women than we’ve seen in a blockbuster Hollywood film, possibly ever, we should all cross our fingers that this is only the beginning of a new era. An era in which the red carpet becomes a place to celebrate powerful, talented women.