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“It’s not beautiful. It’s grotesque. It’s ridiculous.” So said Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux in 2018 as he decribed the horror of seeing guests take selfies on their phones on the Palais red carpet.
The practice has been banned in Cannes ever since, though many still flout the rules. Dozens of guests are seen pressing their luck, sneaking snaps ahead of every premiere. Even Tom Hanks took several shots with his phone — right in front of Frémaux! — before heading into the world premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis last year.
But there is another, much more undercover way to capture the moment: Ray-Ban Stories, smart glasses with a built-in camera and more. Though not new — the line debuted in September 2021 in collaboration with Facebook — the specs are gaining popularity thanks to the influencer crowd. It’s no surprise, as Facebook and EssilorLuxottica, Ray-Ban’s parent company, designed the glasses to do more than just capture content with the tap of a finger. The line comes tailor-made with smart technology, including an optimized Snapdragon processor; dual integrated, five-megapixel cameras to capture photo and video; speakers; and a three-microphone setup for audio, calls and videos. Paired with the Facebook View app, users can import, edit and share content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat.
Starting at $299, Ray-Ban Stories are available in a variety of styles, like the classic Wayfarer, retro Round and Meteor, each of which comes with a choice of 20 frame and lens color combinations — something that seems like it would appeal to Hanks, who wore a pair of chic glasses up the steps of the Palais. (He’s due back again this year as part of the A-list ensemble of Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City.)
“People fall down the stairs because they’re looking at their cellphones,” Frémaux said in 2018, expressing his frustration at selfie-takers. “Plus, you don’t come to Cannes to be seen, but to see.” Thanks to glasses that record the scene, you can do both.
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