The Cannes Film Festival is currently underway in its 69th year, and we’re already luxuriating in the glamour it offers. And yet, when we look back upon its nascent days—like say, 1956, a mere decade after it began—we all once again must admit that today’s vampish models and slinky ingenues got nothing on the queens who ruled the golden era of the silver screen.

Above, Ursula Andress is swarmed by fans, press, and paparazzi in 1960, a sort of gleaming snowflake among dark suited, scowling men.

In 1958, it’s Jayne Mansfield with her husband, Mickey Hartigay. Note that she is wearing polka dotted lucite mules and twin cherry diamond earrings?!


Also ‘58: Elizabeth Taylor and then-husband Mike Todd. TRUE QUEEN.

Actor/writer Keiko Kishi having her portrait painted by Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita seaside, 1958.


1958: Italian actor Rossana Podesta by the sea, the vision of romance.


Sophia Loren, so everything!

Tiny Edith Piaf, then 46, and her husband Theo Sarapo, then 26. A woman after my own heart.


The title of this image is simply “party capers,” from 1962. This would never happen now, or if it did, we probably wouldn’t see it like this.

Images via Getty