Jeff christensen/associated press


Sarah Polley, actress and Cannes jury member, walks the red carpet in a Wayne Clark dress.


Wouldn’t it be every woman’s dream to have the world’s most famous designers wooing you into their outrageously expensive clothes? Not Sarah Polley, the Toronto actor/director who is on the jury of this month’s Cannes Film Festival.

“When I came into the picture that’s exactly what was happening,” says Toronto-based stylist Linda Gaylard. In the weeks leading up to Cannes, Polley was bombarded with offers from international houses to wear their designs. “But Sarah was adamant that she wanted to wear Canadian,” Gaylard says. Polley already had a great relationship with Comrags’ designers Judy Cornish and Joyce Gunhouse and is often seen in their quirky but comfortable dresses. More recently Polley discovered the innovative cuts of Jeremy Laing. Both labels are based in Toronto.

“But Cannes has lots of red carpet commitments,” notes Gaylard. So Polley got in touch with Wendy Crewson, who is also a great supporter of Canadian designers, and asked who her stylist is. Crewson put her in touch with Gaylard. From there things had to unfold quickly —opening night at Cannes was less than a week away. On the plus side, at 5’5” and slim, Polley is a sample size. But her 5 1/2 shoe size would make finding shoes a challenge.

Gaylard flew in from Edmonton and headed for Wayne Clark’s studio the following day. “I picked up an armload of gowns from Wayne,” Gaylard says. “I knew Wayne did a lot of colour and I knew colour would be important. As it was, she chose to wear some black dresses, but they are frivolous and pretty. I also knew that Wayne has sample-size gowns, and Sarah is a sample size. And I knew she would like Wayne, who is a very gentle man.”

Gaylard also introduced Polley to Kendra Francis of the Franke label. “Kendra did a gorgeous platinum taffeta mermaid gown for the Toronto Fashion Incubator show and I was curious about what she was doing because her store had closed. And I felt that if Kendra got the publicity that comes from an international forum like Cannes, and started getting calls from L.A. or Europe, she could handle the requests. There is no point in bringing an unknown designer from obscurity to the world stage if they can’t meet the demands that might be made on them.”