Battle of the ball gowns as stars descend on opening night of Cannes 2010

Rarely have the fashion and the film world come together so spectacularly.

With all eyes on Cannes for the opening of the 2010 film festival, Hollywood's leading ladies didn’t disappoint on the red carpet in an array of voluminous ball gowns that set a glamorous tone for the remainder of the 12-day event.

Firmly in the spotlight was Cate Blanchett who appeared with her co-star Russell Crowe for the world premiere of Robin Hood – the first film to be shown.

The Elizabeth beauty looked almost regal in a gown created by the late English designer Alexander McQueen accessorised with jewels from Van Cleef and Arpels.

She decided upon an edgy black and white creation featuring the motif of an eagle, which was set off by the gown's white tulle hem.

And her bold choice was by no means out of place at the screening.

Cannes jury member Kate Beckinsale was another silver screen beauty embracing the 'bigger is better' approach.

She wowed in a strapless blue draped Marchesa gown with a ruffle skirt that brought extra sparkle to proceedings thanks to the beautifully embroidered bodice and diamond drop earrings.

Also going for out-and-out drama was Eva Longoria Parker, who certainly delivered in a striking white Emilio Pucci chiffon number with a statement train.

She joined her L'Oreal colleague, Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai who shimmied down the red carpet in a blue Elie Saab Couture gown.

Also adhering to the full-length and fabulous dress code was Natalie Imbruglia who led a host of ladies choosing slinky dresses over bigger ball gowns.

One of the first to arrive at the premiere, the Aussie beauty stepped out in a champagne Alberta Ferretti gown with crystal embellishment and a metallic clutch bag.

Salma Hayek – dressed, of course, in a gorgeous Gucci gown from her husband's company – and Roberta Armani also selected sleek numbers for their first appearance at this year's festival.

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