By StyleWatch
Updated May 23, 2008 03:58 PM

Tonya Wise/London Ent/Splash News

Anyone can buy a dress off the rack, but when Michelle Williams began to ready for her first trip down the red carpet since Heath Ledger‘s death, only something special would do. The actress was radiant in a Chanel Haute Couture lace dress made in 1926 pulled from the house’s archives. Her stylist Cher Coulter tells PEOPLE that they started by “digging through archives to find something memorable and demure.We were honestly inspired by her hair.” And when the dress arrived in New York, “it felt so precious and special and perfect for Michelle. It echoed her effortless sense of style, always keeping things original and elegant.” Her feathered Manolo Blahnik sandals came from Jeffrey New York — Coulter describes them as “soft and pretty and the perfect color for the dress.” And as for Michelle, she “fell in love with it straight away.” We have too! Click here to see all the glamorous stars at Cannes.

–Reporting by Courtney Rubin