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At the 2017 Academy Awards, one year ago this week, stars including Octavia Spencer and Olivia Culpo walked the Oscars red carpet looking resplendent in their Marchesa gowns.
That likely won’t be the case this year. For the first time since the brand launch in 2004, zero actresses wore Marchesa to the Golden Globes, a trend which will almost certainly continue at the Oscars March 4 The once beloved line was a mainstay at major Hollywood events as recent as the Emmys in September 2017 the fall of Harvey Weinstein also implicated his ex wife , Marchesa co founder Georgina Chapman. With the brand canceling their New York Fashion Week show in February and their designs all but disappeared from the red carpets, Marchesa future is uncertain.
think it’s pretty obvious why we’re not seeing Marchesa on the red carpet right now, says Tom Fitzgerald, who critiques celebrity fashion with his husband Lorenzo Marquez at Tom and Lorenzo. Chapman has more or less gone into hiding and no one in Hollywood wants to touch any brand or project associated with Harvey Weinstein, even tangentially. Marchesa at this point in time could be read as tacit support of Weinstein at worst and complete ignorance of the news at best, and neither is a good look, says Jessica Morgan, one half of the Fug Girls, who founded the celebrity fashion blog Go Fug Yourself in 2004 with Heather Cocks. from a purely PR related level, wearing Marchesa is going to open a celebrity up to questions that she is not going to want to have to answer, namely, you wearing Marchesa as a vote of support for Harvey Weinstein? began dating Chapman in 2004, around when the designer was launching Marchesa with co founder Keren Craig. Weinstein was the kingmaking head of Miramax at the time, and it wasn long before a Miramax associated actress gave Marchesa its major red carpet debut, with Ren Zellweger wearing one of the line gowns to the Miramax film Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason London premiere.
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In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, speculation has swirled about whether, as part of his tyrannical and abusive Hollywood reign, he demanded talent to wear his wife designs to major events. I helped, but just very, very little, with Ren Zellweger, Weinstein told Vanity Fair in 2013 about his influence, stopping short of any other admissions.
has always been a persistent rumor that actresses in Weinstein projects were more or less ordered to wear Marchesa,” Fitzgerald says. “We don’t know if that’s true, but the fact that it disappeared at the same time Harvey Weinstein fell into disgrace suggests there’s some connection in people’s minds.”
In the years after Weinstein and Chapman pairing, not an Oscars or Golden Globes would go by without Marchesa dressing actresses in romance on steroids, princess fantasy gowns, Marquez says. style has always been very approachable, understandable, and relatively easy wear to wear. Big gowns with lots of flowers and sparkle in traditionally feminine colors. he added, weren’t exactly re inventing the wheel. Marchesa has gained a different reputation, inextricably linked to Weinstein downfall. And the brand whiplash fast change in fortunes raises questions about whether Chapman, who was married to Weinstein during the years when he committed heinous acts of abuse and blackmail, can ever escape the specter of her ex husband.
On the one hand, Weinstein felling of Marchesa can seem deeply unfair to Chapman and her co founder Craig, two female designers who built a brand with staying power.
the scandal, Marchesa was considered one of the many reliable go to lines for something girly and glamorous. However much money Harvey may have sunk into it, and whatever strong arming he may have done, the line got where it did because people chose to keep wearing it, Cocks says. “Whatever roots Harvey helped her put down, (Chapman) grew the tree. She and Keren designed the clothes; their craftsmen made them. The people I feel sorry for are the employees who depend on (Marchesa’s) income, and to a lesser degree Keren Craig, her partner who can at least more plausibly claim not to have known any salacious details about Harvey’s misdeeds.”
of the worst things about the MeToo fallout is the way people rush to find a woman to blame for a man’s actions, Fitzgerald agreed, while acknowledging that it hard to ignore the benefits Marchesa saw from Chapman and Weinstein partnership.
didn’t want to assume that Georgina Chapman was somehow complicit in Harvey Weinstein’s actions, but it’s hard not to see how much she benefited from her marriage to him, when you note how many of the actresses in his films wound up wearing her dresses to promote them.
Georgina runs into problems is: Harvey’s grossness sounds like it was the worst kept secret in the industry, and that fact that she’s stayed with him for so long, and had his children, makes it a real challenge to imagine that she had never heard a whiff of any of it, Cocks says. can be a sad figure who was just trying to make a business alliance that would create a legacy for herself, and also have become complicit. She had two decades to morph from one into the other, and I suspect that’s where the truth lies. and Weinstein reached a divorce settlement in January, per People and E! News, which may signal the beginning of Marchesa road to recovery, with Chapman also appearing on the forthcoming season of Project Runway All Stars airing later this year. Yet, Chapman will need to do more than separate her financials from Weinstein to help her brand recover from its near fatal blow.
think it’ll be hard for Marchesa to come back. Not without heavily stage directing the redemption tour, Cocks says. the thing is, even if Georgina is totally sincere in all of it and just genuinely got blind sided, there are a lot of PR hurdles for actresses to get over if they wear clothes whose funds in any way line Harvey’s pockets. The cynic in me thinks Georgina filing for divorce was the first step in that plan. I’d also expect a tearful interview, and maybe a brief pause in activity before a relaunching maybe via a runway show.
To gain trust back from Hollywood and the public alike, Chapman will likely have to become the face of Marchesa recovery. And that means speaking publicly about the scandal, which she hasn done since issuing a short statement in October announcing she was leaving her husband.
a name change, or Georgina possibly starting a line under her own name, the Marchesa brand might be able to bounce back if it comes back with a new line making a new statement, Marquez says. the world something they wouldn’t expect from you. Give them reason to believe you’ve turned over a new leaf and have a new approach. Not because she’s guilty of anything, but because the brand will need to shed any associations with its past. A radical new creative direction is what it needs. course, that’s only possible if Hollywood is willing to take Marchesa back.