It was once the go-to fashion house for every aspiring actress on the red carpet.
However the 2018 Golden Globes may have sounded a warning shot for Georgina Chapman’s fashion label Marchesa, after not a single actress wore a stitch of the brand founded by Harvey Weinstein’s estranged wife to this year's ceremony.
In the course of several months of damaging revelations it has emerged that not only did Weinstein finance his wife’s brand he also pressured actresses to wear the clothes on the red carpet.
And apart from one statement in which she confirmed she was leaving her husband, and expressed sympathy for his victims, Chapman has said nothing publicly about the scandal.
This silence may, of course, be based on strict legal advice and a noble desire to protect her two children with Weinstein, but her incredibly low profile has done nothing to put clear blue water between her brand and her husband's behavior.
Indeed, it has increasingly appeared from many accounts that Marchesa was just one more vector used by Weinstein to assert control over the careers (and bodies) of women. It's hard to believe that Chapman had no idea her husband had anything to do with the stars such as Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lopez and Renee Zellweger who showed up at her studio for fittings to wear her dresses on the red carpet.
“He was the mastermind behind Marchesa—orchestrating deals and using his influence in terms of the celebrity connections for her on behalf of the brand,” an L.A. fashion publicist told the Hollywood Reporter of Weinstein. “They both benefited from the relationship, but she certainly knew about his bad behavior.”
The Hollywood Reporter claimed Weinstein pressured Felicity Huffman to wear his wife’s label when publicizing her 2005 movie, Transamerica. Huffman later confirmed that Weinstein threatened to pull financial support for the film if she didn’t wear the brand to the 2005 ceremony. She showed up in a flowing white Marchesa gown that year.
The Daily Mail reported that Sienna Miller was similarly pressured to wear Marchesa in 2007, the year she made another Weinstein movie, Factory Girl. Weinstein himself admitted to “maybe” helping Renee Zellweger pick a Marchesa dress for the premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
The future of Chapman’s once red carpet-friendly label, named after the Marchesa Luisa Casati, an eccentric 20th-century Italian heiress, and famed for its focus on intricate featherwork and fantastical detailing, now seems bleak.
Rose McGowan, the actress whose allegation that she was raped by Weinstein triggered the tidal wave of claims against him, has suggested that actresses “who happily worked for The Pig Monster” should wear the brand.
Although Chapman has made only one public statement since the scandal broke, it was reported in December that Marchesa will return to New York Fashion Week in February to present its fall collection.
It's hard to imagine who would sit in the front row of a Marchesa show in the era of #metoo.