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Arts and entertainment

Hollywood’s red-carpet blackout gives labels opportunity to show solidarity

January 5, 2018

Many actresses are expected to wear black to the Golden Globes. Image credit: Dior, photo by Sarah Moon


In support of a Hollywood-led movement to combat sexual harassment, a number of celebrities are leveraging Sunday’s Golden Globes red carpet as a platform for protest.

More than 300 women who work in film, television and theater launched Time’s Up at the start of the New Year, joining together to help women in their own industry and those who are less privileged fight abuses of power in the workplace. To promote their stand, Time’s Up asked attendees to wear black to the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 7, connecting the brands worn to the cause.

"Luxury brands will have to make sure that they either push an assortment that includes black items from their upcoming collections or they will quickly have items made that can be done in black," said Kimmie Smith, fashion stylist and co-founder/style director of Athleisure Mag, New York.

"It is imperative that designers support this movement by ensuring that this color is available within their offerings to those going to the Golden Globes," she said. "This color is not atypical for most houses and it's not uncommon for brands to create pieces that may be capsule collections or exclusives for events of this nature."

Silent statement

Announced on Jan. 1, Time’s Up is supported by a number of actresses including Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone and Kerry Washington. The movement, which stems from the #MeToo conversation that followed allegations of sexual harassment against producer Harvey Weinstein, aims to take on inequality and injustice in the workplace, starting with ending silence about abuse.

While the blackout for the Golden Globes had been reported previously, Time’s Up made the call for subdued attire an official part of its debut statement.

In a report from The New York Times, supporter Eva Longoria explained the call for wearing black. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour,” the actress and activist said. “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”

Among the actresses said to be wearing black are nominees Saoirse Ronan, Allison Janney and Mary J. Blige.

The protest is not limited to women, either. Stylist Ilaria Urbinati, who works with Dwayne Johnson and nominee Armie Hammer, said all of her male clients attending would be wearing black as well, noting in an Instagram post that it is not a good time for someone to be the “odd man out.”

Black is expected to be the It color of the Golden Globes. Image credit: Armani

The show of solidarity is expected to be widespread. According to the Hollywood Reporter, stylists are filling up on black options, with showrooms noting that the only requests they were receiving were for black garments.

Award shows are often a platform for designer-talent collaborations, as high-fashion labels make one-off gowns or suits for stars. Some of these looks have been moved to future occasions in the award show season, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

This has also reportedly changed the way in which stars barter with brands for coveted placement, as they request donations over large sums for themselves. Typically deals between brands and celebrities can be highly lucrative for stars, with Emma Stone’s recent two-year Louis Vuitton ambassador contract, which includes red carpet dressing, reported to be between $6 and $10 million (see story).

Black is a classic hue for red carpet attire and is often sported by a number of women at each event, but the anticipated sea of dark gowns and tuxedos is poised to be a departure from the typically diversely shaded looks sported by celebrities.

With more actresses and actors opting for an onyx hued ensemble, design details such as cut, style and fabrication are going to be on display. This choice of black also offers chances to play with statement jewelry, which may be a boon to luxury houses that make frequent appearances on the red carpet, such as Harry Winston, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Piaget brand ambassador Jessica Chastain, a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement who is expected to be wearing black, will likely be sporting baubles from the jeweler (see story).

Jessica Chastain wearing Piaget. Image credit: Piaget

"As a fashion stylist who has styled red carpets looks for celebs and who enjoys seeing looks created by fellow stylists, past awards seasons are no stranger to stars including Sofia Vergara, J. Lo, Eva Longoria, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and more wearing black gowns as there are so many styles, fabrications, embellishments and more," Ms. Smith said. "It's important to note that black ensembles are not going to take away from the drama of previous red carpets.

"I believe that beauty as well as jewelry will continue to enhance and support the looks that hit the Golden Globes," she said. "This is such a key moment in our history and for these women to continue this movement for Hollywood as well as for women across verticals is an epic time to be a part of."

Not every star will likely opt to take on the somber theme. According to a report in People, some celebrities are reportedly balking the trend with bright gowns intended to mark women’s newfound power in Hollywood.

Cause-based carpet
In recent years, luxury brands have looked to make more than a fashion statement on the red carpet.

Precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski brought conscious luxury to the Oscars’ red carpet with the debut of Atelier Swarovski’s first fine-jewelry line.

For the last decade, Swarovski has been involved in the stage design for the annual Academy Awards, a relationship that has seen the brand provide more than 1 million crystals to create stage decor. Rather than speaking to Swarovski’s 85-year-old role in Hollywood as a costume and set design collaborator, last year, the crystal-maker chose to spotlight its ethical jewelry practices.

Atelier Swarovski’s fine-jewelry debuted on the red carpet as part of the “Red Carpet Green Dress” initiative (see story).

"I don't believe that the dresses will lose their center of attention - black is an iconic classic and dresses in this hue have graced the carpet before," Ms. Smith said. "If anything, these dresses become a symbol which will be memorialized and will still reflect the brand dominance.

"It's even more important for fashion brands to lend these look to the stars," she said. "There will still be best-dressed lists and pre-shows sharing what look is being worn. These are vital media spots that will continue to share this necessary placement.

"In addition, it's essential for brands to look forward to the duration of awards season as the impact of what takes place at the Golden Globes will set the foundation for the rest of the shows this season."