After months out of the spotlight, Marchesa could be poised to make a comeback at the Emmy Awards next month.
When Scarlett Johansson wore Marchesa at the Met Gala in May — the actress said she made the choice to support designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig — Hollywood stylists began to buzz about whether more of their clients would follow suit.
While there are some who still can’t reconcile Harvey Weinstein’s actions with the fortunes of his estranged wife’s company — in which Weinstein may have had a financial stake — others are ready to move forward.
George Kotsiopoulos, who dressed celebrities like Kerry Washington in Marchesa’s heyday, said, “I think it’s about what’s happening now. What happened before is irrelevant. If Georgina can start fresh, wipe the slate clean, I think she has a huge chance because who wouldn’t want to support her? People liked Georgina and Keren. That goes a long way. And they were pretty dresses.”
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As for any lingering association with the Weinstein scandal, he asked, “So where does that end? We don’t watch a movie he’s produced or ‘Project Runway?’ There are so many other people involved. Many women and men have lost their livelihoods because of accused men leaving their jobs. If that fallout could be lessened in any way, then let’s lessen that. The men or women who work at these companies shouldn’t be punished.”
Micah Schifman, Sarah Silverman’s stylist, agrees. “I think people have turned the corner. I think the support for [Georgina] is so much greater than the ill will for him. Talking to other stylists at dinner, they are really rooting for the brand and Georgina right now and I would not be surprised to see one, maybe two, big girls wearing it at the Emmys.”
He said from a fashion perspective, “whatever people’s personal opinions are with the situation, they want to support a woman who appears to have been another victim of it.”
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He added, “The stylists and whichever talent wear it would get automatic press just for wearing it, and that might influence more people to pull for the brand, too. When Elizabeth Stewart put Cate Blanchett in the same dress twice, that really changed a conversation in the styling world. We are all following each other’s leads on which associations are too dangerous or who still needs to make up for bad behavior.”
As for whether Weinstein was the reason actresses wore the brand in its early days, Schifman said, “I know that there were people who felt pressured to wear it in the past but that’s gone now. The bottom line is everyone loves a comeback, especially in Hollywood. We are the quickest to turn our backs and even quicker to open the door on them.”
Veteran stylist Jessica Paster didn’t hold back on sharing her views.
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“Whatever people do in their personal life, what does it have to do with fashion? Georgina wasn’t the one hurting women. I love Marchesa and I think the girls are awesome. I’ll be dressing Amanda Crew and Ellie Kemper for the Emmys and of course I will be pulling it….At some point we need to move on. He himself will pay but someone’s spouse shouldn’t have to pay. Now did he say, ‘Actress A, B and C, will you wear it? Yes, he did all of that. You know what? A lot of people do that. Let’s not be too judgmental because we should all be looking at who we’re married to. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.”
Stylist Christina Pacelli said, “Obviously, there has been a settling out. I would not be surprised if we saw some amazing Marchesa moments with the Emmys, and I think that supporting their work at this point should continue. I’m excited about the new collection. It’s romantic and on trend.”
The fact that Marchesa has also supported size-inclusivity is also a plus in Pacelli’s book. “I work with so many actors and musicians who are of different sizes and Marchesa has been so great about custom looks.”
Patrick Herning, chief executive officer of size-inclusive luxury e-tailer 11 Honoré, said Marchesa’s support of his business has earned his support of theirs.
“There were 15 designers we launched with that drew a line in the sand about making larger sizes and it was important for me to support brands that took a chance on us, especially as a disruptive retailer. I differentiate between the brand and the scandal. It’s a brand women want and buy, and I’m in the business of delivering what the customer needs.”
He noted that Pierce Brosnan’s wife Keely recently wore Marchesa at the “Mama Mia Here We Go Again” premiere.
Tara Swennen, Kristen Stewart’s stylist, said she was rooting for female-led fashion houses in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
“I hope we’ve all gained an awareness from the first part of awards season. As a woman, I would support Georgina and Keren because they are artists making beautiful gowns.”