Weinstein effect Womenswear

Hannah Rose Prendergast

12 Feb

The Weinstein Effect on Womenswear

Marchesa, once a red-carpet staple among celebrities, has been tainted by the co-owners now ex-husband, disgraced film producer, Harvey Weinstein. After ten years of marriage, Georgina Chapman announced her divorce just days after sexual abuse allegations were beginning to mount against Weinstein back in October.

Chapman and Keren Craig launched the designer womenswear label in 2004. Over the years, Marchesa expanded to include a diffusion line, a bridal collection, evening bags, and shoes. As it turns out their signature embellished tulle gowns were not only funded by Weinstein, he was also bullying actresses he worked with into wearing Marchesa on the red carpet.

Of Notte

Most recently, Marchesa canceled their Fall 2018 presentation during New York Fashion Week in favor of a digital presentation.

While red carpet endorsements will likely be no more, the controversy may not affect Marchesa’s relationship with retailers. And although their luxury clientele is paying close attention to the name, they aren’t always making the connection with Weinstein.

International stockists still include big names like Bergdorf Goodman, Kleinfeld, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, and countless other bridal boutiques.

It’s hard to accurately gauge retail sales, as there is no way of verifying claims made by store reps or if other variables (i.e. markdowns, a personal relationship with the brand) would be of influence.

Weinstein effect Womenswear


A Million and One Questions

So, is it okay to wear Marchesa if the business profited from Weinstein’s aggression and abuses?

Well, how much did Chapman know?

Is willful blindness (and/or perhaps duress) enough to exempt her from any wrong-doing in the matter?

Chapman either knew or had an idea of what Harvey was up to; which makes her complicit in the whole thing or if she had no clue; she’s an innocent victim. But if I had to guess I would quote Rose McGowan on this one; “Everybody knew.”

Throwing Away the Champagne with the Cork

Operating under this assumption, Chapman is guilty but because we can’t know her degree of involvement, it’s hard to pass judgment. Consider too, what role, if any, did her design partner, Keren Craig play in all this? What about all the other Marchesa employees? Pinpointing how far back accountability goes is not only arbitrary but unfairly punishing.

With so many more questions than answers, this is a topic that for me, is hard to take a stance on. But alas, at the dawn of the #MeToo campaign, it’s easy to see why support for the brand has largely been withdrawn by public figures. While I do understand their hesitancy around wearing or associating themselves with Marchesa, I don’t believe the label deserves a lifetime of condemnation. Whether or not their amazing talent and design can overcome this and sustain them as a brand, only time will tell. But in the same vein as ‘believing the woman’, we should give Marchesa the benefit of the doubt.

Photo credits: The Coveteur, Instagram

Weinstein effect Womenswear



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