Is it anti-feminist to support Marchesa, or is it anti-feminist not to? That is the question.
When Scarlett Johansson stepped onto the red carpet at the Met Ball on Monday, her dress made waves, and it wasn’t because it was off-theme. The Avengers actor boldly chose to don a blood-red Marchesa gown for the night’s festivities, ending Hollywood’s apparent shunning of the label helmed by Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman, who also happens to be Harvey Weinstein’s ex-wife.
Back in 2017, when the Weinstein scandal made headlines, many celebrities, stylists, and fashion industry insiders were quick to shun Chapman and Marchesa indefinitely. Anyone wearing a dress by the Weinstein-backed label was seen as a traitor to the #MeToo and Times Up movements. And last February, Marchesa’s New York Fashion Week show, which has been a part of the NYFW schedule for over 10 years, was cancelled last-minute by the designer.
But has Johansson’s decision to support Marchesa overturned her blacklist status? Will we see the brand back at Fashion Week come September? Chapman sure hopes so.
“We are truly honored that Scarlett chose to wear Marchesa for the Met Gala,” said Marchesa in a statement. “She is an amazingly talented actor who has incredible style and presence. It was wonderful to work so closely with her in creating this custom look.”
Opinionated bystanders and #MeToo victims weren’t so quick to forgive the designer, though, proving that the issue is still highly divisive.
“Wait…Felicity Huffman admitted that Weinstein threatened her career unless she wore #Marchesa, insisting he wouldn’t put any money behind her ’05 film “Transamerica” if she didn’t wear his then-wifes design on a red carpet. And ScarJo still wears it? Poor taste. #MetGala #Metoo,” writes artist Joy Villa on Twitter.
It’s no secret that many people hold the Chapman accountable for her ex-husband’s actions. During his reign, Weinstein was notorious for forcing actresses to wear Marchesa gowns at movie premieres, events, and the like, which helped solidify the brand’s status as a must-have for Hollywood’s elite.
Many spectators believe Chapman knew about her husband’s misdeeds all along, and kept mum simply because she wanted to maintain her brand, rather than risk it all for a few actresses. There were also suspicions that Weinstein likely paid her off in the same way he has with countless other people of power. In that regard, it’s anti-feminist for Chapman to not have spoken out against Weinstein, given her relationship and high profile status.
But that’s where things get murky. On the other hand, who really knows what conversations took place behind closed doors between Chapman and Weinstein? He may have threatened to bump her off, and that same speculative audience would be none the wiser.
Proponents of ScarJo’s decision agree that wearing Marchesa was an excellent choice. In fact, to many, it would be anti-feminist to not support another woman who probably also faced a great deal of abuse in her own marriage.
“Punishing women for the crimes their husbands commit is the ANTISTHESIS of supporting the #MeToo movement. I dont care how much of his $ was used to build #marchesa. Fuck that. Punishing Georgina, Hillary, Melania, even fucking Camille is NOT helping ANYONE heal. THEY’RE VICTIMS,” tweeted one user.
It is, after all, Harvey Weinstein who committed these acts of sexual misconduct, and more, against the endless list women (and men) in Hollywood. How was Chapman to know? And why should she be held responsible for a man’s actions that are not mutually exclusive to her own?
Johanssen eventually spoke up and defended the label, stating, “I wore Marchesa because their clothes make women feel confident and beautiful and it is my pleasure to support a brand created by two incredibly talented and important female designers.”
If one thing’s for sure, Craig and Chapman are certainly important in the fashion and film worlds. But are those days of glamour gone for good, or will the design duo be welcomed back onto the red carpet with open arms?
We will have to wait and see.