I will never believe that Georgina Chapman is a sympathetic party in this unfolding Harvey Weinstein story. I’m sure that makes me sound judgmental and heartless to some people, but I just can’t muster up any sympathy for her, really. I acknowledge that her life sucks now and I acknowledge that her family has been destroyed because she was married to a sexual predator. I don’t even believe that Georgina knew the extent of Harvey Weinstein’s behavior, and I believe she’s absolutely and genuinely horrified to hear these stories. But still: I save my sympathies for Weinstein’s victims, the women he assaulted, harassed and raped. Part of the reason why Georgina is not coming across as particularly sympathetic (to me, at least) is because whenever we hear about her now, it’s about her business and whether Marchesa will fold. Like…that’s a side-story, do people get that? But in case anyone was wondering, Marchesa will probably be fine. Sort of. From a lengthy article in The Hollywood Reporter:
No one will wear Marchesa at the Golden Globes. “Next up is the Golden Globes, and no one is going to wear it because they don’t want to answer the question, ‘Why?’” says stylist Tod Hallman… Since the Weinstein story broke Oct. 5, not a single star has been seen wearing Marchesa, according to Spotted, which tracks brands that celebrities wear by analyzing paparazzi and social media photos. Demi Moore was the last to wear it, donning a navy velvet and lace Marchesa dress Sept. 23 at a Fox party for Empire.
No more Marchesa diamond line: On Oct. 11, Helzberg Diamonds told The Hollywood Reporter it was dropping plans for a licensed brand of Marchesa fine jewelry. Several top stylists say they are steering clear of the brand.
But Marchesa is still selling in retail stores. Fashion retailers say it’s much ado about nothing. “My Marchesa business is fantastic,” says Neiman Marcus senior vp and fashion director Ken Downing, who hosted Chapman’s design partner Keren Craig on Oct. 25 in conversation at the Chicago store, after a luncheon during which Marchesa was honored by the Chicago History Museum Costume Council.
Marchesa Bridal is still selling too: Owners of the Kinsley James Couture Bridal boutique in L.A. echo that sentiment. “In our minds and in the mind of our brides, Marchesa as a brand is not associated with [Weinstein],” says Amber Silva, who co-owns the store with Dawn Silva Rigney. Similarly, Lovella Bridal in Glendale hasn’t registered a single case of buyer’s remorse. “If anything, we’ve been selling more Marchesa recently,” says store buyer and operations director Nayri Kalayjian.
Marchesa had been rarely worn by celebrities even before the scandal broke: The brand’s star wattage had dimmed even before the scandal. In the 90 days before Oct. 5, Spotted reports the two stars who had been wearing Marchesa most consistently were Olivia Culpo and Nina Dobrev, known actresses but not A-listers. Says one prominent stylist, “The people who have been wearing it are wearing it because they can’t get anything else.”
Ouch. Can a brand like Marchesa still thrive and sell in retail even if there are no celebrities wearing the label on any red carpets? I think it can, but Chapman will have to knowingly lean into this idea that Marchesa is not couture and not for the red carpet. Get the label away from the red carpet and focus more on creating wearable mass-market ready-to-wear lines. Focus on the bridal lines too, because I guess brides don’t care. Now I’m starting to believe that Marchesa can survive if Chapman is smart about her next steps, personally and professionally. Filing for divorce would be the next big move, and it would help people disconnect the label from Weinstein too.
Photos courtesy of WENN.