Tuesday, 22 May 2018
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Georgina Chapman says she was never suspicious of estranged husband Harvey Weinstein

Georgina Chapman says she was never suspicious of estranged husband Harvey Weinstein
11 May
10:33

Actor Scarlett Johansson wears a Marchesa gown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala in New York on May 7. (Invision/AP)

First came the dress. A stunning off-the-shoulder burgundy gown worn by actor Scarlett Johansson to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute benefit in New York on Monday.

The dress created stir in the fashion word, Hollywood and social media because of it’s brand, Marchesa. It’s the brand co-founded by fashion designer Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who provided much of the financial backing. Numerous women began publicly accusing the movie producer of sexual misconduct last year, giving rise to the #MeToo movement.

When Weinstein fell from grace so, too, did the desire of Hollywood’s elite to been seen in Marchesa gowns. There were gossip stories and social media squawkers speculating that Chapman must have suspected or known about her husband’s alleged behavior. In October, for example, Felicity Huffman, of “Desperate Housewives,” told the Hollywood Reporter that Weinstein once threatened her career if she refused to wear a Marchesa dress.

In January, the runway show for Marchesa’s fall collection was canceled.

So Johansson’s stepping out in a Marchesa gown this week drew immediate notice, if only because other actors have steered clear of the brand. Anna Wintour, Vogue magazine’s legendary editor in chief, called Johansson’s move a “great gesture of support,” on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Wednesday.

“Georgina is a brilliant designer and I don’t think she should be blamed for her husband’s behavior,” said Wintour, who is also the organizer of the Met Gala.

Then, on Thursday, Vogue posted an article online based on a sit-down interview with Chapman. It’s the most the public has heard from her since the scandals involving Weinstein exploded.

Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman arrive at the Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif., in 2017. (Reuters)

“The interview will be interpreted as an attempt to rehabilitate Chapman’s fashion brand, Marchesa, which was tainted by its association with Weinstein,” the Guardian noted.

Chapman told Vogue she never suspected her husband of wrongdoing. “Absolutely not,” she said. “Never.”

“There was a part of me that was terribly naive — clearly, so naive,” she said at another point, tearfully. “I have moments of rage, I have moments of confusion, I have moments of disbelief! And I have moments when I just cry for my children. What are their lives going to be? What are people going to say to them?”

She said she lost 10 pounds in five days after allegations about Weinstein surfaced in investigative pieces in the New York Times and the New Yorker. Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd were among the actors making accusations. Soon after, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Weinstein, whose films had won numerous Oscars.

“I had what I thought was a very happy marriage.” Chapman told Vogue. “I loved my life.”

She said she kept a low profile after the allegations surfaced because she was hurt, humiliated and protective of the couple’s children, India, 7, and Dashielle, 5. She canceled her fashion show and didn’t offer gowns during awards season because, “we didn’t feel it was appropriate.”

“All the women who have been hurt deserve dignity and respect, so I want to give it the time it deserves,” Chapman said.

Wintour is not the first to come to Chapman’s defense. In December, the actor Alyssa Milano appeared on the “Megyn Kelly Today” show and said that Chapman was “an amazing woman.” Milano and Chapman had worked together on “Project Runway: All Stars.”

Milano’s support of Chapman swiftly drew critics. Rose McGowan, a Weinstein accuser and Milano’s co-star on the show “Charmed,” said Milano’s support for Chapman made her “want to vomit.” Ironically, it was Milano’s October tweet urging women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted to write “Me too.” Soon after, the #MeToo movement surged.

“She goes through very dark times,” Milano said of Chapman on the show. “She’s very sad. This is not easy for her, but I have no doubt that not only will she come out on the other side of this, but she deserves to. She’s a good woman.”

For her part, Johansson said she chose a Marchesa gown as a show of support for the women behind the brand — Chapman and co-founder Keren Craig.

“I wore Marchesa because their clothes make women feel confident and beautiful,” Johansson said in a statement to Variety, “and it is my pleasure to support a brand created by two incredibly talented and important female designers.”

Meagan Flynn contributed to this story.

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