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‚Äôs brand, Marchesa. It‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs alleged behavior. In October, for example, Felicity Huffman, of ‚ÄúDesperate Housewives,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs fall collection was canceled.
So Johansson‚Äôs 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‚Äôs legendary editor in chief, called Johansson‚Äôs move a ‚Äúgreat gesture of support,‚ÄĚ on ‚ÄúThe Late Show With Stephen Colbert‚ÄĚ on Wednesday.
‚ÄúGeorgina is a brilliant designer and I don‚Äôt think she should be blamed for her husband‚Äôs behavior,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs the most the public has heard from her since the scandals involving Weinstein exploded.
‚ÄúThe interview will be interpreted as an attempt to rehabilitate Chapman‚Äôs fashion brand, Marchesa, which was tainted by its association with Weinstein,‚ÄĚ the Guardian noted.
Chapman¬†told Vogue¬†she never suspected her husband of wrongdoing. ‚ÄúAbsolutely not,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúNever.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThere was a part of me that was terribly naive ‚ÄĒ clearly, so naive,‚ÄĚ she said at another point, tearfully.¬†‚ÄúI 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?‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúI had what I thought was a very happy marriage.‚ÄĚ Chapman told Vogue. ‚ÄúI loved my life.‚ÄĚ
She said she kept a low profile after the allegations surfaced because she was hurt, humiliated and protective of the couple‚Äôs children, India, 7, and Dashielle, 5. She canceled her fashion show and didn‚Äôt offer gowns during awards season because, ‚Äúwe didn‚Äôt feel it was appropriate.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúAll the women who have been hurt deserve dignity and respect, so I want to give it the time it deserves,‚ÄĚ Chapman said.
Wintour is not the first to come to Chapman‚Äôs defense. In December, the actor Alyssa Milano appeared on the ‚ÄúMegyn Kelly Today‚ÄĚ show and said that Chapman was ‚Äúan amazing woman.‚ÄĚ Milano and Chapman had worked together on ‚ÄúProject Runway: All Stars.‚ÄĚ
Milano‚Äôs support of Chapman swiftly drew¬†critics. Rose McGowan, a Weinstein accuser and Milano‚Äôs co-star on the show ‚ÄúCharmed,‚ÄĚ said Milano‚Äôs support for Chapman made her ‚Äúwant to vomit.‚ÄĚ¬†Ironically, it was Milano‚Äôs October tweet urging women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted to write ‚ÄúMe too.‚ÄĚ Soon after, the #MeToo movement surged.
‚ÄúShe goes through very dark times,‚ÄĚ Milano said of Chapman on the show. ‚ÄúShe‚Äôs 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‚Äôs a good woman.‚ÄĚ
For her part, Johansson said she chose a Marchesa gown as a show of support for the women behind the brand ‚ÄĒ Chapman and co-founder Keren Craig.
‚ÄúI wore Marchesa because their clothes make women feel confident and beautiful,‚ÄĚ Johansson said in a statement to Variety, ‚Äúand it is my pleasure to support a brand created by two incredibly talented and important female designers.‚ÄĚ
Meagan Flynn contributed to this story.
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