Sep 13, 2019 | By Athena Chen
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The Golden Globes red carpet on Sunday evening was a backdrop on which stars could make both style and social statements… but fashion definitely took a back seat.
In a 12-month period that has seen the box office breaking records globally, it’s still not been a great year for Hollywood as scandals around sexual harassment have led to several careers spectacularly crashing and burning. Gender pay gaps ever more in the spotlight and red carpet fashion choices for this event were pulled into the mix.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes wasn’t so much the absence of colour with the stars all choosing to wear black, but the absence of Marchesa.
The label co-founded by Harvey Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman used to be one of the biggest red carpet names. But despite their marriage split since revelations about Weinstein’s behaviour came out, Marchesa clearly remains a toxic brand.
Instead, stars chose to wear a variety of labels, as mentioned with the colour choice universally black, which was selected as a sign of solidarity with the women (and men) who have suffered from Hollywood’s casting couch and ‘don’t tell’ culture.
The move to black and the sombre mood generally also meant that extravagance seemed out of place for most. Claire Foy, star of The Crown, summed this up by walking the red carpet with co-star Matt Smith in a DB black pantsuit by Stella McCartney.
Meanwhile, Debra Messing wore a dress/pants combo by Christian Siriano (and in a live interview with E!, criticised the channel’s gender pay chasm), while Alexis Bledel (The Handmaid’s Tale) mix black with white in an Oscar de la Renta jumpsuit.
There were some more elaborate looks on offer but Dakota Johnson in Gucci summed up the mood. That label is known for its maximalist approach but served up a very simple black velvet gown with a diamanté clasp at the waist as the sole concession to decoration.
And while stars usually arrive accompanied by partners, designers, directors et al, this time the choices were different here, too, and so was the conversation. Discussion of who designed what dress seemed somehow out of place as celebs highlighted other industries where harassment and low pay are big problems.
Meryl Streep arrived on the red carpet with activist Ai-jen Poo, Amy Poehler was joined by Saru Jayaraman who works to boost working conditions in the restaurant trade. Laura Dern was joined by farm workers activist Monica Ramirez and Michelle Williams turned up with Me Too campaign founder Tarana Burke.
But Oprah Winfrey stole the show with a speech that told powerful men who abuse women that “their time is up”. Hopefully that statement will be borne out by actions this year and in the future.
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