The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Weinstein’s last pillar

Following allegations of sexual assault by countless actresses in the film industry, the future looks bleak for Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Maddie Rodbert discusses how this will affect his soon-to-be-ex wife’s brand Marchesa and how the fashion industry has responded to Weinstein’s horrific abuse of power

By

Unless you have been living under a rather large rock, you will recognise the name Harvey Weinstein that has dominated media reports in recent weeks. Weinstein is a big shot Hollywood film producer (Lord of the Rings, The King’s Speech, Pulp Fiction) who has recently come under fire for a long list of sexual assault claims from multiple women in various areas of the media. Weinstein’s success rests on quite a few pillars, in particular using the fashion industry to support him as well as launch his soon-to-be-ex wife’s brand, Marchesa.

Whilst the red carpet is frequently dominated by Marchesa outfits, Weinstein has also produced shows like Project Runway and has worked closely with Anna Wintour on various charity projects. But after the massive backlash against him, how has the fashion industry responded? And what will happen to the brand he helped create?

As of now, the answer seems pretty clear. Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor in chief and director of publisher Condé Nast, made an official statement to Style only a week after the news broke in the New York Times: “Behaviour like this is appalling and unacceptable. I feel horrible about what these women have experienced and admire their bravery in coming forward…we all have a part to play in creating safe environments where everybody can be free to work without fear.”

Top fashion designer Tom Ford has also stood against Weinstein, despite the fact that it was Weinstein who produced Ford’s biographical film: “What Harvey has done is shocking, indefensible and disturbing on many levels.”

Models Cara Delevigne and Heidi Klum have both claimed they have been abused by him on various occasions, as well as Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez who was the first to come forward with evidence against the producer.

However, the fashion industry has not been a united front. In a televised interview with the Daily Mail, Donna Karan claimed it is “how women are dressing” and “what they’re asking” by presenting themselves in a certain way that is the source of the problem.  This statement drew a huge amount of backlash, to which she has responded that the quotes were taken out of context and hopes no one believes she thinks sexual harassment is excusable in any context, however it is still the source of much controversy.

However, the question remains: what will happen to Marchesa without his backing?

Georgina Chapman is the co-founder of the brand, which produces high-end dresses and outfits to celebrities, particularly for high-status events. Soon after the brand first launched over a decade ago, the New York Times published an article noting that Marchesa had “a short walk to the red carpet” in 2005, which was around the time Weinstein and Chapman began to date. Gossip claims that Weinstein showed his support for the brand by coercing the celebrities he worked with to wear the brand at events, which has since been proven true by those who wore the designs.

It doesn’t seem surprising, considering many of the actresses that wore the brand have also made claims against Weinstein, including the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Despite Chapman announcing her split from Weinstein, the likelihood is people will not want to associate with the brand at all because of the connotations that come with it. The jewellery brand Helzberg has already backed out of a brand deal, while an anonymous retailer has predicted many stores will stop stocking Marchesa.  Weinstein’s success was key to bridging the gap between the pillars of fashion and film, so it is unclear how well the brand will do now since the fall of his last pillar in the fashion industry.