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In the month since the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted, fashion insiders have wondered if his estranged wife Georgina Chapman’s fairy-tale-like eveningwear and bridal label could survive the association with the mogul, who wielded his power to help turn Marchesa into a must-wear for stars at the same time he was allegedly forcing himself on victims.
“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, who remembers Weinstein’s strong-arm tactics from the early days of Marchesa, which launched in 2004, including the time he pushed Felicity Huffman, then starring in The Weinstein Co.’s Transamerica, to wear Marchesa to the 2006 Globes.
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.
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. And Chapman, 41, has made no public appearance since debuting the brand’s Fall 2018 bridal line on Oct. 6, unusual during New York’s fall social season.
The stakes are high for Marchesa, a privately held apparel brand available at more than 75 points of sale worldwide and at more than 10 websites (it has never released sales or profit numbers). But while there may be a red carpet revolt afoot, some 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.
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.
Still, if Marchesa continues to thrive, it may be in spite of Hollywood, though 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.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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