Hollywood Stylists Returning to Marchesa

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Scarlett Johansson wearing Marchesa at the 2018 Met Gala

Ilaria Urbinati, Karla Welch and Samantha McMillen are among those supporting Harvey Weinstein's ex-wife, Georgina Chapman.

Since Anna Wintour and Vogue magazine sent out a lifeline on behalf of Harvey Weinstein’s ex-wife Georgina Chapman and her fashion label Marchesa earlier this month, Hollywood has been slow to answer the call. Until now. Hollywood stylist Ilaria Urbinati, who works with a who’s who of leading men mostly, including Donald Glover, Rami Malek and Tom Hiddleston, has written an impassioned Instagram post about the scandal that has prompted more than 2,000 likes and more than 100 comments of support, including from fellow stylists Karla Welch and Samantha McMillen, who together work with Tracee Ellis Ross, Elisabeth Moss, Dakota and Elle Fanning and more.

“Bravo @Vogue for an empathetic article & Anna Wintour for speaking out on her behalf in the editors letter,” writes Urbinati. “Even though i lack insider info, I found it disappointing that people jumped to the seemingly popular conclusion that “she knew” or the equally finger-pointing “how could she not have known.” I don’t know Ms Chapman but it feels hypocritical to have blamed, ostracized and shamed the female for the horrid acts of her male counterpart. To have turned her and her children into pariahs. To have blacklisted the company she started with her best (female) friend.”

The stylist continues: “I don’t see how it’s right to have completely thrown her under the bus alongside him despite the fact that she left him. It reeks a bit of the old habit of asking the woman what SHE did wrong when the husband cheats.”

Urbinati acknowledges that dressing a star in Marchesa on the red carpet will be challenging, however: “As a stylist, putting her dresses on clients is tricky because I wouldn’t want to enforce that kind of scrutiny on a client. That would have to be their choice.”

She concludes: “As a woman. i urge everyone to remember that as outraged as we all might feel about him, it probably pales in comparison to the shame & emotional upheaval she’s had to endure this year. And as a mom, I pray her kids will never have to take on the wrathful judgement of other kids at school and that of their parents. Let’s remember that so much of this time of change should be first and foremost about having each other’s backs.”

It's worth pointing out that it may have been easier for Urbinati to speak out publicly on the issue because she works primarily with men, not women (she does style Shailene Woodley, however). And not every comment on her post is in agreement. One person wrote: "Personally, I think we need to follow the lead of the women who were forced to wear these gowns and listen to them...How do we go about rectifying the fact that he forced the actresses that he abused to wear Marchesa and funded it?"

At least one actress, Felicity Huffman, has said that Weinstein threatened her career if she didn't wear Marchesa.

Wintour’s three-pronged strategy started at the Met Gala, which is her party, as everyone knows, for which Vogue magazine is involved with dressing every starring guest. At the “Heavenly Bodies” themed gala on May 7,  Scarlett Johansson became the first A-lister to wear Marchesa on the red carpet since the Weinstein scandal broke in October. She appeared on the arm of Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost, wearing a gown that was rife with symbolism; an ombre scarlet red, it looked blood-stained and battle-worn, but also beautiful. And it was probably no coincidence that it was worn by an actress named Scarlett, conjuring memories of Nathanial Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter about Hester Prynne, who, after conceiving a daughter through an affair, is forced to wear a scarlet “A” for adultery on her chest.

That newsmaking red-carpet turn was followed by a lengthly Vogue profile of Chapman by writer Jonathan Van Meter, in which the designer, who married Weinstein in 2007 and filed for divorce earlier this year, says she didn’t have any idea what he was up to. Wintour herself went on television to address the topic further on CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in a final bid to help her friend boost her business and perhaps open the door to other stars to wear the brand on the red carpet.

In the days that followed the Vogue profile, some of Weinstein’s accusers spoke to The Hollywood Reporter in support of the lifeline, but several stylists, who are the conduits to A-list talent and what they wear on the red carpet, were still reluctant to speak out. During the two weeks of the recent Cannes Film Festival, there were no Marchesa dresses on the red carpet, and there haven’t been any at high-profile premieres, either. We'll see if the crimson tide really turns.