“She couldn’t ignore it!” ; “How could she miss it?” ; “If I were her, I would be ashamed…”. When a man is caught in a scandal as huge as Harvey Weinstein’s, public opinion feels little empathy for his wife. Add to that her model figure, her face looking 10 years younger, and any housewife will want to send her to the stake.
But Georgina Chapman isn’t just a trophy woman. Clothing designer and entrepreneur, she is also the head of the luxury label Marchesa. Following the revelations of the New Yorker, she condemns her husband’s acts and asks for a divorce in the aftermath. Nevertheless, given the scale of the case, can the brand really recover?
Marchesa, the most romantic house
In 2004, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, two college friends, create Marchesa. “Marchioness” in Italian, the name refers to Luisa Casati, aristocrat, muse and patron of the early last century.
Caught under the wing of Isabella Blow (the Casati of our time), the brand does not take long to grow. Very quickly, a distribution line, more accessible, is introduced in department stores. The Marchesa universe rests on an exacerbated romanticism: roses embroidered on silk corsets, dresses with pearled basques, tulle trainings and lace sleeves… A style sometimes too much, with Prom accents, but definitely meeting its audience. As such, it is one of the last labels still having a workshop in Manhattan.
Beauty and the Beast
Georgina Chapman seems to be a wise business woman. However, one point comes up frequently among her detractors: from the outset, she is helped by Weinstein, whom she meets at her beginnings. While the brand isn’t even a year old, Renée Zellweger makes sales soar when she wears a Marchesa dress at the Bridget Jones premiere… produced by dear Harvey.
Sienna Miller, Felicity Huffman, Jessica Chastain: failing to rape them, he forces actresses to wear his wife’s creations on the red carpet. From the Oscars to Cannes, Marchesa becomes inseparable from the great ceremonies. An essential advertising for the brand, which essentially builds its reputation on celebrities and word of mouth.
So, one may wonder if slipping into a dress designed by Chapman does not amount to supporting his fallen ex — even indirectly, or financially. A position most women in Hollywood seem to share…
Towards a return to grace?
On May 7, Scarlett Johannson is the first public figure to wear a Marchesa dress since the charges’ start, marking her support for “a brand created by two incredibly talented women”. More and more voices are being raised in this direction, including those of the buyers of Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf and others, calling not to condemn the wife for the acts of her husband.
After seven months of silence, Georgina Chapman actually continues to seek support with a river interview in the pages of VOGUE, given three weeks ago. An opportunity to remind us how shocked she is, sorry for all the women, powerless in front of her children… and preparing the next cruise collection (arriving in store at the end of winter, editor’s note).
So, will striking the pose under Annie Leibowitz’s lens be enough to clear Marchesa‘s name? If we know one thing right, from Kate Moss to John Galliano, it’s how much fashion loves comebacks… •