Scarlett Johansson is the first A-lister to wear Marchesa since the Harvey Weinstein scandal – and she has been heavily criticised for doing so.
Naturally, it wasn’t long before the Marchesa dress began making headlines – and not necessarily for the right reasons.
As many news outlets have pointed out, the once-popular label is designed by Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife of Harvey Weinstein.
To date, more than 100 women have accused the disgraced Hollywood producer of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct. Thirteen of these women – including Rose McGowan and Asia Argento – have accused him of rape. And reports have also alleged that a number of actresses – including Felicity Huffman, Jessica Chastain and Sienna Miller – were pressured into wearing designs from Marchesa, with Weinstein threatening to end their careers if they didn’t support his wife’s label.
“[Weinstein] was the mastermind behind Marchesa, orchestrating deals and using his influence in terms of the celebrity connections for [Chapman] on behalf of the brand,” a publicist explained to The Hollywood Reporter.
As such, Marchesa has been noticeably absent from all major red carpet events this year. In fact, Johansson is the first celebrity to wear the label since the Weinstein scandal first broke – a fact which hasn’t gone unnoticed on social media.
georgina was potentially a victim of weinstein, but weinstein used the brand to harass and intimidate actresses. marchesa as a brand should die and georgina could easily create something new w/o a horrid history— 🔪kathibal (kethy)🔪 (@ghostdrive) May 9, 2018
scarlett's dress was pretty but far too tame for the met gala and it being marchesa doesn't help 😬— becka* (@captain__evans) May 8, 2018
Now, the Avengers: Infinity War actress has released a statement defending her decision, telling E! News: “I wore Marchesa because their clothes make women feel confident and beautiful and it is my pleasure to support a brand created by two incredibly talented and important female designers.”
Marchesa also released a similar statement about Johansson’s dress, saying: “We are truly honoured that Scarlett chose to wear Marchesa for the Met Gala. She is an amazingly talented actor who has incredible style and presence.
“It was wonderful to work so closely with her in creating this custom look.”
Neither statement addressed Weinstein or the scandal.
Celebrities wearing Marchesa to the Met Gala does not support Harvey Weinstein in any way whatsoever. His EX wife founded the brand, not him. She’s a victim herself, what are people even talking about? She literally left him and did not condone his actions when she found out— marnie (@mrrrnie) May 9, 2018
So people are attacking ScarJo for wearing Marchesa because Harvey's wife should he punished too?— Amy Boughner (@amyboughner) May 9, 2018
Although Harvey Weinstein funded Marchesa, his wife and another co-owner built the brand. I don’t think it’s fair to punish those two women for his bullshit— 🤷🏾♀️🤦🏽♀️ (@liiyah_xo) May 9, 2018
In October 2017, shortly after the first accusations against Weinstein were made public, Chapman announced that his actions were “unforgivable”.
The Marchesa co-founder said: “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions.”
Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, went on to reveal that she had decided to separate from the accused producer.
“I have chosen to leave my husband,” she said.
“Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.”
Of course, many have since suggested that Chapman must have known about her husband’s predatory behaviour. However, Vanessa Lloyd Platt, a highly-regarded divorce lawyer, has said that it is “unfair” to blame the designer for anything involving Weinstein’s conduct.
Speaking on Talk Radio, she said: “People are saying in many articles ‘surely the wife must have known’. Why did she stay with him, surely that was encouraging him?
“I think that’s unfair. As we all know, wives of people who have had thoroughly disreputable reputations and have done heinous crimes had no clue in the world what their partners were up to.”
Lloyd Platt continued: “I think the media is also very unfair to say the only reason she’s chosen to leave now is because she wants to protect her brand. She wants to protect her children, not the brand.
“Therefore, she’s choosing this moment now, she thought she could stand by him. She was probably persuaded there was nothing in any of these allegations.”