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Golden Globes all-black wardrobe protest could hinder fashion deal-making

Cloud of sexual harassment scandals, #MeToo hanging over Sunday’s Golden Globes
ABOVE: Cloud of sexual harassment scandals, #MeToo hanging over Sunday's Golden Globes.

We’re expecting a black out at the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday — on the red carpet, that is.

In December, it was discovered that actresses were planning to wear black to the Golden Globes in a show of solidarity in light of the sexual harassment scandals that have swept Hollywood. Since then, an initiative called Time’s Up has launched, comprised of 300 prominent women in the movie industry that has, among other things, set up a $13-million legal defence fund to help less privileged women protect against sexual misconduct and the ramifications of reporting it.

READ MORE: Hollywood women to wear black to Golden Globes to protest inequality

The initiative also requests that all actresses walking the red carpet at the event wear black in order to raise awareness. Now, some are taking it further and requesting that brands, which have been known to pay stylists or stars themselves to wear their clothes, instead donate those funds to Time’s Up.

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“Instead of stylists taking money from brands under the table for their clients to wear the goods, or celebs taking money over the table, people are asking for a sizable donation to the group,” one fashion publicist who asked not to be named, said to the Hollywood Reporter.

The practice of paying celebs to wear their designs on the red carpet has become something of an open secret in Hollywood. In a panel discussion at the Vulture Festival in 2015, a number of celebrity stylists revealed the politics and payment that often go on behind a red carpet look.

“Jewelry people are paying, shoe people are paying, tampon companies are paying, everyone is paying,” said Jessica Paster, whose star-studded clientele includes Rachel McAdams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Emily Blunt. It could be just paying the stylist and we get anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000. Or it’s paying the actress something between $100,000 and $250,000.”

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She called these deals “ambassadorships,” saying that the stars act as ambassadors for the brand, and presumably the stylist is the ambassador enabler. And now actresses including Shailene Woodley are asking for these paid “ambassadorships” to be donated to Time’s Up’s legal defence fund.

Karla Welch, who works with Elisabeth Moss, who’s nominated in the Best TV Drama Actress category, said she will be donating her rate to the fund.

“Everyone has been really supportive,” she said of fashion designers to THR — an industry, it bears mentioning, that has also been dealt a blow in sexual misconduct allegations. “Designers have remade dresses in black; it’s been pretty awesome.”

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The frantic scramble to redesign red carpet hopeful dresses in black is as much due to time constraints as nature — the bomb cyclone in New York has forced many to work double-time to get the dresses done and shipped to Los Angeles in time for Sunday.

“We had to recut two custom pieces and change them to black,” designer Christian Siriano, who dressed Angela Bassett, Issa Rae and Rachel Bloom for last year’s Golden Globes, said. “But I have learned in this business that sadly things change last-minute all the time, so it didn’t bother us.”

READ MORE: Men to join women and wear all black to Golden Globes 2018 ceremony

At the end of the day, exactly how much money changes hands, and whose hands they pass through, is still fairly hush-hush, but one thing is certain: Sunday’s red carpet will look vastly different from seasons past and the conversation will no longer hinge merely on “who are you wearing?”

“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” Eva Longoria, who is a member of Time’s Up, said to the New York Times. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colours and our beautiful faces and our glamour. This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”

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Check back to GlobalNews.ca for full coverage of the 2018 Golden Globes on Sunday, Jan. 7.