Sunday 16 December 2018

LA scrambles for little black numbers as protest grows

Hollywood stylists fear there are not enough outfits to go around for Golden Globes show

Dress code: Alicia Vikander is considering not wearing black
Dress code: Alicia Vikander is considering not wearing black

Harriet Alexander

It is fast becoming the must-wear item of the Golden Globes awards: a little black number to be worn in protest at sexual harassment and abuse in the film industry.

But so popular is the show of support for hundreds of victims of abuse that stylists around Hollywood are tearing their hair out. It seems there just aren't enough black outfits to go around.

Tonight's event in Beverly Hills, California, is set to be the most prominent of the protests against misogyny that have swept through Hollywood since the allegations of sex abuse against Harvey Weinstein and others was exposed.

Designers and stylists are in a last-minute frenzy, some having more black attire rushed in from their fashion bases in New York.

One stylist, who dresses Mariah Carey, said: "We are all fighting for the same black dresses."

Andre Walker, Oprah Winfrey's hair stylist for over 30 years, said frantic alterations were being made because of the demand for black. He said: "It's incredibly stressful. If you plan a certain look for a while, your head is in a certain direction and all of a sudden you have to stop and be creative. It's a lot of pressure.

"If you're wearing a black dress that's fairly simple, so you can play with your hair. Braids are not gone, so I think we will see plenty of them, and perhaps more intricate up-styles.

"Oprah makes her decisions based on a lot of things. Whatever she does, it will be done with integrity. If she strongly believes in something she'll speak out."

Dozens of A-list actresses have pledged to wear black in the wake of the Weinstein scandal. But Mr Walker warned supporters of the #MeToo movement not to condemn those who choose not to follow suit.

Among those rumoured to be considering not wearing black were Sarah Jessica Parker and Alicia Vikander.

"They have their own reasons," he said. "There might be a backlash. I think if you show up in something really bright, they'll get a lot of attention.

"But there are some people who think there is no such thing as bad publicity. I don't think there should be any judgment."

Winfrey will be receiving the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award, deliver one of the main speeches of the night, and is expected to address the scandal that has engulfed the industry.

She has also helped propel a group called Time's Up, which has gathered a $14 million legal fund to fight on behalf of sexual harassment victims.

Weinstein denies accusations of rape and assault.

The group, which includes actresses Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone and Gal Gadot, announced itself this week with full page newspaper advertisements.

It was launched with an open letter signed by hundreds of women in showbusiness, including Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Rashida Jones and Kerry Washington, as well as producer Shonda Rhimes, of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.

Some actresses and stylists are asking fashion brands with which they have red carpet financial arrangements to make donations to charity instead, including the legal defence fund.

Kelly Hurliman, an influential Hollywood stylist, said: "I feel like the Globes is the statement. And I don't think it will continue.

"The Oscars, especially, I think will be back to normal."

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