Is it OK to wear clothes made by Har­vey We­in­stein’s wife when the la­bel is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to him?

The Guardian - G2 - - Style Q&A - Hadley Free­man

With the sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal hit­ting the fash­ion world now, whose work should we no longer en­joy?

Jonathan, by email

Let’s start with this, the artist-vthe-art ques­tion, one that now seems nec­es­sary to ask on a daily ba­sis, as the We­in­stein tsunami con­tin­ues to sweep through the celebrity world.

Most sen­si­ble peo­ple, de­spite what rightwing com­men­ta­tors claim, un­der­stand there are var­i­ous de­grees of abuse be­ing al­leged, and Dustin Hoff­man al­legedly say­ing gross stuff to women in the 80s is ob­vi­ously not the same as Har­vey We­in­stein al­legedly rap­ing women and threat­en­ing to de­stroy their ca­reers (claims he denies). But, hey, guess what, guys? Both are un­ac­cept­able, and it is un­nerv­ing when men gen­er­ally con­sid­ered good guys are ac­cused of preda­tory be­hav­iour. So the only sur­prise about Condé Nast In­ter­na­tional’s an­nounce­ment last month that they would no longer work with Terry Richard­son, af­ter years of ru­mours, was that it took so long for them to make that an­nounce­ment.

But Louis CK’S ad­mis­sion on Fri­day that he had ex­posed him­self to women, af­ter years and years of ru­mours (you might be spot­ting a pat­tern here), was dif­fer­ent. Yes, many women knew the ru­mours, but it was easy to put them out of mind when Louis CK would do his fem­i­nist skit about how men are “the worst thing to hap­pen to women”. Well, more fool us, I guess, be­cause all the time we knew – we knew that women were say­ing Louis CK ex­posed him­self to them. And that Louis CK dis­missed those as ru­mours for so long proves that he as­sumed that be­ing a pow­er­ful white man would pro­tect him from any come­up­pance. Wel­come to a new dawn, guys.

Look, I am all for eval­u­at­ing art on its own artis­tic mer­its. But when the art is so clearly flaunt­ing or min­imis­ing the artist’s abuses, the ques­tion be­comes moot. Louis CK’S movie, the creep­ily ti­tled I Love You, Daddy, is about sex­ual ethics and celebri­ties who abuse them, so it’s not ex­actly a sur­prise that the dis­trib­u­tor pulled the film.

I have spent more money than I want to think about go­ing to see Louis CK’S standup rou­tine, but for­give me if I’m really not in the mood to watch Louie, his sit­com about a sex­ual loser who is of­ten hor­ri­ble to women. Sim­i­larly, Woody Allen’s near patho­log­i­cal in­sis­tence on mak­ing movies about how ir­re­sistible old men are to much younger women is at least as off-putting now as the movies them­selves. In­ci­den­tally, Amer­i­can Beauty really is quite a watch these days, given that it in­cludes one sto­ry­line in which Kevin Spacey’s char­ac­ter is ac­cused of hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with a teenage boy, an­other in which he is sex­u­ally ob­sessed with his child’s best friend and a third about how be­ing clos­eted drives a man to in­san­ity. Fun Fri­day night movie for all!

I have writ­ten of­ten over the years that it is in­ex­cus­able to em­ploy Terry Richard­son, whose highly sex­u­alised pho­to­graphs are in­ex­tri­ca­ble from the sto­ries of his al­leged abuse, and for a celebrity

– who has the power to choose any pho­tog­ra­pher they want – to be pho­tographed by him, given the lon­grun­ning ru­mours about his al­leged abuse of mod­els (which he denies). It is ob­scene that Condé Nast In­ter­na­tional waited this long to make a stand, hav­ing pre­sum­ably just bided their time un­til Richard­son’s much- copied style was start­ing to be­come passe, so they felt they could drop him with­out in­cur­ring any dam­age to their all-im­por­tant artis­tic cred­i­bil­ity. Apolo­gies for the crude­ness, but duck those peo­ple, as au­to­cor­rect would put it.

More sto­ries about oth­ers will come out soon, but the really in­ter­est­ing is­sue re­gards a la­bel run by two women who haven’t abused any­one.

March­esa, de­signed by Georgina Chap­man and Keren Craig, presents a tricky propo­si­tion, as Chap­man is the soon-to-be ex-wife of one Har­vey We­in­stein. Now, I would never ar­gue that a woman should suf­fer be­cause of the sins of a man in her life. But March­esa is dif­fer­ent be­cause the suc­cess of this la­bel was de­pen­dent on Chap­man’s re­la­tion­ship with We­in­stein. It first found fame when Renée Zell­weger wore a March­esa dress to the pre­miere of Brid­get Jones: The Edge of Rea­son, an amaz­ing coup for a near-un­known la­bel, and the fact that the film hap­pened to be co-pro­duced by Mi­ra­max, then run by one H We­in­stein, then Chap­man’s boyfriend, was, of course, mere co­in­ci­dence. I cov­ered March­esa’s first show in 2006, where celebri­ties such as Sarah Michelle Gel­lar and Mis­cha Bar­ton sat in the front row, while We­in­stein prowled through the au­di­ence, lit­er­ally check­ing a list to see who had turned up to his girl­friend’s show.

It was long ru­moured that We­in­stein or­dered the women in his movies to wear March­esa to pre­mieres and, ac­cord­ing to the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter, once threat­ened not to pro­mote a movie if its star failed to oblige. Ac­tors in We­in­stein movies, such as Blake Lively, oblig­ingly gave quotes about how lovely the la­bel is.

And March­esa clothes are lovely, no ques­tion. But their suc­cess is in­ex­tri­ca­ble from We­in­stein and, in par­tic­u­lar, We­in­stein’s bul­ly­ing tac­tics. These clothes ob­vi­ously are not min­imis­ing or flaunt­ing We­in­stein’s al­leged crimes, in the way Louis CK’S movie flaunts his own mis­de­meanors, but their suc­cess was helped by his ag­gres­sion. And frankly, it’s a lit­tle hard not to feel, well, live by the We­in­stein, die by the We­in­stein.

hand … Har­vey A help­ing soon-to-beex-wife and his

We­in­stein Chap­man. Georgina Richard­son Below: Terry

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