“Who are you wearing?” is phased out of preshows and fashion labels feel the burn, but savvy brands attached to feminist stars are reaping the benefits: “Time’s Up has added a new dimension.”
With Time’s Up pins outshining diamond jewelry and designer name-dropping on the red carpet at a minimum, is fashion this awards season’s biggest loser? “After the mad dash for black at the Golden Globes and media conversations directed toward the #MeToo movement, designer brands are not the winners,” says Stacy Jones, CEO of entertainment and fashion marketing firm Hollywood Branded Inc.
The cancellation of E!’s Fashion Police in November — then Beyonce and Lorde skipping the Grammy carpet in response to an wage inequality petition calling for an E! News boycott — may signal the end of an era for preshow fashion commentary. “I don’t think it will return to being a one-dimensional conversation about fashion on the red carpet,” says author and Time’s Up founding member Amanda de Cadenet.
Although most designers understand why the gender equality message takes precedence, even feminists like Prabal Gurung wish actresses got asked why they chose to wear the particular designer. “So many of us are vocal and staunch supporters of the #Timesup movement and have been active proponents of women in power since day one,” he says.
But that doesn’t mean fashion and jewelry brands aren’t still moving heaven and earth to dress stars, sometimes paying for red carpet placements, and seeing a return on their Hollywood investment. “We’re seeing the fashion discussion moving more to the digital space, where the designers, publicists or stars themselves are pushing out information about styles,” says Jones. British house Ralph & Russo may have gone unnamed during preshows (as did Nicole Kidman’s Armani at the SAG Awards), but it still stacks up as a big winner, dressing such “woke” A-listers as Lupita Nyong’o.
Her gray gown at the SAG Awards reached 713.5 million online readers, at a PR value of $13,084,612, says Jones. Notes CEO Michael Russo, “Time’s Up has added a new dimension to the red carpet for brands.”