LOS ANGELES: Normally ahead of the Golden Globes, the women of Hollywood would be clamouring to find the perfect headline-grabbing dress for the red carpet.
Instead, many are planning to sport basic black to Sunday’s gala, a sartorial protest over sexual harassment.
Jessica Chastain, Meryl Streep, and Emma Stone are leading the actresses taking a stand against the avalanche of misconduct allegations that have felled Harvey Weinstein and numerous other Tinseltown A-listers.
But backing for the campaign by male stars including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who say they, too, will turn out in black in a gesture of solidarity, has raised eyebrows and prompted ridicule.
“Don’t most men who attend the Globes come cloaked in either all-black or mostly black, with a black suit and black shoes and a black tie, anyway?” asked New York-based millennial-focused news site Mic.
“Haven’t men who have already stood at odds with women in Hollywood speaking out, like Matt Damon for instance, shown up to the Globes in black?”
It is true that while outliers like Johnson himself, Donald Glover and Alan Cumming are sometimes partial to burgundy velvet, a glittery jacket or even a skin-tone suit, the vast majority of men turn up in regulation tuxedos.
The stylists who say their male clients will tone it down in support of the so-called “blacklash” include Ilaria Urbinati, who is dressing Johnson, along with Armie Hammer, Liev Schreiber, Tom Hiddleston, and others.
“Because everyone keeps asking me… Yes, the men will be standing in solidarity with women on this wearing-all-black movement to protest against gender inequality at this year’s Golden Globes,” she posted on Instagram.
“At least all my guys will be. Safe to say this may not be the right time to choose to be the odd man out here… just sayin.”
‘Least possible effort’
Urbinati told GQ magazine she wanted to ensure the protest didn’t become a “women vs men and vice-versa thing” but that both sexes should put up a “united front.”
Johnson immediately demonstrated his support with the simple pledge “Yes we will” — but not all Urbinati’s 90,000 followers were convinced.
“How will the men find black suits and tuxes to wear tho?” one asked dryly, while others suggested a multicoloured display of sartorial support with men going for pinks, reds, yellows or greens rather than plain old black.
The Globes doesn’t specify a formal dress code, so anything goes, color-wise.
But some commentators have suggested that the more conservatively-minded men wishing to show support could adopt a pin or ribbon.
New York-based stylist Michael Fisher, who dresses Hugh Jackman and Sam Rockwell, says his clients are going to wear dark suits with “black pocket squares” to support the cause.
“It’s going to be an inevitable thing out of solidarity. I think the majority of men are going to go safe in a black suit with a white shirt so no one’s going to look the odd man out,” he told weekly trade magazine Variety.
“I’m so inspired by men wearing black to the Golden Globes, an event to which they’d normally wear black tuxedos,” tweeted an acerbic Erin Gloria Ryan, a writer for The Daily Beast.
“It’s part of the storied man tradition of making the least possible effort but expecting credit anyway.”
‘No real change’
Designers and stylists are notoriously secretive ahead of awards ceremonies about how their stars are going to turn out.
Representatives of the fashion community in Los Angeles have been reporting a run on all-black clothing for the Globes, from gowns to cocktail dresses and men’s suits, according to Variety.
“We are working hard to get in more all-black options to support those who are adhering to the Golden Globes consensus,” one unnamed spokesperson told the magazine, adding that this included menswear.
But there is controversy too surrounding the women’s campaign.
“Dear actresses: please wear bright colors 2 celebrate our power, not black 2 mourn the predators. They don’t deserve it,” tweeted Elisabeth Sereda, a writer and producer based in Venice, California.
Jenny Cooney, of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organizes the Globes, echoed the thought, posting: “Why should women not stand proud and in living color to show we will not be subdued and held down?”
Rose McGowan, one of the most prominent critics of the culture of abuse in Hollywood and an alleged victim of Weinstein, criticized the campaign in a since-deleted tweet referring to the movie mogul as “The Pig Monster.”
“Actresses like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @GoldenGlobes in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect (sic) no real change,” she railed.
But actress, poet, and activist Amber Tamblyn preferred to concentrate on the symbolism of black attire, which she said was “just the beginning of the darkness that will be drained from every industry.”