• Melissa Imari Alvarez

Golden Globes Blackout: Everything You Need to Know

It’s not unusual for celebrities and their stylists to want to make a statement on any red carpeted event. However, the statement for Sunday night’s Golden Globes will be the much anticipated blackout. It started when members of the newly formed Time’s Up initiative- made up of 300+ women in entertainment- stated that they would be wearing black in protest of sexual harassment and gender inequality in the industry. Time’s Up was launched on the first day of the New Year, has raised over $14 million for a legal defense fund, and intends to show continuous solidarity through activism and movements like the blackout. The movement has since expanded to their male counterparts, and the designers and stylists who will be dressing these celebrities, speaking up in solidarity. Fashion houses and publicists have reported a mad dash for all-black clothing, sharing that even custom pieces that were in the works are being put on hold for later events. Typically, actresses and their stylists will work with fashion houses months before the Globes to get first pick from their most recent Spring/Summer collections or to have one-of-a-kind ensembles made. Considering black isn’t your typical “Spring/Summer” color, designers are having to dig deeper into past collections. Custom pieces are still an option, it’s just more likely that these requests have been made within the last few weeks instead of months.

In the week leading up to the Golden Globes, designers and stylists alike have taken to social media to share sneak peeks into their participation of the blackout. Christian Siriano posted a photo from the studio with the hashtag #goldenglobes.

Celebrity stylist Maeve Reilly stood by a garment rack full of black gowns, presumably before a fitting with one of her clients.

Ilaria Urbinati, well known and greatly appreciated for her long list of male clientele, shared a series of screenshots from a recent interview with GQ.

Urbinati made the bold warning that “this may not be the right time to choose to be the odd man out.” Which leads me to wonder- Will there be people wearing black just to lay low? What kind of backlash awaits anyone who doesn’t conform to the blackout, even if they do agree with the mission of the Time’s Up initiative? Can a social statement be made through fashion without having the fashion overshadow the statement?

Critics of the movement have questioned if black is the best color choice for this protest, suggesting that it is too somber a color and that a brighter color would stand out better. Others have completely spoken out against this movement, saying that silent protest won’t invoke any real change. Several actresses from the Time’s Up initiative have spoken out against these critics. In an exclusive interview with InStyle, Sophia Bush shared, “I understand why, on first examination, a group of women wearing black to a fancy awards show might seem trivial…But it’s bigger than a dress…You cannot edit the coverage to talk about what’s in her purse or what she’s wearing rather than the work it took to play her role, or what she thinks about the geopolitical climate. You cannot promote fluff against her will this year. You will acknowledge the black; the blackout. The conversation will matter. Women’s voices will be heard. Women at awards shows have a platform, and this year it’s being taken to stand with women everywhere. And no one can cut away from it.”

Rashida Jones weighed in, elaborating on a point most of these critics are missing. “I think this is where the Legal Defense Fund, which is designed as a tool to empower those affected by harassment and abuse, is vital. This fund is for people from all industries who don’t have access to legal representation. So much of these abuses of power manifest in legal bullying of employees that don’t have the means to protect themselves.”

Earlier in December, when news of the blackout first hit, Amber Tamblyn probably said it best- “Our movement is big. And a black dress is just the beginning of the darkness that will be drained from every industry across the country by the time we’re done. That’s a promise.”

Be sure to check out my Golden Globes Style Highlights to see all of the highly anticipated fashion! The 75th Golden Globes Red Carpet Live airs on Sunday, January 7, 2017 at 6ET|3PT and the Golden Globe Awards air at 8ET/5PT on NBC.

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