In a night of eye-catching fashion statements that saw Rihanna dressed as the pope and Katy Perry as winged angel, Scarlett Johansson delivered the biggest shock of all when she wore a gown by the label Marchesa to the Met Ball last night.
The label was founded by Harvey Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, and Weinstein reportedly leveraged his power with Hollywood’s elite to ensure the label became a staple of the red carpet and the general celebrity conversation.
It has been alleged that actresses were threatened there would be adverse consequences for their careers if they did not wear Marchesa to gala events. The brand is named after the Marchesa Luisa Casati, an eccentric 20th-century Italian heiress who is an icon in high-fashion circles.
Johansson, who has previously worked with (and declined to criticize) Woody Allen and has appeared on stage with Roman Polanski, was slammed on social media by critics who accused her of hypocrisy over her support for the Time’s Up movement, as she became the first star to wear a design by the label to a public event since allegations of rape and sexual abuse were made against Weinstein.
Her choice of Marchesa is mystifying, as the label was intimately involved in allegations that Weinstein abused his power by forcing prominent A-list actresses who had worked in his films to wear his wife’s clothes to red-carpet events.
In October 2017, Felicity Huffman confirmed rumors that Weinstein threatened to pull publicity cash from her film Transamerica if she refused to wear the clothes on the red carpet.
The Daily Beast has previously reported that Sienna Miller was similarly pressured to wear Marchesa in 2007, the year she made another Weinstein movie, Factory Girl. Weinstein himself admitted to “maybe” helping Renee Zellweger pick a Marchesa dress for the premiere of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
Rose McGowan, the actress whose allegation that she was raped by Weinstein triggered the tidal wave of claims against him, has previously suggested that actresses “who happily worked for The Pig Monster” should wear the brand.
Johansson has previously defended Woody Allen, whom she worked with in the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, telling The Guardian, “It’s not like this is somebody that has been prosecuted and found guilty of something… I mean it’s all guesswork. It would be ridiculous for me to make any kind of assumption one way or the other.”
She has also appeared on stage alongside the convicted child rapist Roman Polanski.
The dress itself was a relatively tame floor-length, blood-red gown.