At last night’s 75th annual Golden Globes, it was less “who” celebrities wore than “why.”
Hundreds of prominent women (and men) in Hollywood came together to say “Time’s Up,” forming a unified call to break down “the systematic inequality and injustice in the workplace that has kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential,” the campaign’s plan of action—established New Year’s Day—says.
The now infamous New York Times report on Harvey Weinstein last fall opened the dam for a slew of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by hugely influential men in nearly every sphere of power. Actors, politicians, media personalities, and even celebrity chefs have all faced claims of predatory behavior, and most have seen swift falls from grace.
Inspired by the #MeToo movement, Time’s Up seeks to continue the conversation about abuse and sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond. The campaign has nearly reached its $16 million fundraising goal for a legal defense fund to assist working-class women whose stories are largely neglected.
The initiative was also designed as a way to say “time’s up on the imbalance of power,” and called for 2018 red carpet walkers to wear black in solidarity.
Celebrities did that—and then some.
Meryl Streep walked the red carpet alongside Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. And in Louis Vuitton, Michelle Williams said she was honored to invite Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, to join her. Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, and Amy Poehler—just to name a few—also invited activists last night.
“We are subconsciously very accustomed to seeing a sea of color at these shows,” actress Sophia Bush told InStyle. “It’ll be visually startling to see everyone in black. Subconsciously, a large group in all black reads, in our cultural lexicon, almost like a funeral. It’s inherently serious.”
Cara Santana, actress and co-founder of The Glam App, told Houstonia that she participated in the blackout protest to “stand in solidarity with all women in an effort to shift the sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace.”
“If ever there was a time to make a societal shift in how we treat each other and ourselves, it is now,” Santana said.
Some contend “resistance” fashion “has become a marketing tool rather than actual act,” and some 2018 Golden Globes viewers wondered: “How is wearing black going to make a difference?” “How does a dress or a tuxedo relate to assault?” “How will this protest spark action?”
In an op-ed penned for The New York Times hours before Sunday’s award show, actress Amber Tamblyn wrote, “for most actresses on red carpets, what you’re wearing is less an expression of who you are and more an expression of what you’re worth.”
Tamblyn described a moment she experienced years ago at a dress fitting after being nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress in a television drama: “I had a full on anxiety attack," she wrote. "The anxiety I was feeling wasn’t about the dress itself. It was about the fulfillment of the obligations of the dress.”
Red carpets and award shows have always been a business transaction. Viewers, caught up in the glitz and glamour of the evening, tend to forget that detail. Last night, though, we must give credit where credit is due: To the many designers, dressmakers, tailors, stylists, and their teams, you rose to the challenge of creating custom ensembles in a matter of weeks–days, even–that made an important statement.
Eric Wilson, fashion news director at InStyle, wrote why the magazine would still critique the night's fashion: “Fashion, at its very best, is a powerful tool of communication ... Choosing to wear black is a conscious reflection of the power of their collective voices, but each person is also an individual with a mind of her own, and presumably has something to say. To ascribe such a decision solely to a desire to take part in a movement is to underestimate the woman who wears the dress.”
That being said, let’s talk about our top 10 favorite looks from last night’s consequential red carpet:
1. Catherine Zeta-Jones wore a Zuhair Murad fall 2017 couture lace plumetis and embroidered gown.
2. Dakota Johnson stunned in a Gucci pre-fall 2018 black gown. At first glance, it looks quite simple, until you see the starburst embroidery on the back.
3. Isabelle Huppert wowed in Chloe.
4. Elizabeth Moss wore a Dior Haute Couture black wool and silk dress with an embroidered collar.
5. Alicia Vikander donned a custom Louis Vuitton black silk long-sleeved gown.
6. Reese Witherspoon wore a custom Zac Posen single shoulder gown.
7. Issa Rae dazzled in an Atelier Prabal Gurung black chiffon plunging V gown with ruffled shoulders.
8. Alexis Bledel chose a resort 2018 ensemble by Oscar de la Renta.
9. Diane Kruger amazed in a black tulle Prada gown with a cascading shawl train.
10. Kerry Washington wore a Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2018 black sequin strapless dress with a front slit and silk chiffon detail. She paired her ensemble with a pair of booties and eye makeup in Pantone’s 2018 color of the year: ultra violet.
Later in the evening, Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Her roof-raising speech began with a memory of sitting on her mother’s linoleum floor in 1964 as she watched the 36th Academy Awards, when Anne Bancroft presented the Oscar for the best actor to Sidney Poitier.
Winfrey said it was the first time she’d ever seen a black man being celebrated. In 1982, Poitier received the Cecil B. DeMille Award; last night, Winfrey became the first black woman to be honored.
Her stroll down memory lane turned into a call to action for Hollywood and beyond, from domestic workers to farm workers to Olympians to soldiers—every industry inadequate in in creating a safe space for all employees to perform, grow, and learn.
“This year, we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace,” Winfrey said. “So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women.”