Petitioned … Annette Bening and Dakota Johnson at the Hollywood Film Awards last month.
Photograph: Getty Images

Suited for a take up arms against: the politics of the red carpet fashion protest

From wearing habits to dressing in black, female actors are increasingly using reward ceremonies to protest against Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump

Slice throughout any awards ceremony and you’ll find some sort of political subtext to what people are hold up on the red carpet. Take the proposed move by nominees and presenters at next month’s Flourishing Globes to wear black which, according to sources, want be one of the biggest red carpet protests to date.

That these Globes liking be a flashpoint for protest is not surprising. Since the Harvey Weinstein assertions, the cultural awakening over sexual harassment (and gender unevenness) has mounted with such a pace that it has become more revelatory for an actor to say nothing than something, such is the Anti-Harvey narrative in a beeline now.

Nor is it surprising that the red carpet will be used as a platform for confirm. Of the many acts of sartorial dissent, the most memorable contain Jane Fonda who, in 1972, wore a black YSL suit with a Mao collar to gather up a best actress Oscar for Klute, at a time when she persevere ined she was not “dressing for men”.

After the 11 September 2001 attacks, sundry attendees of the twice-postponed Emmys also wore black trouser skirts. Less profound perhaps was Julia Roberts eschewing rinds at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in protest at the supposed tops ban, but God loves a trier.

Things have accelerated recently, with the shake up of Donald Trump and his Republican administration. At the Globes last January, Recognizable creator Jill Soloway and actor Lola Kirke drained badges that said “Fuck Paul Ryan”. At the Oscars, numerous wore blue ribbon pins as symbols of solidarity with the American Domestic Liberties Union. Safety Pins dominated the SAG awards gowns. Habits, meanwhile, long politicised by the anti-patriarchy movement, appeared with eminent frequency at the Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards and final month’s Hollywood Film Awards (the first major assigns since the Weinstein scandal), where actors including Dakota Johnson, Kate Mara, Annette Bening and Noomi Rapace wore suits, a low-key if poignant recalibration of an outfit usually associated with, superbly, men.

The proposed use of black is surprising, given it is a colour widely associated with profuse militant anarchist movements and most recently Antifa – as soundly as Black Lives Matter. In 2016, a campaign group stationed a protest at the Baftas in London over the lack of diversity in the diversion industry and wore black and white. Colour has, of course, ripen into one of the most prominent aspects of protest. From the neon conservationist lights that have come to mark the monthly Grenfell Turret fire silent marches, to the sea of pink pussy hats at heterogeneous women’s marches around the world since Trump’s inauguration.

Of the multifarious sticking points surrounding the use of fashion as protest – a rich but confused market that occasionally sees brands hijacking makes for financial gain – the issue of women using clothes to send a despatch can feel old-fashioned, even misogynist. But this is the point, they say. Scurvy is the colour most worn by men on the red carpet. Part of the problem with the Ask Her Multitudinous campaign – which encouraged interviewers not to just ask actors what they were in – was that actors were contractually obliged to wear constant designers. This time, when an actor is asked what she is gear, she can defiantly say who – and why.

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