As Sunday night approaches and the Golden Globes’ “Night of a Thousand Yawns” press conference looms large and boring, we’re still struggling to absorb the fact that the whole affair will be void of the traditional pageantry. Usually, this is the time when we’re stocking up on Ruffles and dip in preparation for an evening on the couch, wondering if Cate Blanchett will wear Armani (possibly) or something metallic (probably) and laying bets on whether Nicole Kidman’s inevitable Balenciaga will successfully make her look less waxen (doubtful). But this year, no ceremony means no fashion parade: no hits, no misses, no Marchesa. Fine, the sacrifice is all in the name of union labor and whatnot — but will no one think of the outfits?
The writers’ strike has already claimed victims ranging from crew members to chauffeurs, but now the ripple effect will spread to the fashion industry. Because the runways may get you respect, but the red carpet trumps the catwalk in terms of global cachet. Consider Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, whom Jennifer Lopez almost single-handedly made household names when she went on a Marchesa kick last year, beginning with a regal black one-shoulder number at the Globes. And everyone knows that Renée Zellweger won’t set foot on a carpet of any stripe without a new Carolina Herrera. Stalwarts like Valentino and Escada rely on stars purring their names into microphones to revitalize their older brands, making them identifiable to a legion of twentysomethings otherwise too young to know them. It’s not enough to live in the pages of Vogue anymore; you have to inhabit Us Weekly.
Still, while the likes of Dior and Chanel will miss dusting off vintage frocks in exchange for free PR from, say, Charlize or Keira, we’re pretty sure they’ll be able to survive a Globes–free 2008 — or even, God forbid, a Year Without Oscar. But what about all the up-and-coming designers who will miss this chance for big exposure? Or houses that need to make a comeback? If it weren’t for Reese Witherspoon last year, what twentysomething girl would be running out to buy a Nina Ricci dress? And if the strike lays waste to every awards show short of September’s Emmys, the butterfly effect is much bigger. Stylists lose work, which means Rachel Zoe might have to pinch pennies on moisturizer (and, trust us, the world doesn’t want that). The fashion police — i.e., the glossy mags and tabloids — ends up with no one to arrest. And companies like A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz — which essentially knocks off the best red-carpet gowns for people (read: most of America) who can’t splash-out for an actual Oscar de la Renta — are going to wake up on Monday with nothing but newscaster couture from which to draw. In the trickle-down world of fashion, it’s those unheralded businesses that may feel the worst pinch when high-school girls open their parents’ wallets this spring. Yep, prom might as well just slip itself a key to a fancy hotel room, because, fashion-wise, it could be royally screwed.
Of course, a lot of people feel royally screwed right now — that’s why there’s a strike. But we’ve got 45 days before the Academy Awards. Surely that’s enough time for the WGA, the AMPTP, and whatever other acronyms want to get in on the shenanigans to come to a fair arrangement, so that they can get paid and we can all revel in whatever disaster could still be this year’s Björk–in-a-swan-suit. That’s right, guys: If for no other reason, do it for the clothes. —The Fug Girls