The Styling of Activism: Ribbons, Rubber Bracelets Must Match the Dress

Julie Christie (left) and Paul Haggis believe in ribbons that match. Photo: Getty Images


Did you notice the orange ribbon pinned to Julie Christie's dress and Paul Haggis's lapel at the Oscars? It was a lovely little accessory to show their support for the closing of the Guantánamo Bay prison because of the U.S. government's controversial interrogation tactics there. The orange represents the jumpsuits worn by the prisoners and is also the color of a rubber bracelet worn by Haggis that reads "torture+silence=complicity" included in the Oscar swag bag. Organizations like the ACLU, which sponsors the Close Guantanamo campaign, ask stars to don these stamps of activism well in advance so that they have enough time to consult with their stylists. Allison Walker, the entertainment industry liaison for the ACLU, explains:

"[Celebrities] get asked to do so many things for so many causes," she explained yesterday. The ACLU may have asked regular people "to wear T-shirts with the Close Guantanamo symbol." But ask Helen Mirren to wear a T-shirt? Horrors! No, the celebs must be handled as delicately as a Nothing Bundt Cake (also in the swag bag this year!). "I like to ask things that are simple and specific," says Walker. "The ribbon campaign is a very trusted sign in the artistic community."


Walker took out a full-page ad in Variety in January asking stars to wear the ribbon, which Christie's friend and ex-manager saw, and soon Christie was onboard — but the Oscar nominee had already settled on a red dress and the color coordination worked like stripes on a zebra. So what to do? At this point, we'd suggest the ACLU reconsider their color choice, but so. much. work. Next year, just go with a freaking black ribbon and keep it simple for everyone, m'kay?

Oscar Swag From the Do-Gooders: The Orange Ribbon [WP]