As Harvey Weinstein swept through HBO’s pre-Globes bash at the Chateau Marmont, he screeched to a halt to say a big bonjour to famous French fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier.
“Patrick, I want you to meet my girlfriend,” said Weinstein, gesturing to his slender, striking brunette date, Georgina Chapman, who has been dating the recently divorced former Miramax movie mogul, 53, for a respectable amount of time.
But little did Demarchelier know that this young woman was about to cause major red carpet burn this awards season.
In suspiciously swift record time, Chapman, a British model-actress-designer, and partner Keren Craig have hit big time celebrity pay dirt with their new Marchesa clothing line.
The line’s name is an homage to eccentric clotheshorse and party girl Italian aristocrat Marchesa Luisa Casati — (1881-1957), who sounded a bit like a proto-Paris Hilton when she intoned: “I want to be a living work of art.”
Anyway, let’s play connect-the-Marchesa-dots. First, Renée Zellweger wore a Marchesa creation to the “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” London premiere. Zellweger (remember these connections because there may be a pop quiz) happened to star in "Cold Mountain" and "Cinderella Man", both linked to Miramax for production and distribution. Then Cate Blanchett wore a Marchesa sari to the Rome premiere of “The Aviator,” a film that Miramax helped produce and distribute in the U.S.
Are you with me so far? Good. Next up, Scarlett Johansson — soon to star in "The Nanny Diaries," a new Weinstein Co. production — wore a Marchesa design on a red carpet. Then came Penelope Cruz, who starred in the 2000 Miramax film "All the Pretty Horses", wearing a pale pink Marchesa at the 2006 Golden Globes.
For a grand finale, Felicity Huffman — star of "Transamerica," Weinstein’s big post-Disney/Miramax-muddle hit — wore a white Marchesa frock to pick up her best actress Globe at the show and dance the night away at the after-parties.
“Harvey asked those actresses, including Felicity, to wear his girlfriend’s dresses to their premieres or to an important awards show,” sniffed one longtime Hollywood style insider. “And it was a ‘favor’ that Felicity really couldn’t refuse.”
True or not, Huffman certainly felt she owed Weinstein one.
Accepting her Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in early January, a Huffman doled out heartfelt thanks.
“This movie wouldn’t have been seen by anyone if it were not for Harvey Weinstein. And Harvey wouldn’t have seen the film if William Macy (Hoffman’s husband) hadn’t called him up, got him on the phone and convinced him to come to a screening the next day. That’s a good boyfriend to have, huh?”
Interestingly, hubby Macy also starred with Cruz in "Sahara." Hmm. Did a Macy call to Cruz return Weinstein’s "Transamerica" favor? Was that how Cruz, who favors Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta, discovered the fledging Marchesa line?
We may never know. But the fashion fairy tale is far from over. Spotted at Marchesa’s recent fashion show at the Rainbow Room during New York’s Fashion Week: Josh Hartnett (who is, ahem, dating Johansson), Anne Hathaway, (she voiced a character in Weinstein Co.’s animated film, "Hoodwinked") Huffman’s "Desperate Housewives" pal, costar Nicolette Sheridan and Marchesa-in-the-making Nicole Richie.
Not that the lovely Marchesa gowns don’t deserve attention. But the line’s success has come so fast that it’s making other designers — who’ve struggled for years to get stars to wear their gowns — turn chartreuse with envy.
Photo: Have you met my fashion designer girlfriend? Glamour mag editrix Cindi Leive (left) and Georgina Chapman talk with Harvey Weinstein at the Weinstein Co./Glamour 2006 Golden Globes after-party.
(Lester Cohen / WireImage)
Will an actress wear a Marchesa to the upcoming Oscars? Probably. But the big question is: who? And the answer may lie in the Weinstein Co.’s 2006-2007 movie slate. Could the next Marchesa model be…
]]>…any of these actresses slated to appear in these upcoming films that the Weinstein Co. just happens to have a hand in either producing or distributing or both?
Jessica Alba in "Awake" and "Sin City 2"
Vera Farmiga in "Breaking and Entering"
Rosario Dawson in "Clerks II" and "Sin City 2"
Mischa Barton in "Decameron: Angels & Virgins"
Mena Suvari or Sienna Miller in "Factory Girl"
Amanda Peet in "Fast Track."
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.