PERFECT 10: Movado brought a dash of glamor to a morose edition of Baselworld by inviting Kerry Washington, celebrating her 10th year as ambassador to the brand, to its annual cocktail party at the watch and jewelry fair.
The actress almost didn’t make it — her flight from Los Angeles was delayed for four hours during a stopover in Paris — but despite having only moments to get ready, she looked every inch the movie star in a cocktail dress by Monse and strappy black Manolo Blahnik heels.
In an interview the following day at the Movado booth at the fair, Washington said she appreciated the brand’s unwavering support.
“The life of an artist is full of ups and downs and twists and turns, and a lot of artists sometimes are afraid to take risks or to try something new, because they think professional relationships will disappear,” she said.
“Movado has never abandoned me,” she added. “They’ve just always been there, and it has allowed me to grow as an artist and to take different kinds of risks.”
In addition to appearing on season five of “Scandal,” currently airing on U.S. network ABC, Washington is becoming increasingly active behind the camera through her production company Simpson Street.
She executive-produced and stars in “Confirmation,” in which she plays Anita Hill, the attorney who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991. The movie is scheduled to air on HBO on April 16. Washington said it was important to bring her own material to the screen.
“There’s always room for our film and television, for our art, to be more representative of who we are as a culture. I think for me especially, being a person of color and a woman, you really see that intersection,” she said, noting that the Oscars had left out women in 2015 and people of color this time around.
“It feels like there needs to be more opportunity for more of us to be invited to the table and have a voice at the table at all times,” she remarked. “Producing is really an opportunity for me to be a part of that conversation and make sure that I’m sitting at that table and using my voice to the best of my ability.”
The movie also provided another opportunity for collaboration with Movado, which makes the Concerto watch worn by her character Olivia Pope on “Scandal.”
“It’s a period film, so it takes place in the early Nineties, and I knew that the watch Anita Hill wore at that time was about a 10- or 15-year-old watch, so I thought, well, I know exactly who to go to to pull vintage watches,” she said.
Movado chief executive officer Efraim Grinberg picked up on the fact that Washington referred to “our archives” when talking about the watch brand. “I love that. She’s part of the company, she’s part of our family, and that’s just really rewarding to work with somebody like that,” he enthused.
Wearing a Movado is not the only thing Washington has in common with her character on “Scandal.” Recently, Pope’s style has begun to merge more with her own.
“She’s not hiding anymore, and very specifically, the writers wrote in the script that Olivia Pope is wearing color,” she said, adding that this had proved a headache for the show’s costume designer Lyn Paolo.
“We didn’t know what to do — this was such a huge change in how we approached her aesthetic, and I also felt like everything on the rack was me. It was more Kerry than it was Olivia, because we both have very high fashion profiles but I’ve been able to keep them very separate. So now there’s a little bit more crossover,” she noted.
Washington said she was fascinated by reactions to Pope. “Across the board, a lot of men say, ‘She’s sexy, but she’s scary.’ She’s scary, she’s the fixer, she has power. And women say, ‘I want to be her.’ It’s fascinating, the different perspectives,” she said.
But the actress thinks strong women are having a moment.
“We live in a world now where there are more role models for that. I feel like when I was growing up, there was this idea that you had to be either smart or pretty, you know, that you had to choose between looking good or being intelligent. But I feel like now you have women like Michelle Obama who are just throwing those ideas out the window, and Marissa Mayer, who are like, ‘No, I’m going to be fashion-forward and fierce,’” she concluded.