LOS ANGELES — The fast approaching red-carpet awards season could once again be in jeopardy.
The Screen Actors Guild board is seeking a strike authorization from its 120,000 members, causing shudders among designers and stylists — as well as others in the film industry — who depend on awards season and the Hollywood machine.
The timing couldn’t be worse with the economy tanking — and memories of last year’s Golden Globes, which were aborted because of the Writers Guild walkout, still raw.
“I just thought, ‘Here we go again,’” said Los Angeles designer Kevan Hall. “A show was actually canceled last year. It could happen again — to any awards show.”
The implied meaning was dire: If it happened to the Golden Globes, which is set this year for Jan. 11, it could happen to the Oscars, and all the awards shows in between, such as the SAG Awards, Directors Guild of America awards, Broadcast Film Critics and New York Film Critics.
For Hall, who relies on the press attention from dressing stars such as Vanessa Williams in custom gowns at awards shows to generate sales, as well as gown sales to agents and wives of industry executives who attend the shows, a strike would be painful.
“We are rolling out our red-carpet gowns no matter what,” he said. “In addition to awards shows, we’re always working on movie premieres or charity fashion shows, and we will find a way to do business. We’ve lived through this once, but who wants to do it again?”
Stylist Jessica Paster said, “Its the lost exposure for designers and it will hurt hair, makeup and styling because we make money off of those events.”
Indeed, with the California economy already beset by crises, the financial impact of awards show cancellations from a SAG strike could easily top the $60 million loss of the Golden Globe’s cancellation.
“This is nail-biting time in Los Angeles,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “A strike and any subsequent cancellation of awards shows would be a big hit to the Los Angeles economy. The effect would carry down from actors not working to studios spending way less. No more expense account meals or gift baskets, hotels, limo drivers, beauty salons, restaurants and retail — all of it will feel the impact. It would further depress an already down local economy.”
Movie production has already slowed because of the residual impact of the writers’ strike and the anticipation of an actors’ walkout. Studios don’t want to lose money by starting a new production and then having to shut it down.
As with the writers, the key issues are new-media and DVD residuals. When the writers went on strike after they were unable to agree on terms to renew their union’s contract, they threatened to picket awards shows. In a show of solidarity, SAG members said they planned not to cross any picket lines.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided to cancel the Golden Globes, replacing the dinner and show with a scaled-down telecast announcing the winners, sans actors presenting or accepting awards. The Oscars were also in jeopardy, but the writers, under pressure not to ruin the film industry’s marquee event, came to an agreement just before the Feb. 24 show, which proceeded normally.
Since the SAG contract expired on June 30, the guild, which declined to accept the same terms as the writers, has been deadlocked with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
While SAG maintains that it is simply calling for a vote to authorize its board to decide whether to go on strike — 75 percent of its union members must vote “yes” in order for the guild to proceed — most observers in Hollywood predict that a strike is all but guaranteed.
“This is not the economy to be striking in,” said actress Debi Mazar, a SAG member, known for her roles on “Entourage” on HBO and “Ugly Betty” on ABC. “We can’t afford it.…Designers should be worried not about the red carpet, but about inspiring people to get into stores and just buy the everyday clothes they need. That’s hard enough.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast