It’s the end of the red carpet — for now.
The star-studded cast of “Oppenheimer” walked out early from the London premiere on Thursday night, as Hollywood went on strike at midnight in its biggest labor action since 1960.
The dressing credits still went out. Florence Pugh wore a fiery red Valentino gown, and Cillian Murphy a menacing-looking black suit, transparent shirt and bolo tie by Saint Laurent. But they may be the last celebrity red carpet dressing communiqués from luxury brands for a while.
On Friday, actors joined writers in shutting down Hollywood with the unions taking action against streaming services’ pay, the future use of AI in production and more.
The strike means talent cannot walk the Venice and Toronto red carpets, take part in Emmy For Your Consideration campaigns or the upcoming Comic-Con convention. Negotiations, auditions, rehearsals and fittings are also banned, according to SAG-AFTRA strike rules.
Lisa Rinna, who was slated to cohost a store opening party with Philipp Plein on Friday night in L.A., canceled, perhaps to avoid the appearance of partying with the famously glitzy designer on the first day of the strike, while actors are fighting for their livelihood. Over the weekend, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher landed in hot water for glamming it up with Kim Kardashian in an Instagram post from Dolce & Gabbana’s ultra-luxe Alta Moda show in Italy.
But the celebrity fashion social swirl isn’t going quiet.
According to industry sources, under strike rules, actors can still do any commercial or fashion campaign, and do press for those brand partnerships. But they cannot answer questions that are in promotion of TV or film projects. Talent can go to events for a fashion brand, to fashion shows and dinners, but any media questions on the sidelines of the Givenchy cocktail party on Rodeo Drive next week, for example, will have to be light and airy — or pertain to theater, music, podcast or book projects.
Several luxury brands are hosting events here in the coming days, including Givenchy and Hermès, and time will tell whether it becomes difficult to get talent to attend because of optics (not to mention getting people to shop for Birkins, though Hollywood’s highest rollers are not likely to feel the financial pinch).
Stars are hitting the picket lines at Netflix, Amazon, Paramount, Disney, Fox and more, and perhaps, like Writers Guild of America members who have been striking since May, their looks will be documented on the Instagram style account @PicketFits. (It wouldn’t be surprising to see a tone-deaf PR blast go out about what they’re wearing on the picket line, either.)
Much of the Hollywood image-making machine will shut down, too.
A press tour is a no-go for “Haunted Mansion,” the film based on the Disney theme park ride, which promised to be a menswear bonanza, with stars Jared Leto, LaKeith Stanfield, Ryan Gosling and Owen Wilson.
Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called the unions’ demands unrealistic. “It’s very disturbing to me. We’ve talked about disruptive forces on this business and all the challenges we’re facing, the recovery from COVID[-19] which is ongoing; it’s not completely back. This is the worst time in the world to add to that disruption,” he told CNBC.
Without major events to dress for, many stylists will be out of work; hair and makeup people, too.
Behind the scenes at talent agencies, however, fashion dealmaking is already accelerating.
Agents who negotiate commercial deals have been more active than ever in recent months, trying to open up new streams of revenue for talent making diminishing returns on film and TV. The pressure is on to score mega deals like United Talent Agency’s Timothée Chalamet Bleu de Chanel ambassadorship, and get talent more creative roles at brands, like Pharrell Williams at Louis Vuitton and Future at Lanvin.
Without work in the immediate future, clients who been selective in the brand space may be more inclined to make deals and attend fashion shows. After all, while strike rules prevent talent from promoting projects, they don’t say anything about promoting themselves. Giving an interview on a daily beauty regimen or love of dogs may suddenly become a lot more attractive (and media outlets will need the content). There could be a return to pandemic-era, at-home social media fashion shoots, too. And everything promotion-wise that has already shot is embargoed, so those September magazine covers pegged to movies and TV will still be a go.
Fashion and Hollywood could get even cozier if rumors first reported by Bloomberg are true that Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault is taking a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency, the agency that represents his wife Salma Hayek.
The Kering luxury group already has a foothold in Hollywood as a major sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival, with its Women in Motion program showcasing female actors, filmmakers and producers. Kering brand Gucci is the longtime sponsor of the LACMA Art + Film gala in L.A., and Saint Laurent recently launched a film production subsidiary headed by artistic director Anthony Vaccarello, releasing “Strange Way of Life” by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal.
CAA would not comment, Kering denied any involvement of the group, and a spokesperson for François-Henri Pinault and his investment company Artémis declined to comment. But if the deal goes through, CAA clients would likely have a leg up on deals and campaigns for Kering brands.
Of course, WME has had a piece of the fashion world since 2013, when the agency bought IMG Worldwide and its runway events, including New York Fashion Week.
WME’s newly organized fashion division brings the company’s representation and management areas together with its events business. When the spring 2024 shows roll around in September, stars may find they have more time on their hands to attend — or even design. Get ready, Angelina Jolie is already whipping up her first collection with Chloé.