Well, it's award show season again. Or is it?
The Writers Guild of America's strike, which has forced the cancellation of the Golden Globes broadcast and threatens the beloved Oscars, has put a big fat dent in this normally joyous season of guilty pleasure TV.
The Globes will be given out at a closed-door ceremony, but no red carpet or show will be televised for the fans. What fun is that? Do we really care who won? Or does our enjoyment come from the sadistic critiquing of stars' fashion choices?
To paraphrase (and butcher, frankly) the old "if a tree falls in the forest" saying, if an actor wins an award but we can't praise her gown, has she really won? And to pull out another tried-and-true adage, isn't this show business? Shouldn't the show go on?
Now, I don't purport to know the business of Hollywood. I know the business of fashion and trashin', and trust me when I tell you the fashion houses and tabloid rags are taking a major hit. Without the pictures of primped, posing stars, the Hollywood shutterbugs will have to keep chasing the usual suspects to Starbucks, courtrooms or rehab in order to earn a living. And designers of jewels, shoes and glamorous gowns and tuxes will have to find a new way to hype and promote their couture creations.
Normally, an event like the Golden Globes is a hornet's nest of hairspray and high-end frocks with stars shamelessly pandering to the press for attention and approval for the look they didn't create or probably even pay for. The reality is that most of those on the red-hot red carpet have not personally spent a penny of their own overinflated salary (that's what the studios are for) on their looks. In fact, they haven't even spent much time pulling it all together. Typically, we're talking about a simple speed dial call to the publicist and we stylists are off and running to serve our prestigious clientele.
I've even been keeping a fashionable eye on new designers such as Luisa Beccaria, David Meister, Zuhair Murad and Vlassis Holevas — a new discovery of mine from Greece whose dresses I was planning to use to entice and titillate my BFF and client Keisha Whitaker (the gorgeous, glamorous wife of last year's best actor Oscar winner, Forest Whitaker).
When I caught him on the phone today, Vlassis had this to say on the state of the awards shows (in his ever-improving broken English): "We prepare far in advance, work hard, endure a lot of expenses and last minute, everything is done for no reason. Especially for the ones like me that travel from Europe. I'll try to make the most out of it and prepare for the other awards and especially for the Oscars."
These ceremonies can be an unknown designer's big break, their chance to share a little bit of that thousand-watt spotlight. The opportunity for someone who wants their artistic creativity to be seen, worn and appreciated by the masses during the Globes and Oscars in invaluable, even immeasurable.
Ellie Saab relayed as much to me after I discovered him several years ago, and did my part to help provide him with the opportunity of a lifetime: dressing Halle Berry for her historic Oscar win.
"After Halle wore my dress," he said, "the whole world took notice." Actresses who couldn't even pronounce Ellie's name were clamoring to wear his dresses. In the years since, he's dressed stars including Catherine Zeta Jones and Debra Messing and he's become a major player in the world of couture.
Of course, the award show circuit has also become a petri dish for marketing all sorts of products, not just fashion. This time of year, L.A.'s hotels are chock full of "gifting suites" run by high-powered PR firms where celebrities can grab as much free booty — jewelry, spa services, lingerie, beauty products — as they can carry out the door. These companies are also prepping to absorb a major hit. So far, most of these gifters have said their operations will remain open, but with this bare-bones version of the Golden Globes, frankly, these suites seem garish and inappropriate. You don't have an engagement party without a wedding, do you?
But isn't all this the point of a strike? To make a loud statement? To harm the guys on the other side of the negotiations? Well, what about harming your own? I can't help but feel bad for the new crop of nominees like Marion Cotillard from "La Vie en Rose" or Ellen Page from "Juno." And what about the adorable Nikki Blonsky from "Hairspray" and Emile Hirsch from "Into the Wild"? How can they enjoy their moment in the spotlight when there's no spotlight?