Fashion designer Georgina Chapman has spoken publicly for the first time about the scandal surrounding her ex-husband Harvey Weinstein, telling the June issue of American Vogue that she never suspected the disgraced film producer of the multiple sexual assaults of which he has been accused.
The interview will be interpreted as an attempt to rehabilitate Chapman’s fashion brand, Marchesa, which was tainted by its association with Weinstein. This week, the brand controversially secured its first A-list endorsement since the scandal, being worn at the Met Gala by Scarlett Johansson.
“Absolutely not. Never,” she replied, when asked if she had suspicions, adding that she has “never been one of those people who obsesses about where someone is.” She later says: “I had what I thought was a very happy marriage. I loved my life.”
The 42-year-old fashion designer, who runs her New York-based label with her business partner Keren Craig, told the magazine that she was “humiliated and so broken” when the news came to light and that it is “still so very very raw. I was walking up the stairs the other day and I stopped; it was like all the air had been punched out of my lungs.”
Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, India, 7, and Dashiell, 5, also disclosed that she has seen a therapist to help her work her way through the situation, even if at first she felt that she “didn’t deserve it.”
“There was a part of me that was terribly naive – clearly, so naive. I have moments of rage, I have moments of confusion, I have moments of disbelief! And I have moments when I just cry for my children. What are their lives going to be?… What are people going to say to them?… It’s like, they love their dad. They love him … I just can’t bear it for them!”
The interviewer, Jonathan van Meter, notes at one point during the interview that Chapman is “crying so hard she has to take a moment” and notes that “it is almost unbearable to witness this broken person in front of me.”
When she first found out about the claims, Chapman says she lost “ten pounds in five days. I couldn’t keep food down.” She says it took her two days to fully comprehend the situation.
“My head was spinning. And it was difficult because the first article was about a time long before I’d ever met him, so there was a minute where I couldn’t make an informed decision. And then the stories expanded and I realized that this wasn’t an isolated incident. And I knew that I needed to step away and take the kids out of here.”
The interview comes two days after Johansson wore a Marchesa dress to the Met Gala, also organized by American Vogue. Several actresses, including Jessica Chastain, have revealed since that Weinstein pressured them to wear the brand when they attended events to promote one of his films. Chapman said the brand’s absence from the red carpet this year was a conscious choice, despite several stars getting in touch and offering to wear something to show their support.
“We didn’t feel it was appropriate given the situation,” she says of not loaning dresses to be worn during award season. “All the women who have been hurt deserve dignity and respect, so I want to give it the time it deserves. It’s a time for mourning, really.”
There has been much speculation about the future of Marchesa, given its association with Weinstein. The brand pulled out of its planned catwalk show at New York Fashion Week in February and without celebrity endorsements has had a quiet presence, apart from on its Instagram account where it appears to be business as usual.
“I don’t want to be viewed as a victim,” she says, “because I don’t think I am. I am a woman in a shit situation, but it’s not unique.”