Harvey Weinstein has historically not dressed to impress, most likely because he had no need to. It is a tangential injustice of our society that the outfits of Weinstein’s accusers would be mercilessly deconstructed at the same event in which he dressed in an unabashedly irreverent manner. It is hard to imagine a more drastic change to the new Weinstein who shuffles into court. Suddenly weakened to the point of requiring a Zimmer frame, Harvey’s suit is smart and the electronic monitor firmly in place. Considering the inevitable immediate judgements a jury will form of the accused, this sudden frailty seems all too convenient.
However, Weinstein’s sartorial choices are pale in comparison to that of his lead defence attorney. Donna Rotunno choses her clothes like she does her words: carefully. She has built not only a career, but her own firm from defending men accused of serious sexual crimes. Having lost only one of these cases, she is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with, and her wardrobe reflects this fact.
She dresses with classic elegance: stilettos and trench coats, pencil skirts and fashionable skirts. In doing so, her aesthetic rams home a fierce and powerful feminity. Despite many elements of her wardrobe harking back to an era of seventies power dressing, the fuchsia pink and red colour choices make Rotunno appear cosmopolitan and in touch, rather than outdated. With the trial set in New York rather than Weinstein’s preferred location of Chicago, it is even more important she presents well to the jury, creating the right tone before the any words have even left her mouth.
Whilst it might be easy to dismiss such choices as accidental, Rotunno herself has acknowledged the power clothing can hold.
She has previously told the New York Times that ‘jurors appreciate people taking pride in how you dress’ and that she empowers herself through her clothes. Whilst the clothes may send subliminal messages, a more explicit one swings around her neck. A delicate gold chain reads two simple words: Not Guilty. With Rotunno having only ever lost one sex crime case, these words risk being uncomfortably prophetic for some.
But the defence are not the only side exploiting the power of pink and red. The prosecution’s lawyer Gloria Allred has been pictured in authoritative red suits, and women outside the court have followed suit. A legion of Weinstein’s accusers have clustered around the court, wearing red coats to symbolise their allegiance to those who are still able to testify. Whilst there is no explicit suggestion they intended to resemble Margaret Atwood’s handmaids, the film industry’s ability to turn a blind eye is only matched by that of the republic of Gilead.
One accuser stood out from the crowd. Rose McGowan’s blood red coat was beautifully complemented by her furry pale pink hat, unabashedly brazen in its whimsical femininity, perhaps a subtle nod to the pink pussy hats of the #MeToo movement. The prevalence of the colour across the trial led fashion critic Robin Givhan to declare that ‘This is the era of power pink’. Whether the women surrounding Harvey Weinstein are defending or supporting him, they wear their femininity with pride rather than shame.
Red was the emblem of the 20th century socialist revolutions. But the future’s female, and this century’s revolutionary #MeToo movement wears pink with pride.