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Marchesa Cofounder To Depart Company After Challenging Few Years Post-Weinstein

Keren Craig is set to exit Marchesa, the luxury fashion label she founded with Georgina Chapman, to pursue new “creative opportunities.” The duo have designed collections for the brand since its inception in 2004, but now Chapman will be going at it solo.

“While I have made the difficult decision to part ways with Marchesa, I have tremendous pride in the company, the team, and the many successes achieved. Marchesa will always be the realization of a dream,” Craig announced in a statement. “Over the last 16 years, it has been the most incredible and fulfilling professional journey. I am excited to now begin exploring additional creative opportunities and to push my potential as a designer in new directions.”

Marchesa, known for its ethereal gowns and opulent fabrics and embroideries, has had a difficult couple of months following the Harvey Weinstein scandal in October 2017. Chapman, 43, was married at the time to the former Hollywood film producer. Even though the couple has since divorced, Weinstein’s perceived association with the brand made it so that celebrities stopped wearing Marchesa on the red carpet altogether for a while. (Weinstein was reported to have pressured A-listers to wear the brand for film premieres and events to get it off the ground during its early stages.)

Additionally, Marchesa decided to stop showing on the runway following the scandal, even though it was once a staple of New York Fashion Week. Since then, the brand has quietly released lookbooks for new collections to the press and held some small presentations without the cofounders present, according to WWD.

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However, Marchesa has been slowly returning to the Hollywood red carpet circuit as a more and more celebrities have been seen wearing confections from the New York-based brand. Stars like Constance Wu, Laura Donnelly and Scarlett Johansson showed their support for Chapman, wearing her designs for big events like the Met Gala and the Tony Awards. Marchesa’s comeback was arguably orchestrated by Vogue editor Anna Wintour in May of 2018, when the magazine profiled Chapman for its June issue.

“I am firmly convinced that Georgina had no idea about her husband’s behavior; blaming her for any of it, as too many have in our gladiatorial digital age, is wrong,” Wintour wrote in her editor’s letter. “I believe that one should not hold a person responsible for the actions of his or her partner.”

There have been many fashion brands over the years operating with two creative directors that have since split. Valentino used to be designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri before Chiuri took the helm at Christian Dior and Piccioli stayed on. Longtime Rag & Bone business partners David Neville and Marcus Wainwright went their separate ways in 2017 (Wainwright is the current CEO), and the duo behind Cushnie et Ochs (now Cushnie) split last year, with co-founder Carly Cushnie remaining at the label.

As such, it remains to be seen whether Marchesa will be able to stage a full-fledged comeback among Hollywood and the fashion set alike, and whether it will garner the same visibility it once achieved before.

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