Designers are frequently snubbed out of licensing deals when it comes to merchandise, and now leaders in the Costume Designers Guild are calling for them to get their due credit.
Fashion Line Made Without Jenny Beavan’s Knowledge
A fashion line inspired by the acclaimed costumes in Disney’s new film “Cruella” was released without the knowledge of the award-winning designer who worked on the film.
Jenny Beavan has been a costume designer for several decades, earning 10 Academy Award nominations and winning two: one for “Mad Max: Fury Road” and another for “A Room With a View.” Prior to the pandemic temporarily shutting the industry down, she was tasked with designing the eye-popping frocks in “Cruella,” a movie where the costumes are especially important because the film itself centers around a war of fashion.
Beavan told Variety that there had been some discussions with Disney about co-branded products for Target and Singer sewing machines, as well as talks about a possible fashion collection, but once production ended and COVID-19 hit, that moved to the backburner. She said she never heard another word about it until a month ago when a friend sent her an Instagram post where Rag & Bone advertised its new officially licensed “Cruella”-inspired collection. The friend asked if Beavan was involved, but she said she had never even heard of it until seeing that post.
“I just was sort of horrified,” she told Variety. “The thing about ‘Cruella’ is that you’ve got a film about fashion, about two fashion designers. The whole story is them almost having a war using fashion. So, that’s so disrespectful to then bring out fashion lines.”
Costume Designers Frequently Get Snubbed Out of Licensing Deals
Like she has throughout her career, Beavan worked tirelessly on the costumes for “Cruella.” She told Vogue she traveled from London to New York to Los Angeles collecting vintage pieces, ultimately putting together a total of 47 original looks for the titular character, played by Emma Stone, alone.
Stone’s co-star, Emma Thompson, wore another 33 original outfits. On top of this, Vanity Fair reported that in some scenes, Beavan was responsible for dressing up to 150–200 background characters in some scenes with large crowds. While reviews for the film vary, the one thing critics largely agree on is that the costumes were a smashing highlight.
Despite the hard work that Beavan and so many other designers put into curating cohesive looks for their films, it is actually quite common for designers to be snubbed out of licensing agreements when the film’s outfits turn into a commercial spectacle.
According to Variety, a licensed “Birds of Prey” collection was released by Her Universe without the involvement of designer Erin Benach. Mona May, the designer behind the famous ensembles in “Clueless” and “Enchanted,” was similarly slighted when it came to merchandise involving the costumes she made for both films.
She told Variety she remembered seeing “Clueless” dolls in 1995 that wore her costumes “like verbatim — the yellow suit, the black suit.” She said she found it “shocking that I was not involved at all and I had no compensation for something that huge.”
She also said the princess dress Amy Adams’ character wore in “Enchanted” ended up being remade “to a tee” into children’s costumes.
“It’s such an old studio system in the sense that we basically sign [away] our life when we sign a contract, and there is no way around it,” she told Variety. Beavan likewise told the outlet that no matter how hard contracts are negotiated, “You basically do sign your life away,”
New York-based fashion writer Laurie Brookins added on Twitter that scandals like this are unfortunately “far from new.”
“As far back as the 1930s, studios worked with retailers — the Macy’s Cinema Shop was the best example — on designs that were sometimes exact copies of film costumes,” she said. “Joan Crawford’s ‘Letty Lynton’ dress sold like crazy; Adrian [the designer] never saw a penny.
Costume Designers Guild and Stylists Speak Out
While Variety‘s report noted that there are cases where designers get to be involved in lines inspired by the shows they worked on, like ones for “Mad Men” and “Gossip Girl”, more often than not, designers are not so lucky. and more, where designers for those shows got to be involved in related lines, it is by no means a common practice, and most designers are not so lucky.
“Historically, this is a huge issue for our membership, and for all costume designers,” the communications director for the Costume Design Guild Anna Wyckoff told Variety. “Because, as everyone knows, a costume has a long life after the project — in merchandising and toys and Halloween costumes. So there are many opportunities for the costumes to be used in an ancillary marketing fashion.”
The Guild’s president, Salvador Pérez Jr. echoed similar frustrations and called for designers to get their due credit when merchandise includes their work.
“As costume designers, our work has a life beyond the screen,” he told the outlet. “Our work is reproduced for toys, costumes, fashion collections and more. Not only are we not allowed to participate in the profits made off of the merchandising, we aren’t even credited for our work on the original designs.”
“Costume designers who help generate additional revenues from productions deserve to be compensated for the additional income earned,” he continued.
Other designers, including Mumbai-based stylist Vaidehi Krishnan, echoed his calls. Krishnan wrote that not crediting designers is “disrespectful to the art of moviemaking. Especially when characters would be naked without us.”
Some, including the Costume Designer’s Guild and designers like Kathleen Felix Hager, are starting to use the hashtags #NakedWithoutUs and #CreditCostumeDesigners in hopes of bringing attention to these issues.
Disney did not respond to Variety’s request for comment.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (ScreenRant) (Daily Dot)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.
Actress Pushed at Protest
After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights.
Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”
Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.
Sweetin Addresses Incident
Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over.
“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.
According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter.
“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)
Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”
The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it.
Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene
“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film.
“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion.
“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”
Evans argued those opinions are outdated.
“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”
“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.
Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen
According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife.
Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.
The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.”
Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard.
“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”