Article by 

On the day in late February when I arrive at Georgina Chapman’s town house in the West Village to interview her, it’s unseasonably hot, nearly 80 degrees. I am ushered to the parlor floor, where, even though it feels like August outside, a fire is roaring away. As I wait, it suddenly dawns on me that I am sitting in Harvey Weinstein’s living room. He purchased the six-story house in 2006, the year before he married Chapman, and she has since put her stamp all over it: black floors and white rugs, chinoiserie, lots of gilt and glass, hydrangeas in a vase, a Jo Malone candle burning. On a console table are silver-framed photographs from happier times, mostly of the couple’s children: India and Dashiell, seven and five. All evidence of the original occupant would appear to have been scrubbed away—except for a large piece of art hanging in the hallway. At the bottom, it is signed, “For Harvey Weinstein.” The drawing is dominated by a large empty circle, next to which it reads, “The moon was here.”

I had been introduced to Chapman, dressed in a floor-length dark print dress, a couple of weeks earlier at the West Twenty-sixth Street atelier of the fashion company, Marchesa, that she co-owns with Keren Craig. That day, she struck me as hyperalert: flitting around, wide-eyed and nervous, uncomfortable in her skin—or lack thereof, as it were. She mentioned, almost in passing, that she hadn’t been out in public in five months—not since the news broke in October of so many unbearably similar accusations by so many women of harassment, abuse, and rape perpetrated by her husband…

…Not long after the news broke, common wisdom had it that no actress would ever wear a Marchesa dress again, and no bride would ever walk down the aisle in a gown designed by Chapman. In January, she canceled the runway show for Marchesa’s fall 2018 collection, which fueled rumors that the brand was in trouble. But Chapman says she herself made the decision not to offer any clothes for awards season. “We didn’t feel it was appropriate given the situation,” she says. “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.”…

…As our lunch is winding down, I ask, almost in passing, if Chapman really hadn’t been out in five months; she seems to shrink before my eyes as her mouth goes dry. “I was so humiliated and so broken . . . that . . . I, I, I . . . didn’t think it was respectful to go out,” she says. “I thought, Who am I to be parading around with all of this going on? It’s 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.”

I ask if she’s been seeing a therapist. “I have,” she says. “At first I couldn’t, because I was too shocked. And I somehow felt that I didn’t deserve it. And then I realized: This has happened. I have to own it. I have to move forward.” She takes a long, deep breath. “There was a part of me that was terribly naive—clearly, sonaive. 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?” She has been crying through most of this, and now she breaks down into sobs loud enough that her assistant appears with a box of tissues. “What are people going to say to them?” She is crying so hard she has to take a moment. “It’s like, they love their dad. They love him.” It is almost unbearable to witness, this broken person in front of me. “I just can’t bear it for them!”…

…One of the criticisms that has been leveled at Marchesa is that they’d have been nothing without Harvey Weinstein, who, people have claimed, bullied stars into wearing his wife’s dresses. “They absolutely had a push from Harvey,” says Chapman’s friend the writer Neil Gaiman. “But you cannot hype something from nothing and make it last. And Harvey’s hyping worked because George is actually an artist. I’ve watched her at work and been impressed and fascinated. She has a vision, and she’s really good at it.”

…When the one-two punch of all of the allegations against Weinstein landed in early October—first the New York Times investigation, followed by the much more damning piece in The New Yorker a few days later—Chapman was in a kind of stupor. “I lost ten pounds in five days. I couldn’t keep food down.” I ask her how long it took for her to absorb the information. “About two days,” she says. “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.”

…Because of the scale of Weinstein’s abuse and manipulations—and the lengths he allegedly went to to cover them up—there is a widely held assumption of complicity on Chapman’s part. “She must have known” is what so many people say at dinner parties. “The thing that pains me,” says her friend the model and singer Karen Elson, “is that when anyone finds out that I know George, that’s the first thing they say. Like she is somehow responsible for his hideous behavior. When I say, ‘Well, actually she didn’t know,’ it becomes this other judgment: ‘How could she not have known?’ Or: ‘Well, that’s on her if she didn’t.’ It’s so complicated.”

It’s complicated, but it is also the oldest story in the book. Even Chapman points out that—putting aside the enormity of her situation—women are betrayed by their husbands every day because they turn out to be not the men their wives thought they were. “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.”

Chapman first met Weinstein socially, at a party, and they began dating on and off. “I was living in England, and I had just come out of a relationship, so it was very slow.” Was it a good marriage? “That’s what makes this so incredibly painful: I had what I thought was a very happy marriage. I loved my life.” Asked if she was ever suspicious about his behavior, she says, “Absolutely not. Never.” For one thing, he traveled constantly. “And I’ve never been one of those people who obsesses about where someone is.”

It’s very difficult now for people to imagine that there was ever anything good about Harvey Weinstein. But the fact remains that before all of the horrifying revelations, most people thought Weinstein could be an asshole and a bully, but they didn’t think he was a monster. There is always that beauty-and-the-beast mystery: What does she see in him? When I ask Chapman what the initial attraction was, she says, “Well, he’s a wonderful father to my kids. But initially? He’s charismatic. He’s an incredibly bright, very learned man. And very charitable. He paid for a friend of mine’s mother, who had breast cancer, to go to a top doctor. He was amazing like that. He is amazing like that. That is the tough part of this . . . this black-and-white thing . . . life isn’t like that.” When I tell her that a friend of the couple’s told me that Weinstein gave Chapman confidence, she says, “Yes. Absolutely. He was a wonderful partner to me. He was a friend and a confidant and a supporter. Yes, he’s a big personality. . . . And . . . but . . . I don’t know. I wish I had the answers. But I don’t.”…

For full article, click here