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Baftas red carpet: Black dominates, stars choose activists as their dates

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The colour of protest is black and the 2018 Baftas reiterated the show of solidarity in Hollywood's watershed moment against sexual abuse and harassment, a trend which began with Golden Globes. Celebrities such as Lupita Nyong'o, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lawrence appeared on the red carpet of the 71st British Academy Film Awards.

"Black Panther" star Nyong'o was dressed in an Elie Saab and Jolie opted for her usual thigh-slit, off-the-shoulder black velvet gown by Ralph and Russo. The actor-director graced the red carpet along with her guest, "First They Killed My Father", writer and human rights activist Loung Ung. The movie is based on Ung's memoir. Lawrence chose a dazzling Dior dress, a new arrival from the runway from their Spring 2018 couture show. "Lady Bird" director Greta Gerwig wore a Jonathan Cohen dress as she turned up at the event. Actor Gemma Arterton, who played a female activist in the West End show about the 1968 Ford sewing machinists' strike, was accompanied by former sewing machine operators Eileen Pullen and Gwen Davis. Arterton chose a black Alberta Ferretti gown for her red carpet appearance. Naomie Harris was joined on the red carpet by activist-writer Afua Hirsch. Andrea Riseborough appeared in a long black dress with a satin skirt, lace bodice and a dash of bright purple. She was one of the Hollywood stars who brought an activist as her guest to highlight importance of the Time's Up movement. Riseborough's date was Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, a British activist working on race relations. Actor Gemma Chan was joined by gender activist Laura Bates, who works against sexual harassment. Saoirse Ronan was one of the highlights at the event as she stepped out in a black dress which featured a section of feathered fringe before developing into a sheer skirt. Helena Bonham Carter wore Vivienne Westwood. Salma Hayek went with a sleek long-sleeved black floral gown by Gucci.

But Best Actress winner Frances McDormand and Israeli model Hofit Golan were among a few who did not choose black as the sartorial hue. Wearing a  long-sleeved, print-heavy dress, McDormand pointed out to her choice of dressing - what was not lost on many, in her acceptance speech. "I have a little trouble with compliance. But I want you to know that I stand in full solidarity with my sisters tonight in black," she said. Golan wore a long silver gown with a black belt to the event. Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton received mild criticism for choosing an emerald green Jenny Packham attire as she defied the call to wear black as part of the fight against sexual abuse and harassment. Celebs also wore white roses at the Grammys earlier this month to acknowledge a message of peace inherent with a warning, rejecting injustice towards women.

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