With the Oscars simply across the nook, you can have simply mistaken the twenty sixth Costume Designers Guild Awards for a late-season “Barbie” get together. However the pops of pink, magenta, and fuchsia that met honorees and visitors all through NeueueHouse in Hollywood on February 21 weren’t nodding to the billion-dollar Greatest Image bid; they had been sending a message to the AMPTP.

“We’re preventing for pay fairness with division inventive heads which are principally male,” Ariyela Wald-Cohain instructed IndieWire. The costume designer is certainly one of 4 craftspeople helming the CDG’s Pay Fairness Steering Committee. Her co-chairs Whitney Anne Adams, Danielle Launzel, and Daniel Selon had been additionally in attendance — donning shiny pink designs with emblems asserting their labor battle.

“Our guild is 87 % feminine, and we do consider it’s as a result of costume design is taken into account ‘girls’s work’ that we’re not getting equal pay,” Wald-Cohain mentioned. “Our jobs are considerably related, and we’re particularly speaking about manufacturing designers and artwork administrators.”

Madeline Voyles as Alphie in 20th Century Studios' THE CREATOR. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Paul Schrader

“Now we have to do that now as a result of the wage hole retains getting larger each single 12 months,” mentioned Adams. The CDG, which expanded on its #NakedWithoutUs marketing campaign by launching the Pay Fairness Now initiative in January, argues that costume designers are paid practically 30 % lower than male majority inventive division heads when assuming a 60-hour work week. That’s regardless of doing jobs CDG members say require related prep, work, and crew building with outcomes that massively impression a manufacturing’s success.

“One of many major issues that we wish to level out is how a lot we form tradition and the way influential we’re to all the pieces that everybody buys,” Adams mentioned. “Our work is essential on the storytelling angle, however it’s additionally necessary to tradition as an entire.”

The annual awards occasion — honoring the most effective in costume design throughout movie, TV, and short-form storytelling, with a brand new class added this 12 months to honor costume illustration — occurred lower than two weeks earlier than negotiations are set to start between the Alliance of Movement Image and Tv Producers (AMPTP) and the Worldwide Alliance of Theatrical Stage Staff (IATSE) on Monday, March 4.

(Left to proper): Terry Gordon, Brigitta Romanov, Wendi McLendon-Covey

The specter of extra strikes looms as numerous teams converge on producers to demand modifications from the leisure business. Representatives for the AMPTP didn’t remark.

The SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes of final 12 months had been extra easy than the 2024 bargaining cycle might be, however the labor disputes ought to put simply as massive a squeeze on Hollywood. The CDG is certainly one of 13 native guilds heading to the bargaining desk to barter the IATSE Fundamental Settlement subsequent month, and pay parity for CDG members is only one subject in that dialogue. IATSE is concurrently partnering with Teamsters Native 399 and the Fundamental Crafts unions to collectively negotiate the Movement Image Trade Pension and Well being Plan; the teams will discount individually on different points.

Nonetheless, the disparity in pay between women and men in Hollywood took centerstage on awards night time, and the CDG delivered a transparent message. President Terry Gordon opened her guild’s ceremony with a video from SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher (the designer and actor labored collectively on “The Nanny”), who inspired members to remain sturdy of their battle and lean on their fellow unionized creatives. CDG Govt Director Brigitta Romanov echoed the actress’ statements.

“Allow us to recommit ourselves to the continuing battle for justice, equality, and dignity for all employees — and a future the place each employee is handled with the respect and dignity they deserve,” she mentioned. Romanov wore a shiny shell-pink costume on the podium, however a Pay Fairness Now-patterned cape on the crimson carpet; Gordon wore a costume in a deeper purple-pink (a metallic shade this reporter can’t title, however anybody there absolutely might).

“Now we have a historical past of gender disparity and due to this fact a pay inequity amongst costume designers, assistant costume designers, and costume illustrators, and it’s as a result of the costume division’s work is seen as ‘pink collar’ work,” Selon instructed IndieWire. “However that’s not true; that’s previous information. That’s an previous mind-set, and we’re transferring into a brand new time.”

The one male co-chair of the Pay Fairness Steering Committee, Selon described an emotional connection to his craft and feeling a accountability to his friends.

“What I can carry to the desk is what’s subconsciously given to me. What I get is strictly what my feminine friends are denied, and that’s respect and the next wage,” he mentioned, nodding to the continuing gendered points that persist even with the CDG. “There are lots of proficient feminine costume designers, however I do know they should work twice as arduous to realize what a male costume designer achieves. And that isn’t proper, and we’re searching for to alter that, and we’re altering that.”

(Left to proper): Daniel Selon, Whitney Anne Adams, Ariyela Wald-Cohain, and Danielle Launzel

As troublesome conversations ramp up on the bargaining desk — and privately between producers and established designers already working above the essential pay scale fee over which the CDG is arguing — the stress to attract consideration to pay parity is rising.

The Pay Fairness Now press launch in January explains, “A stark gender pay hole continues to widen yearly with the negotiated AMPTP value of dwelling will increase. When every IATSE scale fee will get the identical proportion enhance yearly it compounds to a a lot larger disparity between positions over time.” If true, that costume designers and, for instance, manufacturing designers can’t dream of comparable retirements is a matter for creatives on the highest stage of the artwork.

“I’ve to confess, whereas I used to be prepping to do that present, I used to be astounded to be taught in regards to the inequities in pay scale for costume designers,” mentioned host Wendi McLendon-Covey. “Then, I did a bit digging, and I noticed, ‘Oh yeah, it’s as a result of it’s a woman-dominated subject.’ And God, I hate cliches.” The actress wore a pink swimsuit and revealed a Pay Fairness Now T-shirt to applause. Notably, the CDG has an extended historical past of advocating for pay parity by way of vogue; designer Jenny Beavan even had a “Bare With out Us” embellishment on her sleeve when she received the Oscar for “Cruella” in 2022.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 21: Doug Boney, Ivy Heather Thaide, Catherine Adair, and David Matwijkow attend the 26th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 21, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Elyse Jankowski/WireImage)
(Left to proper): Doug Boney, Ivy Heather Thaide, Catherine Adair, and David MatwijkowWireImage

Annette Bening, who was not current, acquired the Highlight Award for her career-long appreciation for and championing of costume design. The “Nyad” star chairs the board of the Leisure Group Fund, which provides monetary reduction and psychological well being sources to actors and different creatives throughout labor disputes. She despatched remarks, learn by McLendon Covey.

“As IATSE goes to the bargaining committee later this 12 months, we’re right here for you,” Bening wrote. “As a result of in the case of costume design, it’s not nearly discovering the proper costume for a personality; it’s about having the power of character to handle the problems that guarantee the flexibility to dwell one’s life as a inventive skilled.”

Endorsements from high-profile supporters — like, say, a Greatest Actress nominee — can show essential to craftspeople getting energy over producers throughout negotiations.

“With the actors, it’s troublesome as a result of all people is asking them to do one thing. Everyone is asking for his or her help as a result of they’ve such a robust voice,” Launzel, the fourth of the committee co-chairs, instructed IndieWire. “However the greatest praise you will get is when an actor comes into the room, and also you costume them, and so they say, ‘Oh! Now, I do know who this character is.’”

(Left to proper): Mynka Draper, Julie Vogel, Shirley Kurata

Sporting a one-legged, one-armed classic Gaultier tuxedo — with a newly normal Pay Fairness cummerbund and hat — costume designer Mandi Line commented on an absence of labor throughout the strikes (“I wore this eight years in the past… however we’ve got to be on finances!”) and reported higher compensation for costume designers on productions in Canada and Germany. The potential for artists fleeing Hollywood for worldwide markets is a buzzy dialog amongst producers.

“Costume designers actually take the story to display; we’re storytellers above and past,” Line mentioned. “I’m right down to work 16 or 18 hours, however I wish to be paid the identical as a manufacturing designer. It’s simply time. On the finish of the day, it’s not about being indignant or being ugly or preventing — it’s simply time to be paid what we deserve.”

“We’re paid a lot much less as a result of we’re a female-oriented job,” mentioned Erica D. Schwartz, an assistant costume designer who wore an enormous, drag queen-inspired ball robe made in Pay Fairness Now cloth. “We’re preventing for pay fairness as a result of it’s the regulation, and we haven’t gotten it in a long time.”

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 21:  Trayce Gigi Field attends the 26th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 21, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Trayce Gigi AreaGetty Photos

Even all through that frustration, there was nonetheless a palpable ardour for the craft.

“I wasn’t going to indicate up tonight as a result of I’m so stressed a couple of costume. I can barely suppose,” mentioned Excellence in Quick Type Design winner B. Åkerlund in her acceptance speech. The designer took dwelling the prize for her brief movie with Madonna and Vainness Honest, sporting a pink puff robe and Pay Fairness Now earrings.

“However then I assumed, ‘Hey, I work actually arduous and I respect everybody that voted for me.’ And we have to bear in mind to reward ourselves as a result of I at all times put my job in entrance of myself. So right here I’m. I’m going to seize the award, and I’m going to return to my job.”

Conversely, profitable the primary ever CDGA for Excellence in Costume Illustration, “Insurgent Moon” visionary Jason Pastana punctuated his acceptance by reminding the viewers he wanted work.

(Left to proper): Shangela, Rochelle Carino

Jacqueline Duran snagged the CDGA statuette for Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie for “Barbie”— satirically sporting black. When requested in regards to the guild’s use of pink and the Barbie of all of it, Launzel mentioned she hadn’t actually put Pay Fairness Now and the Mattel film collectively.

“However I’ll say, the entire dialog round America Ferrara’s monologue and character explains precisely what we do and the way we really feel about what we do,” the designer mentioned. “Being a girl is a phenomenal factor, however it’s additionally actually effing arduous. And if I used to be a person, I might say fucking.”  

Requested the identical, Line popped off her self-made hat. The costume designer has had brief pink hair for years and cites not Mattel however Janelle Monáe as inspiration.

“Pink,” she mentioned, “is my favourite colour.”  

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