Georgina Chapman announces she will leave Harvey Weinstein

Fashion designers Keren Craig, left, and Georgina Chapman, co-founders of Marchesa, attend a special screening of ‘Wind River,’ in New York. (AP)
Updated 11 October 2017
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Georgina Chapman announces she will leave Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK: Designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are two fashion swans worthy of the red carpet gowns they create for A-list stars. So exactly how will their dramatic luxury brand Marchesa fare in the onslaught of sexual abuse claims against Chapman’s disgraced husband, Harvey Weinstein?
Chapman took what some believed was her only brand-saving leap Tuesday as allegations against Weinstein mounted, breaking her silence when she told People she was leaving the film mogul she married in 2007. The divorce revelation, following Weinstein’s remarks last week that she was standing by her man, came as some on social media called for a Marchesa boycott.
“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time,” Chapman said in her statement.
Marchesa did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
As fashion fairytales go, this one is a classic — for Chapman and Weinstein, to be sure, but also for Chapman and Craig. The pair has been best friends since they met as teens in a life drawing class nearly a quarter century ago at the Chelsea College of Art & Design in London, Elle magazine wrote in 2011.
The Marchesa origin story reads like this: The 41-year-old Chapman was an actress working as a costume designer in 2003 when she was spotted at a party in one of her own designs by the late fashion magazine editor and muse Isabella Blow, who urged her to focus on the art of evening dressing. Chapman and Craig were already considering a company of their own at the time, founding the brand in 2004, the year Chapman met Weinstein at a party in New York City.
Though they did not date at first, the blog Jezebel noted Chapman’s coming out on the arm of Weinstein at the 2005 Golden Globe Awards. Marchesa had already dressed Renee Zellweger for the UK premiere of “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” in 2004 and Cate Blanchett at the premiere of “The Aviator,” executive produced by Weinstein, that same year.
At the 2005 Globes, Diane Kruger wore Marchesa. She was starring in “National Treasure,” produced by Disney, Miramax’s parent company at the time, Jezebel reported.
Weinstein and Chapman have two small children, ages 7 and 4. After their marriage, they presided as a Hollywood power couple as Marchesa continued to feast on the fruits of Weinstein’s celebrity connections. The axis on red carpets has continued through the years.
Marketing researcher Robert Passikoff, president of the New York-based consultancy Brand Keys, said only time will tell exactly how Marchesa does in the Weinstein fallout, especially among non-famous consumers as opposed to red carpet stars.
“When the house is still burning people comment about the flames and the smoke,” he said. “A month later, when people are just looking at the ashes, they tend to forget about these things.”
On the backs of celebrities, will craftsmanship win out over Weinstein influence-peddling that helped put Marchesa in the limelight? Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have lined up with numerous other women to allege mistreatment, first reported Thursday by The New York Times.
“He may have been the doorway in but the fact is the clothes make the women,” Passikoff said. “It is ultimately how the designers behave in this situation that will have a greater effect than all of the stuff that he did.”
Chapman’s move toward divorce will speak volumes in that regard.


Free bus rides driving safer births for Nepali women

Updated 17 July 2018
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Free bus rides driving safer births for Nepali women

  • The UN Population Fund says giving birth remains a leading killer of women of reproductive age in Nepal
  • A huge obstacle to safe deliveries is the Himalayan nation’s tough terrain, which often makes getting to a health facility a long and expensive journey

RAMECHHAP, Nepal: As a teenager Meera Nepali was terrified as she went into labor with her first child at home in a remote village, miles from a hospital with nobody but her mother-in-law to help.
“I was a scared, but that was the norm. We didn’t have doctors close by,” Nepali said of her three-day labor in Khadadevi village in Nepal’s hilly Ramechhap district.
This year however, she delivered her second child in a rural health center thanks to a small cash incentive that is getting pregnant women to hospital by paying their bus fares.
The Aama Surakshya, or “protection for mothers,” program has helped more than two million Nepali women access medical services in the impoverished country where dying in childbirth remains a very real risk.
The UN Population Fund says giving birth remains a leading killer of women of reproductive age in Nepal, where the risk of dying in childbirth is higher than anywhere else in South Asia except Afghanistan.
A huge obstacle to safe deliveries is the Himalayan nation’s tough terrain, which often makes getting to a health facility a long and expensive journey, as well as the paucity of clinics in many parts of the country.
“We found that one of the main reasons rural women did not go to a hospital during childbirth was because they did not have hard cash to pay for transportation,” said Suresh Tiwari, one of the original architects of the scheme.
The program was started in 2005 with British aid money but has since been taken over by the Nepal government.
Today, it covers not just transport but medical costs for mothers and babies and includes a cash bonus for attending antenatal check-ups.
2017 marked a milestone for the program: more Nepali women opted for hospital births over home deliveries for the first time on record, official figures show.
“The free service and transport incentive have been very effective in bringing women to health centers and hospitals where they can be saved in the case of complications,” said Tara Nath Pokharel, head of the government’s Family Health Division, which now runs the program.
Nepali, one of the beneficiaries, paid nothing for her three-day stay at a clinic in Ramechhap district, east of Katmandu, in January.
She was discharged with 1,000 rupees ($9) for transport plus a 400 rupee bonus for attending four antenatal appointments.
“I returned home in an ambulance. We hardly had to spend anything. I am really grateful for this facility,” Nepali said, cradling her young son in her arms.
The scheme is also saving lives outside the maternity wards, in part by tackling cultural obstacles.
Deeply patriarchal attitudes and traditional preferences for home births also see hospital visits dismissed as an unnecessary expense for poor families.
Sita Khatri went into labor weeks before her due date and, unable to walk the three hours to the nearest health center, gave birth to a healthy boy at home.
But the 27-year-old suffered a retained placenta, a painful and potential fatal complication of childbirth, and had to plead with her husband to take her to hospital.
“He said we don’t have money. I insisted, saying there are government facilities, we won’t have to spend too much,” Khatri said.
“It is better to go the hospital than to die at home.”
Eventually Khatri’s husband relented, and she was treated for free at a nearby clinic. The couple were also given 1,000 rupees to pay for transport.
But some women cannot be reached by road and must be carried, while others encounter poorly equipped facilities once they arrive, said Niliza Shakya, a doctor at a health center in Ramechhap.
“Some women still don’t have the decision-making power to say they want to go to a hospital, and health posts like ours are not equipped enough,” said Shakya.
Nepal managed to reduce maternal mortality by 71 percent between 1990 and 2015 — just missing out on an ambitious Millennium Development Goal to reduce the rate by three-quarters.
But it has a long way to go in improving the overall quality of its health care, said Binjwala Shrestha, a charity worker from the Safe Motherhood Network Federation of Nepal.
“Reaching the hospital alone is not enough,” she said.