The colour black has long made a powerful fashion statement. It signifies sleek, strong, stylish, alluring. The ubiquitous little black dress, made famous by "Coco" Chanel, and the equivalent male staple, the tuxedo, announce sophistication. Equally, the dramatic colour is used to reinforce a rebellious alternative aesthetic. It is, of course, the traditional Western colour for mourning attire, and packs a powerful punch when it comes to making a political point, too.
That was certainly the case at yesterday's Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, where the majority of high-profile actresses ditched the traditional array of bold, bright and often outrageous frocks, instead walking the red carpet in more sober black dresses, to protest about a serious issue: the sexual harassment and abuse of (predominantly) women in Hollywood - and beyond.
The protest follows a flood of allegations against powerful US producer Harvey Weinstein, the man behind many blockbusters, and subsequently US heavyweight actor Kevin Spacey. After the initial allegations made by US actress Rose McGowan, fellow actress Alyssa Milano's #MeToo tweet provided the social media platform for women (and some men) the world over to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
The Golden Globes (which are presented for excellence in film and television) kick off the Hollywood awards season. It was the first high-profile physical occasion where actresses - and actors and presenters alike - could unite in solidarity and make a powerful live visual statement, guaranteed to be relayed to millions of viewers on various platforms around the world.
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It acts as something of a litmus test for the mood ahead of the Academy Awards, the top industry honours, bestowed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which expelled Weinstein at the end of last year as the allegations grew.
The blackout idea was generated by a new movement, Time's Up, which has created a multimillion-dollar legal defence fund to help women in less privileged professions protect themselves from similar sexual misconduct and the possible consequences of reporting it.
One of those consequences is, regrettably, the vicious way in which this debate has set some women against one another. The aforementioned McGowan lambasted Hollywood heavyweight Meryl Streep, one of those behind the Time's Up blackout idea, labelling it a stupid stunt and accusing Streep and others of being hypocritical.
There will inevitably be differing ideas about the best way to expose abuse, support survivors and effect change. The trauma experienced by some cannot be underestimated and tensions are understandably high. This is no mere fashion statement, after all.
But dirty deeds thrive in the dark, and disunity provides a fertile breeding ground. The ugly truths of inequity, discrimination, intimidation and abuse must be brought to light and kept there. What better place to do it than on the Hollywood red carpet, in the full glare of the media, with the whole world watching?