(NYTimes) - After serving as vehicles for a mass statement on sexual harassment and pay inequity, some of the black dresses and tuxedos of the Golden Globes are ready for their second act. And it is one that may reassure critics who worried that the all-black dress code was an empty gesture of protest.
Beginning at noon on Friday, and for one week, eBay will host an auction for 39 of the dresses and tuxedos worn by celebrities including Laura Dern, Tracee Ellis Ross, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Seth Meyers and Zoe Kravitz to the Golden Globes. Minimum bids will range from US$2,500 to US$10,000 and are based on prices suggested by the designers who donated the pieces.
Why the designers? Most boldface names do not pay for what they wear on the red carpet. Some have contractual relationships with fashion houses that require them to wear designs from those brands. Others receive dresses from designers eager for the exposure, which can be worth significantly more than the cost of the items themselves.
All of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Time's Up Legal Defence Fund, which is administered by the National Women's Law Centre and connects those who experience sexual misconduct in the workplace with lawyers. In some cases, the fund will help cover the costs associated with pursuing legal action.
Given that the opening bids on the gowns are relatively high, the auction's organisers - Conde Nast, Time's Up and eBay - are offering three of the items through a raffle. Those who donate US$25 or more to Time's Up will be entered to win Claire Foy's Stella McCartney suit, Madeline Brewer's backless Diane von Furstenberg gown or Mandy Moore's caped Rosie Assoulin dress.
"We're thrilled that actors and others in the entertainment industry are leading in this extraordinary way to end the scourge of workplace sexual harassment," said Fatima Goss Graves, president and chief executive of the National Women's Law Centre. "Each time they've stepped up, they've inspired more attorneys to join the Time's Up Legal Defence Fund and more individuals to contribute."
Other initiatives from Time's Up include a working group developing ideas for legislation and a drive to push studios and talent agencies to have a more even balance of men and women in their employment.