BUSINESS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fashion Designers Also Suffering As WGA Strike Continues

Elie Saab, a design house known for couture gowns that sell at $20,000 and up, has built its brand by loaning dresses to celebrities in hopes they will wear them to high-profile events.

The house, based in Paris and Beirut, hit the big-time in 2002 when actress Halle Berry wore an Elie Saab gown as she accepted her Academy Award for Best Actress. Last year, three actresses wore Elie Saab to the Golden Globe Awards, including Kate Walsh, a then-star of the ABC drama "Grey's Anatomy." Ms. Walsh -- and her dress -- appeared prominently in In Style magazine's "The Look of the Golden Globes" feature soon after.

Now that Sunday's Golden Globe Awards ceremony has been canceled amid a strike by film and television writers -- and with the prospect of other possible award-show cancellations -- the fashion industry is having to consider a squeeze on its bottom line.

Exposure at the shows has amounted to tens of millions of dollars of free advertising for Elie Saab, says spokeswoman Marilyn Heston. The ceremony is a "major opportunity that is going to be missed," she says. The impact could be even greater if studio executives, wives of actors and other attendees return the Elie Saab gowns they bought at stores to wear to the ceremony. "Some people actually buy dresses, believe it or not," Ms. Heston says.

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