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Alia Shawkat Takes Resistance to the Red Carpet

The event was sponsored by TUMI, American Express, La Perla, and Hearts on Fire. Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Last Saturday, approximately half a million people descended on D.C. for the Women’s March, and Alia Shawkat was one of them. “It was whatever,” the Search Party star sarcastically told the Cut with a laugh at a Harper’s BAZAAR party in West Hollywood last night. “No, it was life changing. It was the most exciting thing. I’m just running off those fumes still, to get through it. Especially this week, it’s like every 20 minutes my New York Times update is blowing my mind, so we can’t forget what’s happened to make a difference.”

Shawkat hopes we use the memory of the march to help us stay mobilized, even as the news seems to worsen. “That was more powerful than actually anything [Trump’s] done. Because it was something that wasn’t controlled by one person, it was people around the world. I mean, I could cry just talking about it. It felt like magic,” she said. “Even though there’s so much information every day and depressing information, and we feel powerless, we’ll look back on [the march] and be like, that was the movement that actually reacted. I have to believe it’s not just a silver lining, it’s [the] powers that be.”

Last night’s magazine fete at the Sunset Tower Hotel may have been celebrating the 150 women Harper’s BAZAAR deemed most fashionable, but according to Shawkat, the personal is political and fashion is deeply personal. “Fashion that’s made a difference always has been [political] — something revolutionary like women wearing pants, you know what I mean? That’s politicalized. All these kinds of things that are transforming the way that culture is and how people carry themselves in the world and how they’re seen — something about high fashion too has that power. It also has a kind of elitism that I feel like counteracts what it’s trying to do at the same time, but I do love fashion and for all it’s maybe superficial bits, there is something powerful about wearing art, and representing who you feel and who you are. Now more than ever, every form of art needs to be commenting on how we’re feeling, any form of fear, anger, all those kinds of things. I think fashion is as much of a high art as anything else.”

Shawkat said that getting ready for the event, she thought about the statement that nudity might make, but opted instead for a black suit jacket, ruffled blouse, and cropped black slacks, a power move in and of itself. “The idea that’s very fashionable now is androgyny. I think that’s also political. It’s like, we can’t be affected by the ideals of some people who are in these higher-up positions and how they view sexuality and the roles of women and the roles of men,” she said. “And I think that something like androgyny, of women dressing however the fuck they want at all times, is very important.”

Alia Shawkat Takes Resistance to the Red Carpet