Why Fashion Designers Said No To Melissa McCarthy's Oscar Dress

Brands turned down Hollywood's hottest publicity opportunity

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Can You Guess Which (Crazy) Fashion Designers Said No To Melissa McCarthy?

According to Melissa McCarthy in the July issue of Redbook, "five or six" fashion designers turned her down when she wanted to hire them to make her Oscar dress. At the time, she was more than a guest at the world's biggest event, she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role in the smash hit Bridesmaids. Instead of ferociously competing for the plum, publicity-rich red carpet job, they turned down the big bucks and big opportunity.

Why? Was it money? Were these designers minting so much moolah they could afford to say no? Salary.com reports the annual median salary of a fashion designer in Los Angeles is $51,325. The median hourly wage is $25 an hour. A fashion designer in New York City fares a bit better; the median annual salary is $55,197 and hourly a whopping $27.

Obviously, these figures don't apply to the crème de la haute like Versace and Chanel. Money wouldn't be the primary motivator for them. But what would be?

Scuttlebutt has it that "brand" is the reason behind the big turndowns. The fear that dressing a plus-size woman, even one as beloved as McCarthy, would negatively affect their cherished brand identity.

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This sorry excuse was no surprise to Chrystal Bougon, founder of the popular CurvyGirlinc.com and head of its thriving community. "I hear from plus-size women day in and day out begging to give their money to the various retailers where they shop. But often there is just nothing that doesn't look like your Grandma's old drapes."

"Since the average American woman is size 14, it seems crazy there aren't more options for the rest of us. We are the standard now," Bougon continues. "Sexy is NOT a size. All of us want to feel sexy and relevant."

Michelle Merritt, acclaimed career coach and recent speaker at the Body Love Conference, shares her insights: "While the media may have found Melissa McCarthy's struggle to find an Oscar gown shocking, plus-size women everywhere just nodded in solidarity when we heard the news. Any woman over a size 16 who has worked in the business world or attended a black tie event knows the struggle it is to find quality fashion to fit her body. Until recently the options were matronly, poorly made, or resembled a tent. It's only been in the last few years that designers like Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren have added a plus-size selection."

"When I go shopping, most of the time I'm disappointed."

"Trying to find stuff that's still fashion-forward in my size is damn near impossible," McCarthy told the Hollywood Reporter in 2011. "It's either for like a 98-year-old woman or a 14-year-old hooker, and there is nothing in the middle." Born out of frustration and disappointment, the kick-ass actress (who studied fashion design in college) is launching her own plus-size clothing line. More than filling this significant retail gap, we expect her new designs to be as beautifully bodacious as she is. It's not only size twos who should be allowed to express their unique personal style.

In the meantime, let's try to figure out which designers said NO to the feisty, fabulous Melissa. Add your guesses to the comments below.

> 5 Career Tips for Plus-Size Professionals

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Erik Baran

She could be a very beautiful woman. Very nice eyes.

12 hours ago Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Surely, TMZ can find out the names of the designers that turned Melissa down and print them..

Monday at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I dont blame them for not wanting to design for a "plus-size" figure.; Who wants to design for a fat woman, I dont care WHO she is?a; they are not stylish!

September 04 2014 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Barbara's comment

Designers that realize that plus size women have plenty of disposable income to spend on fashionable clothing---that's who!!

Monday at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
happiest woman

Seriously bad article, the teaser question isn't answered just speculated upon and you are told to 'guess' who the designers are? Looks like who ever the designers are, their identity is so important that they must remain annonymous. Otherwise we might think that it was too much additional work for reporter Sarah Brown to find out who they were and put that in the article. Any middle school student could have written this after scanning the July issue of Redbook.

September 04 2014 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What did she wear
who made her dress
she is lovely

September 04 2014 at 4:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

NO, Ralph Lauren has NOT just added plus sizes in the last few years. he is on of the few designers who have offered large-sized clothing since at least 1998, when I began buying his line from Bloomingdales. Let's give credit where credit is due.

September 04 2014 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Since the average American woman is size 14, it seems crazy there aren't more options for the rest of us... "

You do have options. Lose weight.

"...We are the standard now,..."

Not exactly something that you should be proud of

"Bougon continues. "Sexy is NOT a size..."

Maybe not 1 size, but it is a range of sizes, and you're well beyond it.

"All of us want to feel sexy and relevant."

Then lose weight. I'm broke and lazy. I want to feel sexy and relevant too. What's that? Women are turned off by that? Hm...

September 02 2014 at 5:31 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to twocrudedudes's comment
Erik Baran

Absolutely right on, especially the last part. When do we get to see the sexy fat guys in Speedos column? With the sidebar about how women love their look.

12 hours ago Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If I were Melissa, I would have named names right there on the red carpet. I would also have asked all of my plus sized and regular sized friends and contemporaries to boycott those designers.

July 27 2014 at 10:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If you saw Pretty Woman, and remember the sales clerks who did not want to help a woman they didn't approve of, thats sort of how I see this situation. Someone needs to put them in their place. I don't know how, but it should happen. Also, I am tired of looking at the models that look like they have been starving for years. This is not the average woman. It never has been. Even when I was young and plenty thin, I didn't look like a stick, and I didn't know very many people who did. They were few and far between. One person I knew was naturally very thin and hated it. It was not the body image that she liked.

July 23 2014 at 12:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to josb866161's comment
Erik Baran

As opposed to all the McCarthyesque women who LOVE theirs?

12 hours ago Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Spiney Norman

This is unbelievable. When I walk into a menswear department, there are clothes for every size that's common enough to sell. Me, and men a whole lot skinnier than me, and ones a whole lot heavier than me -- we shop at the same stores. I'm a lot heavier than I was fifteen years ago, but I just bought an inexpensive suit that looks better than the one I have from back then. Is the groupthink in the fashion industry really so strong that designers would pass up a presence in the business of flattering plus-sized womenswear that is worth literally billions of dollars? Do they really think people are going to say to themselves, "Hmm, they made a fat woman look really good, so that must mean they make skinny people look terrible!" You'd think the good designers, even the ones who are financially incapable, would at least take it on for the challenge.

July 21 2014 at 9:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Spiney Norman's comment

Clearly you don't know any "plus-sized" men. It's next to impossible to find well made, good looking clothes for overweight men. I was there once, I know for a fact.

September 02 2014 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erik Baran


12 hours ago Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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