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.

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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 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 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 rate up rate down Reply
Spiney Norman

Let's see -- balance the negative attention you get from dressing a very popular heavy woman at a major media event against the number of heavy women who'd want to buy decent dresses from said brand afterwards. In the balance, how could dressing Melissa McCarthy have been anything but a financial win? The person who breaks out of this groupthink -- and it may be Melissa McCarthy herself -- is going to make a fortune.

July 21 2014 at 9:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Shame on Them !
Contact some NYC designers - or contact me - available
for creating a fabulously fitting gown.

July 21 2014 at 5:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone remember how the naysayers treated Melissa when Mike and Molly first came on? She showed all of them.

July 21 2014 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

please, please Melissa, don't design clothes that are sleeveless, for the large ladies, there is too much skin being shown everywhere, it's disgusting.

July 15 2014 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

So which designer finally DID create her dress? THAT's the story I want to read!

July 15 2014 at 4:13 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Hey , Thank you Myirysheyes and hoffstrod50 and those with positive input for Melissa McCarthy . As for bargellals you are one sick soul ...God help you . how sad to think you want to tell some person to hang themselfs because YOU don't think they fit to your liking . There are way too many children taking their own lifes because of bully's like you .

July 15 2014 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear Melissa , the best to you in the Fashion Styles for Plus sizes. My input is to just ask you to please have them "made in U.S.A " ....that crap out there is junk , no quality , no class and made in china is making me sick.
of course you can't even get a good cotton T , because the body is for a stick figured body ! "oh please "...and it will read 1x ....NOT ! Let's face it ! All American Wear is the best ...full fit , comfortable , and made well . I would rather pay more to get better quality . Like my mom always said " you get what you pay for " . We hear your frustration , YOU GO GIRL ! Get your wears out there . All the best to you .

July 15 2014 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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