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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Wendellyn

When a "Designer" only knows how to dress a toothpick, they have no idea of to dress a REAL woman. Perhaps fashion schools should take a little time and show them what a real woman looks like. I wish you could have listed the REAL designers names. Perhaps if enough women know these designers and treat them accordingly the designers may change the way they do business. By the way I am a real woman, size 14.

Wednesday at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry and Mandy

Type yourMy best friend works in the woman's fashion industry representing a sports line from Italy. For years he has had to beg the company to give him samples in size 12, 14, 16 to take on his trunk shows to various stores and to fashion markets in NYC. The company want to show only a size 8 because they specialize in prints and feel that the prints do not look as good in larger sizes. So, with nothing to try on for fit at a trunk show, the 12, 14, and 16 size woman simply pass up the entire line. In the last few years, the company has finally relented and are now providing samples in larger sizes. And as a result, sales have been better. And yes, there are certain styles that look great in a size 2 or 4 that wouldn't work for a plus size woman. That doesn't mean that the designers should not design for the plus size woman. The population is becoming increasingly heavier and designers are losing money by not creating stylish clothes for larger woman. comment here

September 22 2014 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry and Mandy

My best friend works in the woman's fashion industry representing a sports line from Italy. For years he has had to beg the company to give him samples in size 12, 14, 16 to take on his trunk shows to various stores and to fashion markets in NYC. The company want to show only a size 8 because they specialize in prints and feel that the prints do not look as good in larger sizes. So, with nothing to try on for fit at a trunk show, the 12, 14, and 16 size woman simply pass up the entire line. In the last few years, the company has finally relented and are now providing samples in larger sizes. And as a result, sales have been better. And yes, there are certain styles that look great in a size 2 or 4 that wouldn't work for a plus size woman. That doesn't mean that the designers should not design for the plus size woman. The population is becoming increasingly heavier and designers are losing money by not creating stylish clothes for larger woman.

September 22 2014 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erik Baran

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

September 19 2014 at 1:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Erik Baran's comment
TLKEDOVARY

She is beautiful the way she is also! NOT SHE COULD BE! Get a grip!

September 22 2014 at 8:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Cindy

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

September 15 2014 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barbara

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 -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Barbara's comment
Cindy

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

September 15 2014 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 +1 rate up rate down Reply
antiqfndr

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
haw95

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
twocrudedudes

"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 -4 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.

September 19 2014 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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