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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I thought it might be that the tanker bringing in enough silk to cover this bovine was caught in customs in a San Diego port.

February 22 2015 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Melissa McCarthy has a really beautiful face. Yes she is overweight, but she is SO talented, that you hardly notice how heavy she actually is. I think that a designer would have been exceptionally smart to design a beautiful dress for Melissa, as I think that it would have been a real boon to their business. By the way, I am a size 8 myself, but I think that beauty comes in all sizes !

February 22 2015 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Many actresses today look malnourished. Designers want their models too thin to sell their clothing...it's part f that unhealthy image of a size 0 or 2 -- not much higher. And I think it a shame that 5-6 designers turned her down. But, to be fair, Melissa is larger than a size 14 or 16; she is obese. There's a difference.

October 23 2014 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

HOW unfortunate for any woman a size 12 and over....
Could any of you imagine the 'glamour queens' of the early Hollywood - of which very few were smaller than a 12-14 - NOT BEING dressed by "An "A"List "Designer".
More unfortunate and diffiicult is how our culture still has not changed. Every woman should be allowed to be glamourous and beautiful if she so chooses. Not everyone wants to wear knits (2-3 sizes to small) or sweats or should she need to.
You go Melissa!! You are a beauty in your own right. Can't wait to see YOUR line of classy clothing..

October 23 2014 at 7:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"Add your guesses below to who may have turned her down?" NO! The writer needs to do the research and present fact. It is insulting that few couldn't design a dress for this beautiful women. To me it lacks their talent to come up with something other than a "tent" look as the article stated. JERKS. She wore a dress on a SNL skit "why don't you come up here and see me sometime" she looked fab and it was a fancy gown dress.

October 21 2014 at 8:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Gloria's Toy

SO THIS IS WHATS ON EVERYONES MIND. MELISSA WEIGHT. what a shame . its seems to me GIGI1105 she is happy,rich and is making a great living making people LAUGH. you hAD TO LOSE 75 lbs to find a boyfriend and to what BE HAPPY, well, i think melissa is happy within herself. take her for her. worry about isis or ebola now maybe you can stop and realize there are more inportment things in life than someones weight.

October 18 2014 at 3:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Gloria's Toy

oh you snobs who say I JUST LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT. Mel is happy in her body - not obese. you are not young or old to be sexy, damn fools. its whats inside that makes your beautiful. GIGI you turned your life around to what. Mel is making money and lots more than you can ever make in your life time, for just being herself. i think its wonderful when a person can be what ever they want and be happy. IN THIS CASE YOU HAD TO PROVE YOU LOST WEIGHT TO GET A BOYFRIEND. NOW YOU HAVE MY SYMPATHY. POOR MISGUIDED PERSON.

October 18 2014 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

she is so very pretty, but she is not just plus-size, she is obese!!! such a shame since she is still a young woman. why can't she try dieting or worst case scenario, stomach surgery!! i was very heavy in mjy teens, but since i wanted a boy friend, i went on a diet. it took a year but i lost 75 lbs and turned my life around.....i have no sympathy for people who don't try to lose weight!!!

October 18 2014 at 12:38 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gigi1105's comment

That's too bad gigi1105 that you don't have compassion for others that have walked or are walking in your shoes. you of all people, know what a struggle it is to lose weight and keep it off. You sound pretty young so as an older woman I am going to tell you, any guy who only cares about what you weigh, is not a guy worth keeping. Someone should love you for who you are period. Good luck to you keeping the weight off and keeping the guy.

October 30 2014 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It would be most difficult to craft a gown to fit McCarthy's substantial presence. Naïve to think any of the designers would have taken on a project of that magnitude.

October 08 2014 at 11:09 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

There is a difference between carring extra weight and been obese.

October 07 2014 at 5:56 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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