Melissa McCarthy on fattism in fashion: ‘I couldn’t find anyone to dress me at the Oscars’

The Bridesmaids actress isn't, of course, the only curvaceous household name to be rejected by fashion designers

Fashion and ‘fattism’ are familiar bedfellows.

And while it is shocking to learn that a leading Hollywood actress couldn’t find a designer to dress her for the Academy Awards this year, it’s hardly surprising that the industry ran a mile from a client who didn’t fit their very exacting sample size ideals.

“Two Oscars ago, I couldn't find anybody to do a dress for me,” Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy told Redbook magazine.  “I asked five or six designers - very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people - and they all said no.”

McCarthy isn’t, of course, the only female above a UK size 10 who has run into problems.

An extremely high profile US singer had similar issues when asking designers to make clothes in her size, not to grace the red carpet, but instead to star on the cover of an equally high profile fashion magazine, a source told The Independent.

A famously buxom model suffered the same fate trying to find labels to dress her for a fashion shoot, the source added. Now recognised worldwide and gracing magazines left, right and centre, it seems it’s she who had the last laugh.

 

Not that international acclaim would ever stand in the way of Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld – the man who famously branded Adele “a little too fat” in 2012.

“No one wants to see curvy women,” he told Focus magazine in a separate interview. “You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying thin models are ugly. Fashion is about dreams and illusions.”

This, of course, from the man who himself weighed a sizeable 90 pounds more than his current frame, before he endured an extreme diet in 2001.

Karl Lagerfeld on the Chanel runway in Paris in 2000 But why is fashion so obsessed with thinness?

“It cannot be denied that visually, clothes fall better on a slimmer frame,” former Australian Vogue editor Kirstie Clements told The Guardian in 2013. “But there is slim, and then there is scary skinny.”

“As a Vogue editor I was of the opinion that we didn't necessarily need to feature size 14-plus models in every issue. It is a fashion magazine; we are showcasing the clothes. I am of the belief that an intelligent reader understands that a model is chosen because she carries clothes well.

“Some fashion suits a curvier girl, some doesn't. I see no problem with presenting a healthy, toned, Australian size 10 [UK 8-10]. But as sample sizes from the runway shows became smaller, 10 was no longer an option and the girls were dieting drastically to stay in the game.”

A model presents a creation by Chanel during Paris Fashion Week 2013 A model presents a creation by Chanel during Paris Fashion Week 2013 “It is too simplistic to blame misogynistic men, although in some cases I believe that criticism is deserved,” she continued. “There are a few male fashion designers I would like to personally strangle. But there are many female fashion editors who perpetuate the stereotype, women who often have a major eating disorder of their own.

“They get so caught up in the hype of how brilliant clothes look on a size 4, they cannot see the inherent danger in the message.”

That message being one that does the very opposite of what fashion, as a concept, intends. A message that undermines healthy body image, strips confidence and ultimately makes its young, female audience feel far from aspirational. It makes them feel bad about themselves.

Read More: Is Karl Lagerfeld Off His Trolley?
Why Rihanna's CFDAs Dress Is A Powerful Feminist Statement
Scout Willis Argues Women's Rights To Choose Own Image
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Recruitment Genius: HR Consultant

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An HR Consultant is required to join thi...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable