Earlier this week, Leslie Jones tweeted her frustration on how infuriating it is for a celebrity who doesn’t look like your typical teeny starlet to try to deal with fashion designers.
It's so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) June 28, 2016
And let’s just add to that tweet the absolute perfect mental image:
@Lesdoggg making a list of designers to burn just like Arya Stark— Rae-Anne (@kitchenwitchin) June 29, 2016
Because this is the internet, Jones got a ton of responses calling her entitled or whiny, complaining about not being showered in free couture. That view, though, totally misses the point of the way the fashion industry boosts and relies on celebrities. Designers should be lining up to dress the star of a huge, high-profile, much-talked-about blockbuster. (As, I would guess, they are for, say, Kristen Wiig.) It’s great publicity for them, not just a free cool dress for an actress to wear for a night.
But Jones isn’t alone in being found undesirable by top or sometimes any designers. Melissa McCarthy launched her own fashion line after rocketing to superstar status and still not finding designers who would dress her for huge events. Octavia Spencer has loundly declared NO MUMUS (which is what the designers who would work with her tried to give her for goddamn Oscars), and Bryce Dallas Howard famously wears (insanely expensive) gowns she buys herself, off the rack, seeing as she is a monstrous, undressable size 6.
Luckily, it didn’t take long for one to volunteer.
@Lesdoggg ✋🏼👋🏼— Christian Siriano (@CSiriano) June 28, 2016
@CSiriano YAAAAAASSSSSS— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) June 28, 2016
Although, personally, I’m now kind of stuck on this idea:
@alwaysbob33 OMG YES!!!— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) June 28, 2016
Since Leslie Jones’ tweets, Pret-a-Reporter ran a huge piece with stylists slamming her, and saying her inability to find a dress “is nobody’s fault except Leslie’s.” If you’re looking for a stunning display of total inanity, it’s a great read. They actually have the gall to say that Jones’ experience is “not because of any size bias,” and IMMEDIATELY follow up those words with this explainer.
“It’s just pure economics,” says The Hollywood Reporter power stylist Jeanne Yang. “People have this belief that showrooms and designers have racks and racks of clothing in all sizes. They don’t.”
Reps for Jones did not immediately respond to THR’s request for comment.
“When you’re a designer, sitting with your accountant, you have to think about how much it costs to create a sample,” explains Yang. “It may take hours to do a muslin, and thousands of dollars to create one specific piece. You justify it because you use it for so many things. One dress has to serve for the runway show, for sales, and to get publicity. If you have a sample that has to fit a model, you don’t have the option of creating things for premieres. No one ever does a variety of sizes. No one has those resources, even the biggest designers don’t.
Ohhhhhh, I get it. There’s no bias against actresses of different sizes, there’s just a total and complete refusal to consider the notion that the fashion and entertainment industries are expanding to the point where the sample- the default— can no longer end at size 4.
That’s the way things have been for a long, long time. And if these designers are just doing runway stuff, fine, whatever. I mean, that’s still shitty to limit that industry to potentially unhealthy or at least largely unattainable figures, but that side isn’t changing as rapidly as the acting side. More and more awards ceremony superstars don’t fit into sample sizes. Designers who dress TV and movie stars need to start changing the way they work. If you’re a designer who wants to dress an actress for the Golden Globes, your options look a LOT different than they did even just a few years ago. You can’t dress most of the cast of Orange is the New Black, the last two Best Actress in a Comedy Winners (Gina Rodriguez and Rachel Bloom)— I’m going to end this list now because honestly it’s too long. And that’s a WONDERFUL THING. So this “no size bias” bullshit isn’t going to fly. Keep the hell up, fashion.
At least one designer is.
It shouldn't be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they're not sample size. Congrats aren't in order, a change is.— Christian Siriano (@CSiriano) June 29, 2016