I was reading through this hugely depressing article about so-called Oscarexia, the rush by actresses to lose weight before they hit the red carpet before Hollywood’s biggest night. And while the whole thing is deeply distressing, including the credence the article gives to the idea that you can drop a lot of weight suddenly and be healthy, this detail struck me as the most insane:
It’s the price you have to pay to vie for the most coveted clothes. “The Council of Fashion Designers of America has been trying to implement model guidelines about weight,” says longtime Oscar-watcher and stylist Tod Hallman. “Recently, two models fainted under hot lights — and not because they were hot! If gowns are being made to fit on these girls, how are actresses going to get into them? One celeb PR person told me, ‘Well, they HAVE to fit!’ I’ve seen people during the course of two-week fittings get smaller and smaller. If the designer’s people say it’s a model size 4, that means it’s really a 2. If you want to wear Dior or Versace or Chanel or Elie Saab, that’s the bottom line. Women hate themselves when they can’t fit in the dress — even if it’s a 0, they blame themselves. Hence the shrinkage. And don’t tell me anybody’s really working out that much!”
Let’s be real here for a second: clothes are made in variable sizes. These are the the best-looking women in the world, and the Oscars are one of the biggest platforms in the world to showcase a dress. That actresses accept that clothes can only come to them in one of a couple of sizes instead of insisting that designers send over dresses in the size that actually fits them is absolutely insane. It makes no sense for actresses and stylists to act as if they have no power, when wearing a dress in a high-profile situation—say, an Inaugural Ball—can make a designer as Michelle Obama did for Jason Wu. And even if they don’t want to pick a designer who will actually treat them like a dignified customer and get them something that fits, these women are rich enough that, if designers persist in being awful and refusing to send them dresses in something other than a size 2 or 4, they can afford to buy clothes that actually fit them! We’ve been hearing for years about how designers refuse to dress Christina Hendricks, who is one of the most attractive women on the planet, because she doesn’t fit their sample sizes. And we should be really clear that such a decision reveals not the Christina Hendricks is too big, but that designers are crazy people. The only people who are crazier are the stylists and actors (and honestly the rest of us) who, despite the fact that such a worldview is demonstrably bonkers, acquiesce to it.