NEW YORK, Jan 23 — An American pop star up for Best New Artist at next month’s Grammys says she’s struggling to find a dress for the ceremony, with designers calling her “too big.”
Bebe Rexha — a singer who also nabbed a nomination for the tender country pop duet Meant to Be — called out designers on social media for refusing to craft her a custom gown, highlighting what has become a perennial issue on the red carpet.
“I had my team hit [up] a lot of designers,” the 29-year-old said. “And a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big.”
“If a size 6/8 is too big, then I don’t know what to tell you. Then I don’t want to wear your f***ing dresses,” Rexha said.
“You’re saying that all the women in the world that are size 8 and up are not beautiful and they cannot wear your dresses.”
An American size 8 converts to approximately 40 in Europe and 12 in Britain.
Celebrities including singer Adam Lambert and model Tyra Banks tweeted their support for Rexha, who said her “size 8 ass” will still be attending the Grammys gala on February 10.
Rexha did not specify which designers had turned her down, but her rant underscored the enduring challenge faced by women artists who can’t shimmy into samples, generally limited to runway model sizes 0-4.
A handful of designers responded to the singer’s post offering to lend a hand.
High-profile designer Christian Siriano, who has made a point of dressing curvier stars in the past, tweeted that “we have dressed @BebeRexha a few times and would love to do it again!”
And eveningwear specialist Elizabeth Kennedy said, “I’d love to make you a dress for the Grammys!”
“I’m a size 8 too, and yes it is a beautiful size.”
Not a sample size
Dressing celebrities on the red carpet offers designers a platform to promote their work and houses often loan stars outfits for A-list events — but a number of stars have admitted to buying their own dresses off the rack.
Television star Megan Mullally, who is set to host the Screen Actors Guild Awards this weekend, posted on Instagram last month: “looks like i will be buying my dress online.”
“even though there is literally a 100 per cent chance that i will be on camera, because I’M HOSTING IT,” she said, adding that “designers do not send me dresses.”
“oh, the glamour of it all.”
In 2016, actress Leslie Jones drew attention to the issue after tweeting that she had nothing to wear to the premiere of Ghostbusters, a film she starred in, due to her size.
“It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for a movie,” tweeted Jones.
“Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.”
Siriano came to the rescue, dressing the statuesque actress in an off-the-shoulder, power-red column gown with a thigh-high slit.
“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,” Siriano tweeted of the episode.
The New York-based designer later said dressing Jones became a silver bullet for sales.
“We’ve sold hundreds of that red gown,” Siriano told People magazine. “Certain celebrities, when they wear clothes, people immediately want it.”
“Our wildcard is when we dress Leslie.”
California-based Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji, whose fans include actress Octavia Spencer, has also made it his business to cater to a spectrum of bodies.
His techniques include ruching and draping to flatter everyone from size 0 petite to 24 — what he refers to as “queen size.” — AFP