Although Ashley Graham reigned at this year’s Met Gala in a gorgeous custom H&M gown, the plus-size icon has revealed that last year’s story was very different.
Speaking to The Cut, the size 14 model – who has covered the likes of Vogue and Sports Illustrated – said she was forced to stay home from the 2016 Met Gala as no designers would dress her.
The Met Gala is typically the fashion industry’s glitziest night of the year. Celebrities are usually accompanied by a designer who creates a custom-made couture gown relating to that year’s theme.
“I couldn’t get a designer to dress me,” Graham said. “You can’t just show up in jeans and a T-shirt.”
Graham didn’t mention that her size was an issue, noting that she didn’t have the right connections or enough time for a custom dress to be made.
However, it’s likely her plus-size status played a major role in her non-attendance considering a fashion designer’s typical sample size is around 6-8.
This isn’t the first sign of adversity that the 29-year-old model has faced. Her cover shoot for the January issue of British Vogue was more of a struggle than it appeared after several designers outright refused to provide clothes.
Former editor Alexandra Shulman thanked American brand Coach for their help but did make a point of saying that “sadly, there were other houses that flatly refused to lend us their clothes.”
Fortunately, Graham is now able to borrow clothes from almost any designer she likes but admits that her stylist “will aggressively tear off sleeves, lower bust lines, and add slits to better suit her body.”
Graham herself knows that the road ahead is tough but will continue to act as a pioneer for the plus-size movement.
During her photoshoot for New York Magazine, she was seen pointing out areas that she was worried might get Photoshopped, asking the editing team not to do it. The model even said: “It’s better to keep the cellulite if you can.”
Other stars have also commented on some designers’ lack of leeway when it comes to dressing anyone bigger than a size 8.
Size 10 actress Bryce Dallas Howard was forced to buy her dress for the 2016 Critics’ Choice Awards from Topshop after finding zero designer options in her size.
Comedy queen Melissa McCarthy also lamented the lack of options for ‘bigger’ women. ““Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me,” she told Redbook. “I asked five or six designers – very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people – and they all said no.”
Other names that have struggled to find dresses for the red carpet include Christina Hendricks, ‘Orange is the New Black”s Dascha Polanco and Jennifer Hudson – who was sadly only inundated with options after losing weight.
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