Why size 2 is the ideal figure for awards season admit dressing larger women fun

Why size 2 is the ideal figure for awards season (but designers admit that dressing larger women is more fun)
By Daisy Dumas

Spot a dress on the fashion week runways and wear it to the Oscars just weeks later? If you're a size two and a Hollywood celebrity, that luxury is a distinct possibility.

For actresses, models and wannabes - or whomever is lucky enough to land an invitation to the hottest Hollywood event of the year - the chances of snagging a designer gown by one of the biggest names in fashion are seriously raised by being a sample size.

It's all down to a question of red carpet fashion hierarchy. The hottest A-list names will wear dresses that have been specially designed over many weeks, says the Hollywood Reporter, costing designers thousands of dollars.

Hot off the runway: Zoe Saldana wowed at 2010's Oscars in an haute couture Givenchy gown

It's worth it, if the star in question is stratospheric, says MHA's Marilyn Heston, who specialises in linking celebrities with designers. She told the newspaper that custom gowns 'generally' go 'to nominees and presenters for the Globes and the Oscars' only.

'This is not an artistic endeavor. The only reason a global designer is dressing an actress is to gain exposure that will raise awareness and increase sales', she said.

But not every famous figure is lucky enough to be at the top of the pyramid.

For those stars who are not quite bright enough to merit a custom gown (or are indecisive and need to keep options open), it helps to be a size two, ready to fit into designs that are literally straight off next month's catwalks.

Zoe Saldana wore a fabulously frothy purple Givenchy haute couture gown to the 2010 Oscars - it had debuted just days before at the design house's Fashion Week show.

And, of course, though risky - there is often only one sample and having it out of action can be problematic, says the newspaper - dressing the perkiest bodies of the almost most sought-after stars can come with massive economic bonuses.

The habit of wearing dresses plucked from runways extends to other events too, though the turnaround is far less speedy - Emma Watson wore a stunning grey Oscar de la Renta gown from the previous February's autumn/winter 2011 New York Fashion Week show to the final Harry Potter premiere last July.

But, megastar or not, what happens when your bottom isn't miniscule and, well, squeezing into a size two is never going to be a reality, come awards season?

Some of the hardest working names in fashion aren't the couture labels and runway kings, but the tailors who labour over gowns for real, normal-sized women.


From catwalk to red carpet: An Oscar de la Renta gown at the designer's A/W 2011 show modelled by Lindsey Wixson, left, was soon worn by Emma Watson, right, to last year's July Harry Potter premiere in London

Bearing in mind that even tiny actress Carey Mulligan could not wriggle into a sample size for a Vogue cover in October 2010 - 'the cover dress was very pretty but wouldn't go over my a***' she said - most Oscar invitees are anything but a size two.

Happily for them, there is David Meister, who has devoted fans in Sharon Stone and Andie MacDowel. He told the Reporter that while 'it’s easy to design for a size two... it's more fun to dress sizes two-22.

'It’s all about problem-solving. Finding the elements you’re working with, figuring out which ones you need to hide and which ones you want to emphasize.'


Not a size two? Then designer David Meister may be your man. He relishes the fun of working with figures that aren't a tiny sample size. Andie McDowell wore one of his svelte creations to Sunday's Golden Globes

His approach means that he creates beautifully fitted gowns for almost all figures - and doesn't come with the inaccessibility of some of the world's most showy labels.

The result? According to the newspaper, he dressed 'as many - if not more - actresses than any A-list designer dressed' at Sunday's Golden Globes.