How Oscar Dressing at Any Size Just Got Easier

Steve Granitz/WireImage
Melissa McCarthy in Reem Acra landed on best-dressed lists.

Size-inclusive luxury e-tailer 11 Honoré, fresh off its New York Fashion Week runway debut featuring a diverse cast of models including Laverne Cox, is working to change the industry, which often refuses to dress anyone who's not a sample size.

Hollywood's call to action for size inclusivity on the red carpet is growing louder as stars including Bryce Dallas Howard, Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy and, most recently, SAG Awards host Megan Mullally vocalize frustration with designers who refuse to dress anyone who's not a sample size. Size-inclusive luxury e-tailer 11 Honoré, fresh off its New York Fashion Week runway debut featuring a diverse cast of models including Laverne Cox, is working to change that.

Providing more high-end red carpet options has benefited Octavia Spencer, who wore Prabal Gurung to the 2018 BAFTA nominees party. 11 Honoré also dressed Can You Ever Forgive Me?'s McCarthy in Jonathan Simkhai for the Oscar Nominees Luncheon and in a starry purple Reem Acra gown for the Golden Globes — landing the star on numerous best-dressed lists. The team is also working with McCarthy for Oscars week.

"Awards season is important because of global visibility," says Patrick Herning, founder and CEO of the L.A.-based e-tailer featuring designer offerings in sizes 10 to 24. "I want to participate in the same way brands do with straight-size celebrities, not only for the red carpet but also when they're behind the camera."

Though progress is being made, sizeism in the fashion industry is alive and well, says stylist Christina Pacelli, who dresses Orange Is the New Black actresses Cox and Danielle Brooks: "I have observed it because of the persistence with which I request from these designers." Adds Penny Lovell, stylist to This Is Us star Chrissy Metz: "We don't have the same level of choice, but it's definitely grown in the past year."

Herning launched 11 Honoré in fall 2017 with 15 brands, including early adopters Christian Siriano, Monique Lhuillier and Prabal Gurung, who primarily had been catering to plus-size customers through private sales or trunk shows. "If you were to identify the stopgap, it was really at the retail level," Herning says. 11 Honoré enters the Spring 2019 season with more than 90 brands on the platform, including newcomers Apiece Apart, Adam Selman, Roland Mouret and LNA. In 2018, the company secured an $8 million investment, bringing its total financing to nearly $12 million. Business has doubled, quarter over quarter in 2018, adds Herning. Short-term goals for the company include expanding its offerings in sizes 20 to 24.

"We're in a position to push designers," he says. To show the industry that 'we're a resource for you,' " Herning teamed up with Elizabeth Saltzman — stylist to Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and Rebel Wilson — for an event in December to kick off awards season and the debut of his company's red carpet showroom. "What 11 Honoré is doing is a big deal," says Pacelli. "They're collaborating with more designers to create plus-size designs in red-carpet styles that have never been available to these women." 

This story first appeared in the Feb. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.