Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji

Posted on October 15, 2012

We would have thought that any lady shaped like Otavia should steer clear away from any dress with a peplum, but trust Tadashi Shoji to get it right.

Octavia Spencer attends the amfAR’s Inspiration Gala in Los Angeles, California in a Tadashi Shoji dress.

Tadashi Shoji Lace Peplum Dress

We honestly don’t know how he managed it. It’s like tailoring wizardry or something. Instead of making her hips look bigger, it’s giving her a waist.


[Photo Credit: Getty, neimanmarcus.com]

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  • eowyn_of_rohan

    She looks great.  Not a fan of the lone silver bangle but otherwise everything else is fabulous.

  • Tadashi is magic! I love him so much, it’s ridiculous. 

    • Ceur

      I can’t believe it took a Japanese man to revolutionise red carpet style for women in Hollywood. Almost embarrassing, but also amazing.

      • Kate4queen

        So true, I have a few other Japanese designers in my closet and they tend toward the tiny so I have to buy the biggest size available LOL But the Tadashi Shoji dresses I have just work beautifully with curves.

    • Probably helps that the dress was originally conceived for a larger size, and isn’t just a scaled-up version of a smaller dress.  Honestly, he kills once and for all any notion that larger sized dresses (and women) can’t be fashionable and chic.

      • Sweetbetty

         The lining on the model’s dress appears to be hemmed about a half-inch above the edge of the black lace where Ms. Spencer’s dress appears to have the lining and lace at the very same length.  This results in the lining drooping a bit if she changes position.

      •  I want him to be the judge on the real woman challenge on Project Runway. His larger sized dresses are fantastic!

        • Can you just imagine how he would have eviscerated Ven?  I mean, I don’t know anything about him, so I don’t know what his personality is like — I just mean, his mere presence as a designer who does larger-sized designs very well would have said it all.

  • B_C_J

    Beautiful dress, beautiful fabric, perfect length and very flattering to her figure.  She looks wonderful and the accessories are adding to this refined look. If I have any quibble at all is with the somewhat pronounced eyebrows.  Perhaps a little lighter touch on the eyebrow pencil would have been good. However, this is a winner regardless.

  • Sobaika

    Oooooh, fabulous. Not loving her makeup though? The lipcolor is too matchy to the dress and not right for her skintone. Minor quibbles.

    • MilaXX

       I’d love to see her bust out a red lip/berry lip or even a deep pink. Just to switch things up since she often does the natural look.

      •  Yes!! I know how hard it can be to find the right deep berry, but I agree it would have been perfect on her here. Where’s Pat McGrath when we need her?

        • MilaXX

          Checking google it’s not the cover, perhaps it’s one of the inside pics. Either way I think it would be a great color for Octavia. The color is complementary, but not as bold as a traditional red lip.

      • I agree with you both that the lip color is wrong, but you don’t think a berry lip would have been too dark?

  • A B

    So adorable!  It helps that she has shoulders that balance her hips (unlike the model, who doesn’t look half as good as Octavia).

    • Carolyn

      I think the sleeves balance the dress out too.

  • Divine.  I love this look – the peplum defines her waist perfectly and the length shows off her legs.  I would have preferred gold jewelry and a larger bag, but otherwise, kudos.  

    • I feel like she needs a collar necklace, but perhaps jewels can’t be borrowed for every single event.

  • Michael Telles

    She looks so much better than the model. Absolutely gorgeous.

    • Smart move to go with short sleeves to balance the peplum.

    • instantkarmalr

      She definitely does!  Nonetheless, I have to give major props to Tadashi for actually picking a plus sized model.  The fashionista idea that “plus sized” is a size 8 makes me twitchy.

  • Damn if she doesn’t look better in that dress than the model does! It’s doing all sorts of great things to accentuate her figure.  I don’t love the lace, but she still nailed it!

  • B G

    Her brows look kind of scary.  Love the look otherwise, though.

  • I still don’t love the peplum on her. I feel like the front of the dress should be straight with maybe a bustle detail in the back. But this looks so good on her!

  • jw_ny

    Very flattering.  Octavia looks great.  

  • granddelusion

    She’s just beautiful, and that dress looks great on her.

  • tallgirl1204

    I can understand that she didn’t want to go sleeveless– I wouldn’t– but maybe the sleeves should have been a little longer, and unbanded?  The band makes them look a tad tight.  Now, mind you, I came up with this criticism only after enjoying for quite a while how nice she looks. 

    • kimmeister

      I hadn’t even noticed the band on the sleeves, but you’re right.  Even if they weren’t tight, they’re kind of throwaway anyway, don’t really enhance the look in any way.

  • It’s the tailoring/fit that does it, I think. Put that peblum even two inches lower on her body and it wouldn’t have been nearly as flattering. Also, Octavia has an hourglass figure bordering on being top-heavy – the peblum balances things out (and it’s not too full of one). That dress might not work as well on a woman who is more pear-shaped (for instance, I think it’s more flattering on her than it is on the model, actually, because she is hippier).

  • Anathema_Device

    She looks great! I love the floral lace. Ive been tempted by a few other Shoji other dresses in that fabric.

  • MilaXX

    I officially love Tadashi Shoji. That is all.

  • formerlyAnon

    The dress looks so good on her that I feel churlish saying that I don’t think the lip color is right. I’m not good enough to say what it should be with any confidence, though.

    • sweetestsith

       Maybe something nice and plumy or deep red? I feel like she needs a darker, saturated color..

      The dress is freaking fantastic, she looks amazing.

    • Judy_S

       I was thinking that, too– something more colorful. Though who knows, maybe she tried a couple of colors and this worked best.

    • MilaXX

      Jill Scott is wearing a very pretty berry color on the cover of Essence That I think would look great on Octavia.

  • julnyes

    The dress and jewelry are great, but I am not in love with her hairstyle, make-up, shoes or purse.

  • Am I misreading the picture, or is the model a not-size-two, too?  Does he often employ models of this size?

    • zuzu

       Yes, he does.  If you look at the selection of plus-size dresses on his site, they’re all modeled by plus-size models (as in, size 16/18, not size 6/8 as the industry defines “plus size model”).  Moreover, many of the straight-size dresses are available in plus sizes, and those are shown on both body types so you can actually see how they’d work with various sizes.

      • MilaXX

         and this is why I love Tadashi

      •  That is freaking awesome. As someone of that size, I frequently have to guess what it would look like on a bigger person.  In my dream world, all stores and designers would have an online catalog with models in every size wearing the same outfit.  (I know it would probably be prohibitively expensive, but I can dream.)

  • AnneElliot

    LOVE her!!  Even with peep-toes, which I hate.  She has great legs!

  • I think it’s because the waist is slightly lower? Like on her hips instead of on her waist? She does look amazing though. I’m glad the two of them are continuing their fashion love affair!

  • I prefer it without sleeves, but she probably didn’t feel comfortable going bare armed. She looks pretty damn amazing.

  • MGMcD

    Tadashi Shoji is indeed a genius, especially at dressing the curvaceous ladies, but I can tell you exactly what he did to make Octavia look so smashing. He lowered the damn peplum. A peplum at the natural waist is fine if you have a relatively small bust, but if you have boobs all it does is create a flyaway right under them making you look pregnant and or/hippy. For this dress, he lowered it so that there is space between her boobs and the peplum, the top seam of the peplum hits her at her smallest point and the peplum disguises the tummy. But if the peplum had been any lower she’d look like a sausage in a tutu. This is magnificent tailoring that really takes into account the person he is dressing. Plus she’s rocking excellent shapewear.

    • l_c_ann

      Thank you for the analysis.  It’s spot on.

    • e jerry powell

      I’m not completely convinced.  If anything, it looks like he raised it from the retail version.  That, or the model has non-existent boobs. (And to be fair, the N-M stores only seem have it stocked in-store in size 2.)

  • and I think her legs look a mile long

  • Mary229

    She looks amazing here.   This woman knows exactly how to dress for her body type and she consistently impresses me with her style.  She always looks totally put together at these events and glam.  I love her.

    • littlemac8

      This wasn’t always so.  In her initial public appearances promoting The Help she didn’t look nearly this good.  It appears she got a good stylist and learned how to rock Tadashi Shoji.  She’s so gorgeous and seems so genuinely nice that I hope and pray she gets good roles to follow her Oscar!

  • IMNAngryLiberal

    I keep looking at this, trying to like it, but I really don’t.  The sleeves are a bad length for someone with a heavier upper arm and the fabric just looks too heavy to me.  It doesn’t help that Olivia’s lip color is the same as the backround color of the lace.

  • Great call to add sleeves too, it balances out the look and makes it a touch more elegant.  Love it!

  • Looks better on her than it does on the model!

  • nannypoo

    She is so pretty, and she looks great in this dress. Hair and accessories look good too.

  • Janet B

    Just about the perfect dress for her.  Now if she’d up the styling a bit she’d get a WERQ from me.

  • kschwarting

    Damn, I’m a bit of a pear shape and have been avoiding peplums…if Octavia can make it WERQ, though, I might have to give it a whirl if I can find one this well-tailored.

    • MilaXX

       The new Target plus size collection has a few peplum dresses, but the line is only being sold online so I’m waiting to see if someone buys & posts a review and then hoping it’s not sold out if I decide to buy.

  • pattyw

    Tadashi Shoji, meet Melissa McCarthy. Melissa, meet Tadashi. Please.

    • e jerry powell

       I kinda like that it’s just Octavia and Mo’Nique right now.  Melissa McCarthy can go on looking like a Jersey mob wife for a little bit longer.

  • Clueless_Jock

    Peplum snaps!

  • MzzPants

    Somewhere back in the 80’s I figured out that peplums actually create the illusion of smaller hips, not larger ones…on me anyway.  Shoji has earned big points with me this fall…lots of curvy girls looking great in Shoji dresses.

  • I NEED that dress!

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    She looks great in the that dress, but I wish she had used a darker lipstick and a different hairstyle. 

  • MilaXX

    FYI. I’m pretty sure Octavia makes an appearance on All on the Line with Joe Zee tonight.

  • I think it’s that the peplum just accentuates the waist and the length of her legs. It’s like a Stacey and Clinton object lesson!

  • crash1212

    Great look. The model isn’t exactly skinny-minny either. Perhaps a new “plus” (how I hate that term) line from TS?

    • MilaXX

       Not new, he’s been designing plus sizes for some time.

    • e jerry powell

       I think the non-fashion editor term these days is “real-sized.”  I could be getting suckered into that by Tyra Banks, though.

  • Imasewsure

    Not loving the sleeve length and I don’t really like the tan/black lace combo all that much but she looks great – particularly in the last two shots which are more animated. That straight-on, hands by your side shot always makes the person look like they don’t want to be there! The model looks almost as good but not quite (and I think a heavy dress like this looks weird without sleeves of some sort)

  • Judy_J

    Good going!  She looks great in that style.

  • miagain

    hubba hubba

  • guest2visits

    Very pretty dress, good on both Octavia and the model.

  • Jennifer Coleman

    LOVE this. That is all. And her body language is saying that she is comfortable on the RC. You go, girl.

  • j_anson

    Seems to me the key here is it’s a fairly minimalist peplum and she has relatively broad shoulders that balance it.

    • e jerry powell

       I think you’re on to something.  Sondra Clarke did the same thing with a shoulder pad when she wore all those peplumed suits on 227.

  • AWESOME, she looks amazing!

  • theblondette

    Tadashi Shoji = a god, clearly. I NEED HIS STUFF. I need to find some of it in the UK!!

  • mmc2315

    VERY flattering! A slightly stronger lip color, please.

  • unbornfawn

    Lovely! It is all about fit and proportion. The length of the peplum, where the waist hits, the length of the sleeves, where the hem hits, the size of the pattern on the fabric and it fits her beautifully. There were adjustments made to suit her body. Even the shoes are right. I would have liked a slightly stronger lip color, but who cares, the girl is WERQing it!

  • neofashionista

    Love this! I agree defying the laws of physics but it sure does work

  • ChiKat67

    Tadashi is a GENIUS! 

  • quiltrx

    I think it’s the fact that it does nip in, between the bust and the peplum itself.  Plus, it’s a peplum that is longer and actually has less fabric than most…so it hangs down properly instead of that horrid “tutu” effect that most have.

    I’m built very much like the model, and I would wear this in a heartbeat.  It’s gorgeous.

  • Trisha26

    It’s very cute. I would have liked to see a little more attention to makeup but she’s a doll.

  • Absolutely gorgeous! But, you deserve better shoes, Octavia!

  • Susan Crawford

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a bazillion times: Women of all sizes, give respect to the inestimable Tadashi Shoji. He likes us! He really likes us!

  • alyce1213

    Beautiful.  I’m deeply impressed that Shoji hired a model who actually represents a larger body size, rather than the size 10 or 12 “plus” size models usually employed.

  • Qitkat

    Am I a voice crying in the wilderness? Am I the only one not hypnotized? I abhor this. Absolutely hate it. Don’t think it is flattering. Ugh. I just can’t with the peplum and the halloween lace. 

    • e jerry powell

       Free country.

  • angryparsnip

    I think Olivia and the model both look amazing. So lovely.
    So much better to me than the starved skeletons we see so much of on the runway. 
    But I am so tired of the nude lip… break out some color please !

    cheers, parsnip

  • thecitysleeps

    Dayum.  I’ll make it my life mission to be able to travel to his boutiques and then to afford his clothes.  Then I also could look faboosh in my size.  My favourite remains the black one with the opaque cut outs that a lot of celebs wore.  Gorgeous!

  • e jerry powell

    How is Octavia Spencer not on Tadashi Shoji’s payroll?  She is earning him some serious coin, no?

  • Le_Sigh

    She looks better than the model.  

  • Lynn Landry

    maybe he needs to judge the next PR “real woman” challenge. She looks great and I hate peplums AND lace!

  • elemspbee

    She looks elegant and stylish. yay!

  • I agree.  Though for this dress I’d’ve gone with something a little more coppery.

  • The first picture, not so great. It looks less like a peplum, and more like lumps. But the profile is lovely!

  •  That’s a lovely cool berry tone.

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    Love the dress – she looks great in it!  Love that TS uses a plus-size model to sell it, too. 

  • Candigirl1968

    WOW.  It really does look great.  And what’s great is that while Octavia wears a lot of Tadashi, but doesn’t look like she is wearing the same look over and over and over again (which Renee Zellweger started to do in Carolina Herrera). 

  • ccm800

    Tht model looks like the Ana Nicole Smith collector’s edition Barbie. Octavia looks octabulous!