Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji

Posted on April 30, 2013

Would someone be a dear and go fetch Melissa McCarthy? She needs to see this.


Octavia Spencer (pictured with Tadashi Shoji) attends the Tadashi Shoji Beijing Store Grand Opening.

Tadashi Shoji Fall 2013 Collection/Model: Yulia Serzhantova

Not that we think Octavia and Melissa have all that much in common, in terms of their looks or shape, but Melissa tends to make the mistake of wearing voluminous tents, leaving only her hands and face uncovered. Octavia has learned (and you could see it happen in real time over the last couple of years on the red carpet) with the help of Tadashi Shoji, that tailoring and the right shape will do you so much better than just covering everything up.

This is a beautiful dress on her. And the shape is perfection.


[Photo Credit: Getty, style.com]

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  • And it works for skinny women too. See, it can be done.

    • e jerry powell

      You do see that he did modify it for her, right? A slightly longer sleve, a slightly thicker belt, and the bottom is cut differently and goes all the way to the floor. Shoji works with her, she’s not getting this stuff off the rack.

      • your point being? Any designer would do the same. Or rather does the same if he/she dresses a client exclusively.

        • e jerry powell
        • Aurumgirl

          No, it’s not true. Not every designer would do the same. The majority simply would not know how to modify to suit a client like Octavia, because they lack the design and execution skill to do this. Shoji can because he’s able to. It is partially a learned skill, and partially an aptitude for spatial skill (like those who can “get” maths, while most can’t get further than arithmetic).

          And keep in mind that she is not really even plus sized. She’s the norm. So that’s a resounding lack of skill in the design community.

      • hunt3002

        Pretty much any woman critiqued on this website is wearing an outfit that was modified from its runway version.

      • MilaXX

        Those are things the average woman can do with a good tailor. I do it all the time.

      • Celandine1

        Runway versions of clothes are rarely exactly the same as the production version. Obviously Octavia isn’t wearing the sample so it isn’t surprising simple modifications were made. Stars often wear clothes that are slightly different than the runway version. If I bought a Tadashi Shoji dress from an upscale department store, I would certainly get it altered.

        • e jerry powell

          And again, in response to a rejoinder that the original poster appears to have deleted…

          • MauveSF

            Very good, you’ve proven you know how to link to an article in the comments. Need a prize?

          • Vincent Macaluso

            Obsessive much, jerry? Get over it.

    • see, that’s the thing: if a dress is good, it’s good for everyone in most cases.

    • e jerry powell

      Your statement was “And it works for skinny women too,” was it not? No mention of how the garment was modified for Spencer (though it is fair to assume that the Shoji pieces she wears are modified for her). I responded to what you said, not what I know to be true; your statement implies that the model and the actress are wearing the same garment.

      • katchwa

        Jeez, you are so rabid about your point that the actual point is completely lost. What is it you are actully trying to say?

      • What an odd thing to get hung up on. You can go through our red carpet posts and see that, more often than not, an actress is wearing a dress slightly (to very) different from the runway version. Garments don’t always look exactly like their runway counterparts. Sometimes that’s because the designer is working with the client directly (as is often the case with A-list celebs) or because the dress went through changes from the runway to the rack.

        And considering how minor the changes to this dress, we’re confused as to why this is suddenly an important point for you. It IS a dress that works on various sizes.

  • jmorino08

    That dress looks better on her than it does on the model. It needs someone who can fill it out, otherwise it just hangs.

    • Kat

      ‘Filling out’ is a matter of tailoring. I think it was exquisitely tailored to fit Ms. Octavia very well (save for the odd crinkling above the belt). The model doesn’t even have the belt pulled tight.

    • Sweetvegan

      I thought the same thing!

  • DeborahJozayt

    Thank you Tadashi for being a fashion hero when no one else dares.

  • In_Stitches

    Servin’ it up better than the model. That’s a werq.

  • She looks great and another cool thing about Tadashi Shoji garments is that they have foundation support built into them.

  • Lookin’ lovely Ms. Spencer.
    Also looking a wee bit stoned, but that’s neither here nor there.

    • Jetlag maybe? I’d look much worse had I just flown to China (not that you are saying she looks bad, but there is a certain stoned look that jetlag can give!).

  • Sobaika

    Bless Tadashi.

  • Kat

    My only wish? If she’d had the shorter hem! She has beautiful legs! But as a full gown, it’s beautiful. I don’t even mind the bow in the belt.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Every time I see Octavia Spencer on a red carpet, I want to send Tadashi Shoji a huge muffin basket of thanks. He’s just done so, so right by her, and she doesn’t look good “for a big girl”, girl just looks GOOD.

    • Yep… I’d mentioned that except for the length and the belt, it’s just the same as the runway version. She doesn’t need *different* clothes just because she fuller-figured; just the right silhouette.

    • swiss_miss

      Yes. I honestly think that she was the best dressed and one of the most beautiful women at the Oscars one year ago in that gorgeous Tadashi Shoji dress.

    • Muffins? Oh my god, you’re the Muffin Man?

      But seriously, Tadashi is fantastic.

  • alyce1213

    Gosh, I love her – for so many reasons. Tadashi Shoji is pretty cute, no? I love his eyeglasses.
    Together, they redefine style for the full figured woman.

    Side note: I just learned she’s become the spokesperson for that SENSA weight loss powder. Hmm.

    • MilaXX

      Tadashi reminds me of the key maker in the Matrix movies.

    • I know it’s not your fault, but that SENSA news just ruined my day!

  • aeb1986

    can we give this a WERQ???

  • hunt3002

    I am a larger woman and the last time I needed a formal dress I went right to Tadashi Soji because of all the beautiful dresses that Octavia Spencer wears. My money is just as green and I love how his clothing make me look beautiful instead of like a sack of potatoes (or just doesn’t fit).

  • Raanan Rosenbaum

    Octavia looks phenomenal. Send this over to those guys at ‘Dukes of Melrose’ for the next time Melissa M asks commissions a dress with them!

  • Barb Rayhttp://www.google.com/

    Ms. Spencer has become a style inspiration for me. I am finding that correctly fitted garments flatter me so much more than the tunics and leggings look I had been defaulting to.

  • MilaXX

    I like that she changed the belt to one more flattering to her shape. It’s still a relatively skinny belt but more in proportion to her size. Love Octavia & Tadashi.

    PS – While we’re snatching up Melissa, can someone grab Gabby Sidibe? Melissa can at least get causal looks right. Gabby is just a fashion don’ t 24/7.

    • She changed the belt, but really, that’s the only change from the runway version that one could argue was done to flatter her figure.

    • Introspective

      the absolute truth milaxx!! gabby has been making my teeth hurt with her sartorial choices since her emergence as precious. same as melissa and all her satin sack couture.

      i cannot with this foolishness of full figured women in hollywood not having flattering clothing. is it a conspiracy? do they just not know how to dress themselves? thank god for Octavia and Tadashi, showing them how its supposed to be done everytime…

      • MilaXX

        Melissa only really messes up during awards season when she picks the most awful sad sack for gown. I’ve seen her during talks shows looking cute and stylish. Gabby on the other hand, needs to stop it with those struggle shoes. They make my feet hurt in sympathy. She just signed on for the next season of American Horror Story. I’m happy to see her continuing to work, but she needs to step up her fashion game.

        • SpillinTea

          DEAD at “struggle shoes” lolololol. SO true though. I love that she thinks shes the prettiest girl in the room, but she needs some better gays…

      • MK03

        I suspect it’s a taste issue, since Melissa McCarthy and Gabby Sidibe ALWAYS look awful, regardless of the circumstances. You can’t buy good taste, after all….

        • MilaXX

          Google some pictures of Melissa during talk shows promoting her movie. She had this one outfit that was really nice. Grey leather pants, grey sparkly top, cool pumps.hair and makeup was great. She’s been on Ellen several times looking nice. It’s the gowns that stump her.

          • Cheryl

            I really can’t wear a dress — well, actually, since losing about 30 pounds over the last few years I finally found one that fit! — but my point is, my top half wants a much larger top than my bottom half needs. So I have mostly relied on separates, and I think that can look quite chic. Melissa should find styles that fits her shape, even if it means a glamorous, flattering top and separate skirt for the Red Carpet.

          • MilaXX

            I agree Melissa could rock a formal skirt with a really great top. You might be able to rock a wrap dress. Or even a shealth dress that can be tailored for you lower half. I used to laugh at Stacy & Clinton saying find a tailor, until I found one. Seriously ask around. Dry cleaners, department stores, fabric stores. You have to shop around until you find one you like that’s affordable.

      • MilaXX

        I do have to give a small shout out to Ashley Fink . Since her brief time on Glee she has stepped up her game.

  • GTrain

    Love these photos. They are both adorable.

  • Love love love. That’s all.

  • She looks fantastic. The dress looks better on her than on the model. What I especially love about this (not to get all post-racial up in here) is that he’s chosen a plus-size African-American woman, who happens to be an A-list movie star, to model his clothes at the opening of his Beijing boutique.

    • gorghast

      Yes to your second point. That’s a fairly unusual choice, especially in Asia.

      • I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that there’s also some savvy decision-making on her management team. African-American stars, we’re told, aren’t as popular in Asia, and China is a major market for American films. That has an effect on who gets cast in the first place. It can’t hurt her career, here or abroad, to start making a name for herself in China.

  • Miss Octavia looks fabulous. Yes, Melissa McCarthy needs to hire people who know how to dress her figure. I also love that she really just had some relatively minor tweaks from the runway version to the version that she has on. It goes to show that she doesn’t have to wear a dress that’s “specially made for larger women.”

  • Amazing, it looks better on her than on the model. And Mr. Shoji looks pretty hot in that jacket, too. Nice job all around.

  • Isabel

    And the lace is beautiful. Not overdone! Not a grammy’s tablecloth. OS looks fab!

  • formerlyAnon

    Very nice. And her smile is FABULOUS.

  • PastryGoddess

    Ms. Spencer looks fab! Bless Tadashi

  • VioletFem

    She looks beautiful.

  • Tatiana Luján

    And her face! And her hair!

  • I love her. Talented. Poised and confident working the circuit.

  • SewingSiren

    She looks great. And he’s super cute too. I thought they were a couple in the thumbnail.

  • RinPauler

    I think the one tailored for her is actually a better version than the one on the model. It is largely due to the fact that Octavia uses a bigger belt, and that helps define the shape of the dress more. As for the one on the model, that skinny belt looks like it needs to be tightened to create a better illusion at the waist.

  • erinbinek

    Werq, in my opinion.

  • RebeccaKW

    Gorgeous. Look at her face-she knows she looks fierce.

  • Snailstsichr

    Somebody looks like a million bucks and knows it! Snaps to both of them.

  • Judy_S

    She looks really lovely here. I am stunned by the way the design looks on her compared to the runway version–every detail has been rethought. This is my idea of couture–something made to look good on a particular body. Pricey and priceless.

  • Lovely.

  • butterflysunita

    She looks gorgeous. That dress is amazing and her smile and confidence in these photos make her even more beautiful.

  • Project Runway needs to bring the Octavia and Tadashi show on when they do “real woman” challenges. He to be mentor to the whining designers who are stumped when designing above a size 2 and she to judge the outcome. Then we’d see a show.

    • Cheryl

      Yes, but they wouldn’t make it just any “real woman” challenge. They’d make sure all their models were on the extremely overweight side. Would they consider having her or another full-figured woman judge on a night when they aren’t using “civilian models”? I doubt it.

  • LaSylphide

    Actually, Spencer has a excellent figure: just because she is (by current standards) ‘plus size’, doesn’t mean she can’t be well proportioned. Love this dress. It looks a million times better on Spencer than on the skinny, shapeless model.

    • You’re right, she has a beautifully proportioned hourglass shape which makes these styles perfect for her.

  • tereliz

    GREAT DRESS! I think it looks like a shapeless sack on the model but OCTAVIA LOOKS FAB! Thanks for featuring the designer as well, uncles.

  • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

    He’s my new fashion hero. A man who makes flattering, fabulous clothes for women of all sizes and ages.

  • MikeW_Vegas

    She is selling the sht*t out of that dress. She KNOWS she looks good.

  • M. H. Leader

    She looks utterly gorgeous. I give her snaps-up! WERQ that dress Octavia! (I might have gone with a slightly brighter lip, but…still…GORGEOUS.)

  • Octava in a Tadashi Shoji dress is almost an eternat WERQ for me.

  • frannyprof

    I love that she is his muse. I hope other designers sit up and take note that it is possible to design for “real” women and still be fashionable/fabulous.

  • decormaven

    That is one fabulous look, and she knows it. Snaps!

  • pookiesmom

    She looks amazing, but her shape is so different from Melissa McCarthy’s, I don’t even see the point in comparing the two. Spencer’s got a pretty perfectly proportioned hourglass figure, which makes it much easier for her to rock shapely dresses like this.

    • librarygrrl64

      Yes, McCarthy is more of an apple, which is the WORST to fit. I know of what I speak. 🙁

      I wish she would use her Gilmore Girls costumer, whoever that was. McCarthy always looked cute in that show. I especially loved her colorful cardigans and skirts, and her wedding gown on GG was DIVINE.

  • Carol

    She looks absolutely lovely.

  • Hilariuosly, Tadashi’s jacket is ill-fitting! None the less, he looks like a real sweetheart!

  • nannypoo

    She is beautiful and she looks perfect here. She takes a great picture. Her personality really shines.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    That’s how to do it, Miss Octavia! (Note to self: Add sweet belts to wardrobe, and maybe a few tops not made of tee shirt material.)

  • kipper

    she looks SO beautiful !

  • KateMaryC

    I actually just wish it was the same charming cocktail length. The full skirt veers a bit toward bridesmaid – not so much so as to take away from her fabulousness, I just like the thought of her with the retro cocktail skirt along with that neckline.

  • Amen! I see what Melissa McCarthy wears and I shudder. She could do SO much better for herself. I happen to be a full-figured woman and I cringe at what she does to herself. Octavia Spencer on the other hand always looks great thanks to Tadashi Shoji. If only more designers would learn to dress more body types!

  • librarygrrl64

    He is wonderful, obviously a genius at working with various shapes and sizes, and she was a smart cookie to choose him. Perfection. 🙂

  • meowing

    While Octavia looks lovely, and I give Mr. Shoji oodles of credit for her looks, I’ve also read that she’s lost somewhere around 40 pounds. So, it’s hard to compare her “before” looks to now. While she’s a beautiful woman, of course her clothes are fitting differently and more smoothly now. Lessons that Ms. McCarthy could learn from Mr. Shoji.

  • Patricia Gillett

    Octavia is werqing it, too. I just adore the look on her face when she knows she’s shutting it down.

  • LittleKarnak

    Wow, I would totally wear that!!!!

  • StellaZafella

    Love her dress…and she’s beautiful to start with.
    But I also want HIS gorgeous Black Leather Blazer and red tie…

  • Anathema_Device

    This is a great dress. She looks beautiful. I like Tadashi Shoji’s dresses very much, and I love that he has a plus-size line. Not many designers do that.

  • Imasewsure

    Great shape and style on her. Looks nicer in the longer length I think too… Best of all, it looks comfy

  • The shape IS perfection. My girlfriends and I have a mantra that if we don’t look good in something we, ‘blame it on the pants.’ Or whatever garment we are wearing. The right thing makes you look like the awesome goddess you are. The wrong thing is out to ruin you.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Simply gorgeous. Shoji should get an award for doing what all designers should do, which is appealing to all demographics equally.

  • While you’re up, can you flag Lena Dunham as well?

  • Coco Cornejo

    Lena Dunham is another one who could stand to learn what a difference a good fit does for how one looks.

  • poggi

    She looks fantastic. He looks great. They look fantastically great together. She is so pretty and has a lovely hourglass figure. I love that this partnership realiy showcases her beauty.

  • Anniebet

    Lovely, as usual. Nice to see her with Mr. Shoji – he deserves a lot of credit.

    One of the things that a lot of large women are missing that Ms. Spencer has is a waist. They often have unsightly rolls of pudge, as well. Dressing Octavia can be very effective because she has a nicely proportioned body, albeit a bit plump. I’m not convinced Melissa McCarthy could use this kind of body hugging design, but she certainly needs to explore more flattering clothes.

  • TheAmericaness


  • Beth513

    She looks perfect and she knows it. Damn.

  • quiltrx

    I WANT THIS DRESS. I’m a lot taller than Octavia, but we have some building blocks in common, so to speak. Lately I’m loving the “some black lace over a lighter color” accents, and this is SO pretty.

  • SpillinTea

    I love that Tadashi is the go-to designer for the Hollywood SOCS (“Sistas Of a Certain Size”). Octavia and Mo’Nique always look FABULOUS in his gowns.

  • beebee10


  • I also really like her hair like this.

  • demidaemon

    I actually think she does this dress more justice than the model. It calls for some curves to really highlight the effect of the details.

    • I was just going to post that myself! Her shape works better for that dress than the model’s does – this should be a clear message that not every article of clothing is best shown on a skinny clothes hanger model.

  • ///

    It looks a bit like a funeral dress, on the model.
    Octavia Spencer definitely gives it life!! Bless Tadashi.

  • guest2visits

    Agree, this is pretty on her, the short version is nice too.

  • ccm800

    She’s beautiful. I just FEEL better looking at her face.