Melissa McCarthy Launches Her Fashion Label
"I just wanted to do a basic closet that I couldn't find," sighs Melissa McCarthy about her new line, Melissa McCarthy Seven7. And while the line officially debuts on September 1, McCarthy is taking to HSN on August 13 to introduce the world to her fashion design persona.
"Some days I want to be prim and proper, and others I want to be in a band," adds McCarthy. "I lost the ability to do that with clothes." The line is comprised of "everything a woman needs," she says, from dresses and tailored separates to denim, all priced under $150: "The fun of it is you should be able to put these things together and not have to make a choice about going out to dinner or getting the sweater. Wear the sweater to dinner."
Though McCarthy, who stars in the upcoming all-female "Ghostbusters," made a name for herself in Hollywood with "Gilmore Girls" and "Bridesmaids," fashion has long been her secret calling. "It's always what I thought I would do," explains McCarthy with a tinge of longing in her voice. "I went into clothing and textiles in college and moved here with [shoe designer] Brian Atwood. I was going to finish at FIT and he made me do stand-up on the second night."
And while McCarthy may hold a joking grudge toward her designer friend, her obsession with fashion never subsided, even as she's been occasionally critical about some of the looks that presented her on the red carpet. "I remember being put into things and hearing people say, 'This is great,'" she says. "But it was just forcing your body into something — I have to feel good to be confident and to be myself." The actress currently works with stylists Judy Swartz and Magda Berliner for her red-carpet appearances and even incorporated a few pieces from her label while promoting the film Spy earlier this summer. "I like when it's someone's own style," she explains. "Anytime something has a personal feel to it, it's authentic, and I find it inspiring."
It's no surprise then, that Melissa McCarthy Seven7 features McCarthy's own joie de vivre reworked into chic motifs like charismatic heart prints. "My friend designed these for me," she says. "He's an artist in Los Angeles and I told him to give me something really quick with energy. It's not too sweet." That emotion also translates into pieces like an animal-print knit trouser to an asymmetrical-hem T-shirt with graffiti-like paint splatters. "I want you to wear it how you want to," says McCarthy who has sported gowns backwards, worn a turtleneck for pants, and a top as a skirt. "I love the juxtaposition of a sweet little blouse with a motocross look."
Bringing runway looks to women who don’t fit sample sizes is part of the ethos behind the line — which ranges from sizes four to 28 and goes beyond the age-old myth that only all-black looks can be slimming, with an adventurous, and equally flattering use of color-blocking. Back in high school, the then-budding designer would clip Vogue patterns — "That's what the cool kids did!" — before flipping through the magazine pages for inspiration. "Do you mean, do I still have my Thierry Mugler and [Jean Paul] Gaultier scrapbook? Yes! Yes, I do," exclaims McCarthy with the buzzy energy of a teen splurging on her first designer item.
She's equally keen on stylishly satisfying real-world needs: For the truly signature element in the collection, one must look within. "I want pockets in my dresses," she says emphatically. "I put pockets in everything! I want pockets inside my pockets."
And then, of course, there's denim: A recent convert, the actress admits she once went fifteen years without owning a pair of jeans. "I was completely against it," replies McCarthy firmly. "I was in a vintage phase, shockingly, and I just didn’t get it." Fast-forward several years and McCarthy has at last, like the rest of the world, been bitten by the faded blues bug. "One of the best parts of a woman's body is that curve and I go a little bit higher on all of my things to show off the best part of the hourglass."
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Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard via Getty Images