Mr. Blackwell, worst-dressed list
Damian Dovarganes/AP

Fashion Designer and Critic Richard Blackwell Mourned

October 20, 2008 11:07 AM
by Emily Coakley
Richard Blackwell, known as Mr. Blackwell, the author of an acerbic annual worst-dressed celebrities list, has died.

Blackwell Died in Los Angeles

Mr. Blackwell, a designer who issued an annual worst-dressed celebrities list, died from complications of an infection on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. Blackwell, who was born Richard Selzer, was 86.

His list started in 1960, and came out in January of each year. AP listed some of his memorable descriptions:

Describing Barbara Streisand, he said, “She looks like a masculine Bride of Frankenstein.” Lindsey Lohan, he said, went from “adorable to deplorable.”

AP reported that in 1988, Blackwell said, “The list is and was a satirical look at the fashion flops of the year. I merely said out loud what others were whispering … It’s not my intention to hurt the feelings of these people. It’s to put down the clothing they’re wearing.”

Selzer originally came to Hollywood in search of a movie career, after being a Broadway understudy. Howard Hughes is responsible for giving Mr. Blackwell his stage name, according to “Entertainment Tonight.”

He turned to fashion when his acting career didn’t pan out. According to “Entertainment Tonight,” women such as Coretta Scott King and Nancy Reagan wore clothes in Blackwell’s fashion line

Opinion & Analysis: ‘Original fashion police’

Lynn Green, writing on the blog Hicktown Press, said she would miss Blackwell.

“No one was more on-point and he would sometimes pick out celebrities that no one would have thought of. It would tickle me to hear celebrities say, ‘Who is Mr. Blackwell?’ Another thing I liked about him was that he would take celebrities to task about showing up at elite award shows dressed in jeans and looking like shabby bums and heroin addicts. Good for him!”

The blog Your Celebrity Stuff called Blackwell the “original fashion police.” His list was, “watched around the world as much for his caustic quips about the stars’ fashion as for who made the list.”

“He certainly made us gals here in StyleCritics seem like meek kitties,” wrote one blogger.

Reference: Fashion Web Guide


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