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Remembering Mr. Blackwell

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Mrblackwelltribute_l

Mrblackwelltribute_lAt first glance, Queen Elizabeth and LaToya Jackson might not have a lot in common, but if the two ladies ever get a chance to sit down together for a cup of tea, they can certainly share a laugh (or a huff) about the dubious distinction of having topped Mr. Blackwell’s annual Worst Dressed List. (For the record, Elizabeth received her “honor” in 1969, while LaToya followed two decades later, in 1989).

Blackwell, who spent the past 48 years skewering the sartorial mistakes of the rich and famous with his patented brand of bitchery, died yesterday in his Los Angeles home at age 86. Sure, critics could dismiss the former actor and designer for achieving fame by targeting the most obvious fashion victims, but Blackwell also understood too well the joy of the takedown, of throwing some ridicule in the direction of wealthy, pampered celebrities who still manage to get it wrong even with teams of stylists, trainers, and makeup artists in their corners. (That said, last year, Blackwell gave Britney Spears a reprieve, citing difficulties in her personal life.) And while Blackwell sometimes committed his own unspeakable crimes against rhymes — last year’s countdown included this groaner: “In layers of cut-rate kitsch, Mary Kate [Olsen]’s look is hard to explain…she resembles a tattered toothpick, trapped in a hurricane!” — there was something undeniably comforting about encountering the predictably loopy lists he’d been issuing every January since 1960 (when Italian actress Anna Magnani ranked No. 1). DListed, Go Fug Yourself, and other gossip blogs went on to do it funnier (and meaner), but Blackwell certainly blazed the trail for those of us who get as much (if not more) satisfaction from reading a Worst Dressed list as a Best Dressed countdown.After the jump, check out the last decade of Blackwell’s honorees, and click here for the Associated Press’s full roster of Blackwell’s Worst Dressed from 1960-2007.

addCredit(“Blackwell: Malcolm Ali/WireImage; Beckham: Eamonn McCormack/WireImage”)

1997: Spice Girls
1998: Linda Tripp
1999: Cher
2000: Britney Spears
2001: Weakest Link‘s Anne Robinson
2002: Anna Nicole Smith
2003: Paris Hilton
2004: Nicollette Sheridan
2005: Britney Spears
2006: Paris Hilton, Britney Spears (tie)
2007: Victoria Beckham

More on Mr. Blackwell:

Analyzing Mr. Blackwell’s sartorial scorn

Paris Hilton tops Mr. Blackwell’s worst-dressed list