Memo to stars who think it’s safe to step out in this (or this or this): TV’s most honest fashion critic, Joan Rivers, will be back on TV dishing on red carpet fashion in Fashion Police, which kicks off with a two-hour post-Emmy special (E!, Aug. 30, 10 p.m.), and continues with a weekly series that will highlight the best — and, more importantly, the worst — in celebrity looks. (The Fashion Police series officially debuts Sept. 10.) We chatted with the funnywoman about what we’ll see on her new show, the evolution of red carpet style, and who she’s looking forward to seeing Emmy night.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you want to get back into Fashion Police?
JOAN RIVERS: Well, we did it last year as a trial run and we had such a good time doing it. [My daughter] Melissa [Rivers] was executive producing, and I was doing the show and they said, “This is great. Let’s do it next year.” I love it because I don’t have to stand on the red carpet and pretend I like something — it goes against everything I believe in — and smile and say, “Don’t you look nice?” and the next day, say she looked terrible. So I’d rather not have to do the first part.
When you weren’t on TV commenting about red carpet fashion, were you watching at home?
I never watch anything. I’m sorry to tell you, if I’m not doing it, I don’t watch it.
Why do you like to critique fashion?
I love fashion. I have my own jewelry/fashion line on QVC. All my summer jobs were in fashion. I just love fashion, so for me it’s a joy and a pleasure to be there to critique it.
What can we expect from the post-Emmys Fashion Police and the series to come?
The truth, which is very, very seldom said on television.
Is E! ready for an even more candid Joan?
They were last year, and the ratings were terrific. It’s fine to say about Lady Gaga, “The dress looked like it was made of organza and Charmin.”
Who’ll be on the couch with you besides Kelly Osbourne? Is Melissa involved?
Melissa’s executive producing, which is so great. Giuliana [Rancic], because I adore Giuliana, and then we’ll see. We had Khloe [Kardashian] last year, but the Kardashians are way beyond [now].
Your previous post-red carpet shows had rotating guests. Will we see any of that?
We will — and a lot of gossip. It always leads into gossip. And [the network] said, “That’s absolutely fine.” I love gossip. “So-and-so, doesn’t she look wonderful in the pink? But did you know she’s shacking up with three women and a guy?” That’s much more interesting.
How has the red carpet changed since you’ve reported from it?
I think what’s happened in general is they’ve all got stylists. When Melissa and I started, nobody else was doing this and nobody had stylists. They all picked their own dresses. It was wonderful because you got to see the good, you got to see the bad. You got to see what a real person thought they look good in. These days they have a stylist and they have a PR person walking with them. God forbid you say something bad about it, they’ll never let you talk to them again. That’s one of the reasons I walked away from that. It was no fun! If you had to tell everybody, “Don’t you look great!” then we’re not telling anybody anything. By just doing the Fashion Police, it’s so great. The next day you can really say, “The dress is so low-cut, she could’ve sold advertising on her cleavage.” But if you say that to someone on the red carpet, that’s it. You don’t get them back, and you don’t get any other clients of the PR person back.
Do you have a favorite red carpet event? The Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes?
I love the Golden Globes the best, because it’s everybody mixed up. It’s a party, and there are drinks, and everybody just feels great. It’s so much fun. The Oscars, as Melissa always says, it’s like going to grandma’s house. It’s going to your rich relative’s house. It’s sad [the Emmys] are so early this season. I think it’s a big mistake. It’s not my fault, it’s not my problem, but I think it’s stupid to put it on when they put it on. Half the people are “at the shore” or “the Hamptons.” I think it’s a big mistake. But as I said, it’s not my problem.
What do you think we’ll see on the red carpet this season?
You know this year’s going to be feathers, fringe, ruffles, and fur.
Who are you looking forward to seeing this Sunday?
Mariska Hargitay always looks good. I want to see the Kardashians. I hope they come dressed alike. Wouldn’t that be great? I adore Lady Gaga, but I don’t know if she’ll be there for the Emmys. You want to see the usuals, the vampire ladies.
And who will be a disaster?
The Jersey [Shore] trash.
If they come.
They’ll go. It’s their 15 minutes and they’re coming.
Photo: Chris Hatcher/PR Photos