Mr. Blackwell was the original red carpet bitch—and these women made his list year after year
Before Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin, there was Mr. Blackwell. Every year, the late fashion critic ruthlessly lampooned red carpet fashion with his Worst Dressed List. Just in time for the Oscars red carpet, EW remembered the legend in “Mr. Blackwell: The Original Red Carpet Bitch,” looking at every one of Blackwell’s lists—48 years’ worth in all—and tallied the scores. Here are the 10 women who made the most appearances. Congratulations?
Blackwell followed Madonna through every incarnation. Wondering if she noticed? “I think I always make the worst-dressed list,” Madonna said in 1989. “It’s just silly. But it is kind of nice having something you can count on.”
“Yesterday’s see-through,” Blackwell said about Streisand’s Oscar look in 1969, when she won Best Actress for Funny Girl. He later called her “a masculine bride of Frankenstein.” And in 1990 he laid it down with “Yentl’s gone mental!”
While Welch was an undisputed sex symbol in the ’60s, she was also a stalwart of Mr. Blackwell’s list. Not that Blackwell didn’t appreciate her body. “Trying to keep abreast of the times, with those clothes, is hard!”
Spears was set to have seven “wins” on the worst list, but Blackwell kindly left her off his last burn-book page in 2008, because her life was “in such upheaval.” But she still managed to edge out another perennial target…
“I like women to be pretty,” Mr. Blackwell said. And thin—he had no mercy for Taylor’s waistline. “Looks like two small boys fighting under a mink blanket,” he groused. Her response, according to friends: “Oh, that little bitch!”
“A plain-Jane Pollyanna playing Peter Pan at half-mast,” Blackwell announced in 1966, when Andrews made the list at number 2. He followed that up with “a rejected cover girl for a Charles Dickens novel.”
“A plucked cockatoo setting femininity back 20 years!” Or “a million beads and one overexposed derriere.” We don’t know which shady couplet is better—but it does make us miss the idea of an Oscar-night headdress.
“Overhyped and underdressed, what’s happened to Lindsay?” Mr. Blackwell asked in 2005. He polished off his barb with, “When it comes to fashion, she’s a schizophrenic frenzy.” (He saw that coming.)
Parton has always liked to say, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” Blackwell always liked to make fun of her boobs, which he called “An atomic jelly bean explosion” and “a ruffled bedspread covering king-size pillows.”
“Whoops!” was Blackwell’s go-to description for the four-time Oscar host. He later added that “she goes out of her way to look bad.” Her response to the nastiness? Thank-you notes and flowers.