Monday, October 20, 2008

Farewell Mr. Blackwell

From Vogue UK:

Mr. Blackwell, the fashion critic whose annual best and worst dressed lists have been a fixture on the fashion scene since 1960, died yesterday, aged 86.

Concerns about his health were first raised in August, when he collapsed at his LA home and was hospitalised. He died of complications from an intestinal infection, his publicist Harlan Boll confirmed yesterday.

Born Richard Sylvan Selzer in 1922, Blackwell was something of a celebrity in his own right; he hosted his own television programme, Mr Blackwell Presents, in 1968, made appearances in various other shows and published an autobiography, From Rag To Bitches, in which he relayed a childhood of poverty.

It was for turning the spotlight on the sartorial mishaps of the rich and famous, however, for which he will be remembered. It was Blackwell who famously dubbed Camilla Parker-Bowles "the Duchess of Dowdy", and he regularly dissected the fashion disasters of the likes of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Sharon Stone and Christina Aguilera. Top of his hit list for 2008 was Victoria Beckham, on whom he commented: "In one skinny-mini monstrosity after another, pouty 'Posh' can really wreck-em."

"The list is and was a satirical look at the fashion flops of the year," Blackwell said of his calling in 1998. "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."

The NY Times obit can be found here.

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