Joan Rivers, A Modern-Day Mr. Blackwell

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A prominent aspect of Rivers’ career was fashion criticism. An often-overlooked medium by the public, Rivers became a fixture for her fiery commentary. Many remember Rivers on the red carpet, interviewing celebrities about their clothing in a snarking manner for E! Television. After years at E!, Rivers became a part of “Fashion Police,” a television show that commented on celebrity style. This show reached to the public in ways that commentating from The New York Times and Women’s Wear Daily couldn’t. People who watched wasn’t always fashion conscious and was more likely interested in its flippant commentary than style advice. However, Rivers created content that appealed to everyone, even the style-minded. She was a host who did not agree with everyone but always provided an honest opinion with a couple of jokes, which in the world of fashion, was quite rare.

Rivers’ fashion commentary is reminiscent of Richard Blackwell of “Mr. Blackwell’s Worst-Dressed List” fame. She was similar to Mr. Blackwell’ but “with a bite” according to James Wolcott in his piece, “Wearing Out The Carpet” for Vanity Fair. Although Rivers was far more daring, they both commented on celebrity fashion in a witty manner that appealed to the public.

Rivers had an eye-catching sense of style. Her clothing was sometimes trendy and like her personality,  non-apologetic. She favored lush fabrics, which included furs and silks, and was always in glamorous silhouettes. Rivers often wore black eyeliner with a glossy lip that was never too overbearing. In her later life, she kept her hair chin-length, only flipping the ends out from time to time. Although Rivers became known for her changing face due to her love for plastic surgery, she never strayed from her beauty routine. As Rivers once mused, “The ideal beauty is a fugitive which is never found.”

Joan Rivers had the style and taste level to back up her commentating. She knew what she liked and what she didn’t both on and off the red carpet. Although her icon status is from her long comedy career, Rivers’ fashion history is something of comment too.



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