Fashion's Mr. Blackwell Dead at 86

Was founder of 'Worst-Dressed Lists'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 20, 2008 7:29 AM CDT
In this Oct. 19, 2006 file photo, acid-tonged fashion critic Mr. Blackwell gets a kiss from his declared best dressed dog winner during an event promoting "Dine With Your Dog Day" in Los Angeles.    (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Richard Blackwell, the man who created the cheeky annual “Worst-Dressed List,” died yesterday at 86 of complications from an intestinal infection, People reports. Calling himself “Mr. Blackwell,” the designer issued wittily scathing reviews of celebs’ outfits, recently hammering Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and frequently targeting Anna Nicole Smith and Barbra Streisand. “Don’t bother with a new designer,” he told Smith, “just hire a structural engineer.”

Born in a poor area of Brooklyn, the former Richard Sylvan Selzer won a Broadway role as a teen that took him to Hollywood; he later became a personal manager. When people paid more attention to his clothing designs than his clients, he launched his own label, promoting it with the Worst-Dressed Lists. “The year the list came out everybody was mad as hell. They made me a name,” he said.