Before Joan Rivers and Us Weekly, the field of bitchy celebrity fashion criticism was dominated by Mr. Blackwell (nee Richard Selzer), who died Sunday at age 86. Blackwell was a dress designer of minor repute when he began flogging celebs and their clothes in 1960. In Elizabeth Taylor he saw "the rebirth of the zeppelin”; Sophia Loren did herself up like "the Italian shop girls she portrays in movies." His prose style was arch verging on camp ("Do-it-yourself kit with the wrong instructions!") and his annual best and worst lists were often unveiled at his mansion. In recent years, Mr. Blackwell had become something less of an annual event, and had taken to assailing Victoria Beckham’s “skinny-mini monstrosities” by email.
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