Mr. Blackwell on himself, and fashion, and himself


January 06, 1991|By Ryan Murphy | Ryan Murphy,Knight-Ridder News Service

"I need a psychiatrist!" confesses Mr. Blackwell, the meanest man in fashion, whose yearly "Worst Dressed" list packs more of a wallop than a hundred issues of Vogue. "I'm so overburdened! This week alone I've got to work on 30 lithographs, tape four television specials and talk to you. I'm not 34 anymore, you know."

But doesn't he look it? Although "somewhere between 50 and 104," Mr. Blackwell -- the name he always uses publicly -- has kept the face and figure of a baby boomer with dozens of operations that have made him the unquestionable poster child of the snip and tuck industry. "I've had everything on my body completely done over," he crows. "Whoever said age is a state of mind is out of their mind. You are as old as you look."

Mr. Blackwell spends much time plotting his annual "Worst Dressed" list, which is scheduled to be announced on Jan. 8. "This is the list's 31st year," he says. "It's picked up all over the world. I call the shots as I see 'em. Someone once said to me, 'If 50 percent of the people you know aren't your enemies, you're nobody.' Well, I'm somebody!"

Q: Can you give us a sneak preview of some of the Hollywood horrors who will be on your list this year?

A: Well, Roseanne Barr will definitely be on it. Take a look at her! She's Quasimodo on a bad night, a bowling ball in search of an alley. She looks like a window washer. And Sinead O'Connor will make an appearance. If our young people look at her and say, "This is the way you should look," we will soon have one of the ugliest nations in the world.

Q: Surprisingly, some of the women you have skewered love you for it.

A: Oh, yes. They know I don't mean them any physical harm. And being on the list gives them tons of free publicity. Madonna loves me because I think she looks so terrible. Just recently she said, "There are so many people in my life that I can't depend on, so thank heaven for Mr. Blackwell. I can always depend on him." Hearing that, I immediately double-crossed her. I put her on my best-dressed list! She won't ever talk to me again, but I love her dearly. If only she could sing on key . . .

Q: What do you think of Cher's new tattoos?

A: They are a disgrace. Women shouldn't be tattooed, come on. It's fine for drunken sailors.

Q: How do you think Nancy Reagan is holding up now that she doesn't have the White House?

A: She's shrunk lately, just like George Burns.

Nancy's gotten older before our eyes, and she's shrunk out of meanness. Oh, she's a mean woman. She wants power and importance, but to attain these things, one must have a sense of humor. Humor is the secret to getting away with everything, and she never learned that.

Q: If you had to pay an annual fee to maintain your current level of fame, how much would it be worth to you?

A: Everything I own. The minute I thought no one wanted to hear from me, my life would be over. I only come alive when I'm on the public stage. I am a lonely, insecure man who needs my fame.

Q: If your toilet backs up and overflows, what do you do?

A: I leave the house. I don't care who cleans it up, but it won't be me. I have a housekeeper. I'd make her do it. Please! I haven't spent my whole life earning my fame and money to have to turn around and clean up the stuff that comes streaming out of a toilet!

Q: If you could be reincarnated as any celebrity of the opposite sex, who would you come back as?

A: I'd like to be a queen. (Laughs.) Of a nation, I mean! Like the Queen of England. And if I was, the first thing I'd do is kick Di's a-- out of the palace. She wouldn't be around to challenge my position, oh no. (Deep sigh.) Oh, I want to be royalty so badly. I'm so tired of being a peasant.

Q: What's your guiltiest pleasure?

A: Money. But I don't get any guilt from that. (Long pause.) I guess cheating when I'm in a relationship. You're supposed to be faithful, and sometimes I'm just not.

Q: What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

A: Scream.

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