Come into my Web, says spider

September 04, 1997|By Mary Gottschalk | Mary Gottschalk,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

Mr. Blackwell is going online.

Fans of the acid-tongued fashion designer who annually skewers celebrities with his Worst Dressed Women List will no longer have to wait a year between fixes. Soon, they'll be able to read his latest observations any time they sign on to http: //www.mrblackwell.com.

"It's the new thing to do. It's time to do it or get left behind," says Blackwell of his Web site, which will feature "picks and pans, quick one-liners about people of great interest, editorials and a lot of wonderful things."

Call up the Web site today, though, and you won't find much.

The 1996 list is there in case you forgot Dennis Rodman headed it as "a unisex wreck" and Sarah, the Duchess of York, was described as "looks like an unemployed barmaid -- in search of a Crown." There's also a promo for Blackwell's autobiography, "From Rags to Bitches" ($19.95, General Publishing Group), which promises details on being "the most prolific boy-toy in Hollywood" and "torrid romances with several of the hottest male movie stars in the business."

Click onto the intriguing "Gossip With Mr. Blackwell" icon and you'll find the site still under construction. It's also likely to have a new name by the time it's finished.

"It's information, not gossip," says Blackwell indignantly when told about the heading. Insisting it will be changed, he says that "gossip is too dangerous and unfair to people. Gossip no longer has credibility; that went out with Louella Parsons. There's too much good to do."

Good?

From Mr. Blackwell?

Unlikely -- and boring -- as that sounds, the man who was born Richard Sylvan Selzer in Brooklyn and renamed Richard Blackwell by Howard Hughes is seeking understanding and approval.

"People will decide who I am for the first time," he says. "I'm more than a list once a year. This is going to show the other side of me I've never had a chance to show."

Blackwell also takes umbrage at the notion that he's being negative when he describes Glenn Close as "doggone depressing" or Roseanne as "a bowling ball in search of an alley."

"The list is not negative!" he says emphatically. "I call it critiquing. Having an opinion doesn't make it negative. I have a terrific foundation on which to base my opinion -- 35 years in the fashion business.

"When I say [designer] Alexander McQueen is a consummate ass, it isn't being negative. You should hear what I think about him. Givenchy's name might as well be burned at the stake if McQueen stays with the firm," says Blackwell.

He is equally harsh on the signing of Stella McCartney to design the Chloe collection.

Blackwell also believes that those who make his Worst Dressed Women List love the ensuing publicity.

"If I said things about them as people, that would be wrong," he says. "I'm talking about the way they dress. You know they love it. If they were upset they wouldn't bring it up on talk shows. Julia Roberts brings it up all the time.

"The public honestly looks forward to the list. It's not vicious, it's camp."

Although Blackwell doesn't own a computer and has yet to surf the Net, he says he's looking forward to "reaching more people in one day than I do in a year of traveling."

His move toward getting wired came about after a chance meeting at a Hollywood party with Kimball Small, developer of the Fairmont Hotel and Plaza and other Silicon Valley properties -- a meeting he attributes to "karma. If you're on the road of life and you don't detour or stray, you'll meet the right people."

Small steered Blackwell toward Bay Area Gold, a San Jose, Calif.-based Internet marketing company he's invested in, and Blackwell recently spent two days in Silicon Valley promoting the venture.

As he heads toward the airport and back to his Los Angeles mansion, Blackwell says, "If you don't go forward, you go back. If you don't have a dream, you're dead. I have a dream. I'm pleased."

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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