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Joan Rivers says she's changed Oscar fashion

She and daughter Melissa treat the red carpet like a battle zone
/ Source: Reuters

Who needs an Oscar! Joan Rivers says she deserves a medal from Hollywood’s stylists, those folks who get paid to dress the stars.

Since 1996, celebrities have strolled down the Academy Awards red carpet trembling in designer-clad fear of being lambasted by Rivers or her daughter, Melissa, as they work their popular pre-Oscar fashion shtick for the E! Network.

But the stars have wised up recently, hiring dress designers, plastic surgeons, hairdressers and stylists so they are impeccable under the fashion-police glare of Rivers and others on Oscar night.

“Unfortunately, I think they’re playing it safer because of us. I think we should get an award from the stylists of America,” sighed Rivers during a telephone interview.

In the world of celebrity, a Hollywood stylist is someone who earns upwards of $1,000 a day to shop for the rich and famous and put together their outfits.

Stylists can often set fashion trends as pictures of stars like Uma Thurman and Nicole Kidman, decked out for awards galas, hit the Internet and magazines around the globe.

Lets face it, once the curtain goes down at the Oscars on Feb. 29, some people just find it far more interesting to discuss who wore what, rather than who won what.

Rivers is a guilty pleasureAnd whether one admits it or not, the Rivers’ foul-mouthed, off-colored, live pre-show, where every star is fair game for their acid-tongued reviews, has become the guilty viewing pleasure of millions, setting ratings records year after year.

A fashion faux pas screamed out by 70-year-old Rivers or her 35-year-old daughter can reverberate for years. Remember Bjork’s “swan” dress and Lara Flynn Boyle’s “tutu?”

Even with the help of stylists, the Rivers are optimistic there will be some fashion disasters. “I hope we have some Bjork moments,” said the younger Rivers, also on hand for the interview.

“There’s always someone who it just doesn’t happen for. It just doesn’t come together. Even the very best of plans can go askew,” notes the elder Rivers. But even in the absence of a fashion train wreck, there’s always something to poke fun at.

“If every once in a while, everybody looks wonderful, you don’t care because you’re still talking to Nicole Kidman or you’re finding Kevin Costner with a bad ring for his girlfriend. There’s always something that happens. It’s live,” said Rivers, referring to the Golden Globes last month when she grabbed the hand of Costner’s fiancee, Christine Baumgartner, for a glimpse of her engagement ring, which was smaller than what one usually sees around Hollywood circles.

“Oh, you are a fool! It should be four times this size,” barked Rivers who then then proceeded to tell Costner he should be ashamed of himself.

“I heard that he was very upset,” Rivers said this week. “It wasn’t planned but I don’t think I was the first one that fell over dead when I saw the ring,” she said.

A mother-daughter teamThe Rivers themselves are often the butt of jokes for their often tacky guerilla-style humor and for mixing up celebrities and designer names. They both shrug off the criticism.

“We are the No. 1 pre-show. People watch us because we’re fun, we’re entertaining and we’re human,” said Joan Rivers.

“Yeah I challenge anybody to stand there and not make any mistakes,” said her daughter.

The two often finish each other’s thoughts. “She’s very smart and very funny and we know each other’s shorthands so well. We know when the other is in trouble or needs help. That makes it so easy and such a pleasure,” said the senior Rivers.

And, adds her daughter, “I’m smart enough to separate myself and realize I’m learning at the feet of the master.”

“The pedicured feet, that is,” corrects her mother.

Both likened the Red Carpet to a battle zone. “It’s truly full metal jacket. This is the one where you’re not fooling around and no one is your friend. If you get Nicole Kidman and BBC doesn’t, they’ll kill you to get her,” said the elder.

“I came to blows with ABC two years ago. I think it was over Sharon Stone. I really gave a girl a good push, then I laughed and thought, ‘Hmmm. I’ve still got it!”’

Melissa is still choosing her Oscar outfit, while Joan plans to wear a Pamela Dennis dress.

But if they really want to make a splash, Rivers said they should take a page out of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl drama.

“You always remember the ones who are out there. Actually the smartest thing that Melissa and I could do is go topless,” Rivers said.