Mr. Blackwell, chronicler of clothing catastrophes, poked fun at socialite-reality TV star Paris Hilton Tuesday for committing the worst fashion follies of the past year.
The acid-tongued critic and former fashion designer has been ailing in recent years, preventing him from reading his 44th annual list aloud to the press.
But in an exclusive interview, Blackwell told AP Radio in Washington: “Paris came up shining with a big spotlight saying, ‘Pick me!’ She was just the most natural contender to make No. 1 this year.”
“From cyber disgrace to red carpet chills -- she’s the vapid Venus of Beverly Hills!” said Blackwell.
Hilton, star of the Fox reality show “The Simple Life,” became an inadvertent Internet icon when a homemade sex video she shot with her then-boyfriend made the rounds online.
“She does everything she can to be outrageous, everything she can to be over the top, everything she can to be too much and she succeeded — and what she got from it was a great TV show,” Blackwell told AP Radio.
In a statement, he described those on the list as “Ten Titans of Fashion Terror that, in 2003, ran the gamut of style-free excess from trashy to flashy, frumpy to dumpy and every egregious variation in between.”
Madonna and Britney Spears — “kissin’ cousins of couture crime” — were tied for second place, followed by Shania Twain (country-fried kitsch), Diane Keaton, Jessica Simpson, Celine Dion (half-sequined scarecrow, half-gaudy acrobat), Missy Elliott, Melanie Griffith, Courtney Love (torrid temptress of fashion) and Lara Flynn Boyle.
“I’m not telling them how to dress,” he told AP Radio from his home in Hancock Park, Calif. “I’m just telling them what I think of it. ... A lot of the stars are looking better than ever and it was very tough to find 10 bad ones.”
On the positive side, Blackwell praised Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Garner, Diane Lane, Salma Hayek, Oprah Winfrey, Katie Holmes, Tippi Hedren, Beyonce, Faith Hill, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Countess of Wessex, the former Sophie Rhys-Jones, as “Fabulous Fashion Independents for 2003.