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Fitness | GUEST WORKOUT / MR. BLACKWELL

Staying Fit Is Always in Fashion

March 23, 1998|CANDACE A. WEDLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Everyone asked the same question after I interviewed Mr. Blackwell, fashion arbiter: What did you wear? What Mom said, that's what. (The No. 2 question was: What's his first name? It's Richard.) I'm just sorry Mom wasn't there to help with my hair and makeup (more on this later).

After the interview, Mr. Blackwell, whose 38th Worst Dressed List appeared in January, his lifetime companion and business partner, Robert Spencer, and I went to a cafe near their Hancock Park home.

Q: Spence said he went to the gym this morning. Did you go?

A: I'm very shy. I won't go to a gym. I don't want people to look at me. I'm shy about even going down to a pool in a bathing suit, believe me.

Q: You won't swim in front of people?

A: No. I won't. If I go out on a ship, around the pool I have on usually a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and I'll take it off if I'm alone. Now, whatever got me into being that shy, I don't know. But if there's people there, I don't go in. And I'm foolish. Because I would probably enjoy it.

Q: So you exercise at home, then?

A: Yeah, but I'm private about it. I have weights and I do those when I'm alone in the house. And I keep making the weights heavier. I'm up to 10 pounds now. I can do the wrist roll 40 times, and that's probably one reason why my hands are pretty good. They're smooth, and I'm not loaded with spots or anything. Whenever I'm feeling less than full of energy, I get on the treadmill. If you don't watch your diet, all of the working out won't do you any good.

Q: How do you watch your diet?

A: For breakfast I'll have dry toast--and I'll try no butter, maybe a drop of margarine--and orange juice and tea. I used to have a lot of coffee, which I'm giving up. I'm getting into tea and I'm feeling much better. Lunch--spaghetti with tomato sauce, turkey burger or baked potato--I love baked potatoes--and a Diet Pepsi. I love plums and peaches and bananas. I try to do one banana a day. Minimum.

Q: What do you eat after lunch?

A: I get desperate around 3 o'clock, usually for something sweet. So I get a cream cheese-and-jelly sandwich, and I have it on raisin cinnamon bread. Sometimes I'll have radishes, the sharper the better. For dinner, I'll have broiled fish or chicken, no sauce, and a baked potato. Once or twice a month, I'll have a major steak and salad.

Q: What do you do about stress?

A: I need quiet. By the way, did you know that I paint? I do pastels. This is something very few people realize.

Q: Didn't you say at one time that you were going to quit doing the lists?

A: No, no, no, no, no, no. I made a statement once that if Streisand ever looked good all the time, three years in a row, I would quit the list. Somehow I'll never have to quit.

*

At lunch, I announced, "I need a make-over." They just looked at me--I must have put them on the spot.

Spence ventured first. "Maybe you should cut your hair, or a light perm for volume?"

"Maybe some makeup," Mr. Blackwell added gingerly.

"I just had my hair trimmed," I told them, "and spent an hour this morning putting on my makeup."

"What kind are you using?" Spence wanted to know. "Can you take it back?"

*

* Guest Workout runs Mondays in Health.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Mr. Blackwell Reviews Oscar Fashion

Tonight is the 70th Academy Awards ceremony. Mr. Blackwell has some "high candid" tips for the women vying for the best actress Oscar:

* Helena Bonham Carter, "The Wings of the Dove." She was so exquisite in "The Wings of the Dove." If only she can reproduce that lady in a '90s version period dress, she'd have a masterpiece. Her face could look like a romantic cameo. The problem is the cockatoo hairdo. The only solution is to slick it back and wear a chignon.

* Julie Christie, "Afterglow." What she'll probably wear is something sleek, trim, elegant, wonderfully understated. I implore her not to do anything too elaborate and keep the jewelry down. I would love John Galliano to do her dress.

* Judi Dench, "Mrs. Brown." She'll do something very stately and clever, like wear an accessory--a wonderful silk sash, maybe, with a great tartan bow--that will pay homage to Queen Victoria. She should wear major jewelry, a dynamic brooch holding the sash.

* Helen Hunt, "As Good as It Gets." I prefer to see her in pastels. There's someone beautiful waiting to escape from her inner self who I hope will come out this year. Try a dazzling Armani but only if the hair is created especially for that look and, please, practice how to walk in the dress. I always have the feeling someone shot her out of a cannon.

* Kate Winslet, "Titanic." This girl can be absolutely fabulous. All she has to do is reproduce that look from two years ago--an ice pink satin ball gown by Vivienne Westwood, which Winslet wore to the Oscars. The look was soft, gentle and feminine. However, at the 1997 Golden Globe awards it was a mess of a dress, a Victorian-looking bomb.

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