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Fashion Notes

A Real Dressing-Down

Mr. Blackwell's annual list of fashion victims dogs the togs of 'a Hogwarts horror' and 'a Swan Lake mistake.'


Though he's recovering from throat surgery, Mr. Blackwell mustered his energy--and usual caustic wit--to release his 42nd annual "Best and Worst Dressed Women" list. The 76-year-old designer and critic almost put the list aside after the tragedies in September, he said in a news release, "but after some thought, I felt some traditions (however frivolous) should continue."

Though his best-dressed list is weighted with women who earned fashion accolades for their red-carpet style, including Julia Roberts, Joan Allen, Renee Zellweger, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz, he also included TV talking heads Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Oprah Winfrey and star soprano Renee Fleming.

As for the worst dressed, well, let's allow Mr. Blackwell to tell it:

10. Gillian Anderson: "A grunge plunge resembling an escape from a Bohemian barbecue."

9. Cameron Diaz: "Chaos in high heels, period!"

8. Camilla Parker Bowles: "Packs the stylistic punch of a dilapidated Yorkshire pudding!"

7. Kate Hudson: "Looks like a cyclone victim from the OK Corral."

6. Princess Stephanie: "Her wardrobe has the allure of nuclear waste. Sorry, no taste!"

5. Bjork: "A Swan Lake mistake. A pretentious fashion folly in a nightmare by Salvador Dali!"

4. Destiny's Child: "A trilogy of taste-free terror hitting a crescendo of off-pitch kitsch. Three peas in a peek-a-boo pod!"

3. Juliette Binoche: "A haute couture catastrophe. Let's just dub her 'La Gauche Binoche' and leave it at that!"

2. Britney Spears: "What's left to say? Britney's belly-baring bombs are a wacky tacky display."

1. Anne Robinson: "Fashion's weakest link. Looks like Harry Potter in drag, a Hogwarts horror."

When the fashion industry gathers in New York next month to preview the 2002 fall collections, they will find a considerably smaller affair than usual. The downsizing reflects concerns following the spring presentations in September, which were canceled midweek because of the terrorist attacks.

When buyers and journalists convene Feb. 8, they'll see a New York season split between two small tents in Bryant Park and three new venues in SoHo, a subway ride south. The Bryant Park location at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue has housed up to four tents in past years, while galleries, showrooms and hotel ballrooms have been pressed into service to accommodate the overflow. The two Bryant Park tents will be smaller than before, seating about 700 and 424 people, down from about 800 seats for the largest tents in the past.

"The decision to change the venues in the park stemmed from discussions we've had with designers after Sept. 11," said Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth, the producer of fashion week. "Sept. 11 has changed everyone's attitude, creating a new sensibility amongst the industry and a climate which has affected everyone's bottom line. Our industry, like most, has become more introspective, and a smaller, more intimate atmosphere was the general consensus," she said in a statement.

Jeremy Scott, the American designer who recently relocated from Paris to Los Angeles, will make his New York debut next month, as will British designer Matthew Williamson.

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