- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2007


Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa — and their question, “Who are you wearing?” — helped turn the red carpet at the Oscars into the biggest fashion runway in the world.

We can be glad that in the 11 years they have done their fashion commentaries at the Oscars, first on E! and now on the TV Guide Channel, there has never been a year when everyone looked her best. If all the stars were picture perfect all the time, they say, their two-hour fashion review the next-day wouldn’t be nearly as dishy.

Joan Rivers says she particularly enjoys when a star plucks something straight from the runway, especially a high-concept couture runway, and then tries to pull it off on the red carpet.

That’s what Celine Dion did with her backward suit by John Galliano in 1999, and “she looked like a fool,” Miss Rivers says.

Melissa says she’s hoping for a similar misstep today.

Her mother is taking fewer chances: “We’re bribing stylists now,” she says.

More of the Rivers’ rules of the red carpet:

AP: What makes a winning Oscar look?

Joan: There are two kinds. What Cate Blanchett or Charlize Theron wears. The gorgeous and the amazing.

I think the other winning look is to look as insane as possible — something that Cher would wear, something that gets you on Page 1.

Melissa: I think it’s sad it doesn’t happen anymore.

AP: Why doesn’t it happen?

Joan: Pre-us, 11 years ago, people would go into a store called Giorgio’s and buy their dress. Sometimes it was the wrong shape; sometimes it would look bad, and it was so much fun. Now everyone looks so pulled together. It’s because of the stylists.

AP: Does knowing the photos will last a lifetime also contribute to safe fashion choices?

Melissa: Yes. If you win, it’s the picture they’ll run with your obituary. … Sometimes what looks good in person looks bad in pictures, and sometimes what looks good on camera looks bad in person.

Joan: Nicole Kidman wore a gold flapper dress — maybe it was to the Oscars. It was just gorgeous. But on camera, you saw the netting, and it looked wrong. My suggestion is to have someone take a picture so you’ll know what it looks like on camera.

AP: What should older women, such as Judi Dench or Helen Mirren, wear?

Melissa: You want to see them look modern, not in something they bought 20 years ago, but also something age-appropriate.

Joan: It’s tough because everyone is so young, so taut and thin. It’s hard to say, “This is the year I’m going to have to wear sleeves.” And it’s hard to find a designer to go along with it.

AP: Do you have an all-time favorite star on the red carpet?

Joan: I used to adore Sharon Stone when she was in that moment of taking a Gap T-shirt and putting it with a Vera Wang or Valentino skirt. She had no fear, but she looked sensational.

Melissa: I’d probably have to go with that. But you do forget how beautiful Winona Ryder used to look when she’d wear vintage. She brought back vintage single-handedly.

Q: So, who are you wearing [today]?

Joan: I’m wearing Bill Blass. His last show was so sensational, at the end he had 30 little black dresses — it was fabulous.

Melissa: I think I’m wearing Pamela Dennis, but I’m not sure.

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