Paris Hilton, the 22-year-old socialite whose unclothed exploits made headlines last year, found new, fully-dressed fame on Tuesday. The hotel heiress was named worst-dressed woman of 2003 by Hollywood's out self-appointed fashion guru Mr. Blackwell, topping a list that included singers Britney Spears, Madonna, Shania Twain, and Courtney Love. Hilton leapt from minor socialite to most-talked-about Internet celebrity late last year courtesy of a private videotape showing her having sex with one-time boyfriend Rick Salomon. The reality television program The Simple Life, in which Hilton and friend Nicole Richie swapped their lavish life for a rural farm in Arkansas, completed the transformation. "Grab the blinders, here comes Paris. From cyber disgrace to red carpet chills--she's the vapid Venus of Beverly Hills!" quipped Blackwell.
Second place on the closely followed annual list went to Madonna and Britney Spears, who Blackwell dubbed the "Kissin' Cousins of Couture Crimes" after their much publicized smooch on a music awards show last year. Country singer Shania Twain, in third place, was christened "Calamity Twain" for her "buckled bombs and country-fried kitsch," while in fourth place actress Diane Keaton's red carpet comeback, thanks to the comedy Something's Gotta Give, was derided as "dowdy, dumpy, and frumpy."
Blackwell, a one-time designer of gowns for Jayne Mansfield, Jane Russell, and Dorothy Lamour, conceded in a statement that despite the many fashion fiascoes of 2003, "unlike years past, coming up with 10 Titans of Fashion Terror was much harder than usual." Many of his perennial victims--Cher, Barbra Streisand, and various members of the British royal family--failed to make it to the list. As Blackwell noted, "If someone like (Britain's) Duchess of York (also known as Fergie) can look fit and fabulous, hope springs eternal for us all!"
The worst-dressed list was rounded out by pop star Jessica Simpson (fifth); singer Celine Dion (sixth), "a half-sequined scarecrow, half-gaudy acrobat"; rap star Missy Elliott (seventh); actress Melanie Griffith (eighth); singer Courtney Love (ninth); and actress Lara Flynn Boyle, who was derided for turning up at an awards show dressed as a ballerina. On the opposite end of Blackwell's sharp tongue were the "fabulous fashion independents" of 2003, led by actresses Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Garner, Diane Lane, Salma Hayek, and talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey.