Joan Rivers: The Fashion Maven We Never Knew

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Today, on what would have been her 83rd birthday, we look back at some great moments of her long (and always entertaining) career.

The fashion world never counted Joan Rivers as a serious fashion critic or a major style maven.

But the comedienne did the fashion world a huge favour with her talk show E! Fashion Police and her bullet-riddled reportage of the fashions on the red carpet at the Oscars and the Golden Globes.

She was one of the first commentators to really unleash red carpet scrutiny on television. She was the one to first ask the question that millions really wanted the answer to: “What are you wearing?”

She introduced designer names and brands to the masses sitting at home who couldn’t tell a Pucci from a Gucci.

Now, red carpet coverage before any major award show is a show unto itself with audience numbers to rival the main event. The chaotic parade on the carpet has reached such a fevered pitch, you could say it’s jumped the shark. It’s not enough to breathlessly showcase the stars’ gowns and jewels, now, there is a mani-cam to breathlessly detail the stars’ manicures, too.

All those beauty, fashion and accessories companies should thank Joan for opening the floodgates on the public’s delirious interest in the red carpet.

But, unlike the usual pandering that comes with dealing with celebrities, Joan called it like she saw it, which might not have endeared her to the fashion world. But her audience lapped up her searing, razor-sharp commentary on what passes for celebrity style.

She took the stuffiness out of the sometimes humourless fashion world and made it entertaining.

As for her own personal style—it was not unlike her personality and comedic chops: brash, brazen, and bold.

Everything she wore seemed big and outsized. Her jewels were colourful and extra large. Her hair—big and blown out. The sunglasses were always oversized. And her clothes were always glamourous and colourful.

It was obvious that she loved fashion and believed in making herself look and feel good. Even if that meant going under the knife to fight the ravages of aging.

She once said, “Does fashion matter? Always—though not quite as much after death.”

Perhaps. But, wherever she is right now, we can’t help but feel she is dressed for the occasion.




January 1987


May 2005


 October 2008

July 2009

April 2010

May 2010

  May 2010

November 2010

March 2014

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July 2014

   July 2014