tv Maria Bartiromos Wall Street FOX Business October 6, 2019 7:00am-7:30am EDT
beyond. catch a show live on 10:00 a.m. eastern and every weekday start, turn on weekdays from six to >> ♪ we're all so beautiful ♪ you're so sexy >> what not to wear... >> ♪ work it, work it >> ...and who wore it best? [ indistinct shouting ] >> hollywood's first fashion cop... >> i said she looks like prince valiant in a panty girdle. >> ...catches stars in his dragnet. >> the worst-dressed list caused more of a fury than anything that i can remember. >> now his heir wants success for the dress. >> you know what, harlan? let's let them get into their underwear. >> what?! >> what?! >> ...and have a look. >> ♪ work it [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
>> i'm jamie colby in l.a. because -- hello? -- where else would i go to bring you the story of a high-powered publicist who gets a surprise inheritance from the fashion designer who invented the best- and worst-dressed lists? >> my name is harlan boll. my friend and client mr. blackwell was a well-known designer to the stars of the silver screen. when he passed away, he left me with 100 dresses that he had created, but i think what he was really giving was one more assignment -- to keep the buzz going about him. >> harlan, i'm jamie. so great to see you, but i hope i did okay. for this particular episode, i was really careful about what i wore. >> oh, i'm no blackwell, but i'm sure wherever he is, i'm sure he's looking down saying, "she's gorgeous." >> yay! can we talk more about him? >> i would love to. >> inside, harlan shows me some of the dresses he inherited from the blackwell collection. my closet looks nothing like this closet.
>> [ laughs ] >> are these women wearing some of his designs? >> yes. you have jane russell here. jayne mansfield. >> and he looks so excited to be showing off. >> oh, yes. oh, he was very proud of everything, the stuff he created. >> alongside the dresses, more of harlan's strange inheritance -- mr. blackwell's infamous best- and worst-dressed lists. from the best dressed, names like audrey hepburn, kate middleton, and nicole kidman. but it's blackwell's dressing-downs that are truly classics. >> i'm a huge fan of the first list, when he chose judy garland. he said, "a brilliant talent, but apparently keeps all her fashionable clothes in that trunk she's always singing about." >> i actually remember this one. you had barbra streisand -- "a shoddy, secondhand rose looking for a tour guide in brooklyn." ouch. mr. blackwell knows from
brooklyn. he's born there -- richard selzer. in the late 1930s, he moves to hollywood, a teenager dreaming of stardom. for years, richard gets bit parts in "b" movies. then he meets eccentric millionaire producer howard hughes. hughes casts him in a minor role in his film "vendetta." richard ends up on the cutting-room floor, but along the way, hughes offers the kid some advice -- "change your last name from selzer to blackwell." "blackwell" stuck. >> "blackwell" stuck. >> the acting career, not so much. in 1949, richard meets robert spencer, a hairdresser to the stars. the two become friends -- and more. what was it like to be a gay man, let's say, in the '50s in hollywood? >> i can only say, from what he told me, he was very guarded.
>> the partners start a talent-management agency for cabaret singers. spencer does the performers' hair, while blackwell makes their gowns. unlike his acting roles, blackwell's clothes are a hit. >> what he discovered was that his dresses were getting better reviews than the performers. >> next thing you know, hollywood's leading ladies are starting to wear house of blackwell designs. >> he didn't have a style that he would put on everyone. it was very individual. >> actress and fashion model tippi hedren, best known for her role in alfred hitchcock's "the birds," remembers blackwell's early work. >> i liked the look that he gave the women. he would design for that particular person, which is very important. he endeavored to make every woman look marvelous and sure of themselves. >> femininity was the thing that
he really championed and believed in. >> lisa santandrea teaches fashion history at the parsons school of design in new york. >> he was not into the twiggy look. that was not feminine. that was stick figure. he liked a woman who looked like a woman. >> curves. >> curves, and he also had a plus-sized line. he recognized it was a really big audience, and the designers in new york and paris weren't doing that. >> you are a large-size zsa zsa gabor. the fashion creators and the fashion designers in this country have said fashion ends at a size 12. i don't believe so. >> his hollywood client list keeps growing. there's jayne mansfield in a blackwell dress, jane russell, and goldie hawn. i'd like to add one more name to that list. >> they were meant to be worn. they were meant to be shown off, and you have the body for it, so... >> say that again. >> you have the body for it. >> okay. got it? jamie colby off to try and be on
the "yes" list. ♪ >> okay, now that's the way blackwell wanted his dresses to look. >> really? oh my, gosh. it feels so exciting to wear it. >> this is perfect. look at this. >> can you believe this is my job? i'm getting paid today. >> that's beautiful. >> okay, one more. >> go get it. ♪ okay, i didn't think i could find anything better. >> this is a completely different look, but the color, the beading, the way it feels on -- it's spectacular. >> this is quintessential blackwell. but soon this would be quintessential blackwell. >> he was the first person to really call out bad fashion. >> the diva of disclosure needs an immediate fashion foreclosure. [ laughter ] >> that, and a hairy moment for an heir apparent. >> as we left, he pulled me in and said, "by the way, i noticed."
blackwell later called her fashion "dull, dowdy, and devastatingly dreary." >> it's 1960, and richard blackwell is designing dresses for some of hollywood's elite when a new opportunity comes his way. >> in 1960, american weekly magazine came to him and said, "we'd like you to do a best- and worst-dressed list." now, this had never been done before, and he said, "this is either gonna make me or break me." >> blackwell lists the 10 best-dressed women of the year, including joan crawford and grace kelly, but then he lets loose on the worst dressed. blackwell says shelley winters is "a rag doll brought to the circus and covered with pink cotton candy." and the voluptuous anita ekberg "provokes the idea that she dresses with a shoehorn." >> the worst-dressed list caused more of a fury in the
fashion business than anything that i can remember. everybody was talking about, "how dare he?" it was truly outrageous. >> who could say an unkind word about the gorgeous brigitte bardot? richard blackwell can. from the 1962 worst-dressed -- "a buxom milkmaid reminiscent of a cow wearing a girdle, and both have the same amount of acting talent." yikes! >> it was all over the world. and everyone was looking forward to reading it. he's just calling attention to what people already know. >> and to call more attention to himself, the former richard selzer once again tailors his name to fit his persona. he declares that his first name is now "mr." why the "mr." >> "mr." because it was very dramatic. he tried to create a character, so he said, "i'm gonna go all
out. i'm gonna own it." >> mr. blackwell begins to make regular guest appearances on tv and radio. >> my all-time favorite fashion designer, mr. blackwell. >> here he is on a daytime talk show hosted by a young joan rivers. >> now, what's wrong with this simple acetate dress? >> not a thing. it's a nice dress >> but? >> it's a lovely dress >> but? >> and i-i want to come back on your show. [ laughter ] >> for the next three decades, mr. blackwell's list blasts a-listers from zsa zsa gabor and meryl streep to cher and madonna. >> at number four, bo derek, a butterfly wearing her cocoon. >> there was a certain cattiness or bitterness or anger. did people think that's who he was? >> no, no, no. this was an image he created. he loved the attention and came up with anything that would enhance that attention. >> as an up-and-coming hollywood
publicist, harlan boll also knows that leading ladies love blackwell's scorn. >> they preferred to be on the worst list than the best list. >> why? >> because this meant a guaranteed worldwide press of their name. women vied to get on that list. >> it's in march 1994 when mr. blackwell first meets with the man who'll become his heir to discuss hiring harlan as his publicist. just one problem -- harlan finds himself in the middle of his own fashion emergency -- an unraveling hem. >> i freaked [chuckles] and i grabbed my stapler and i stapled my hem up on my pants so it wasn't on, you know, the ground. and we walked around, and as we left, he pulled me in and said, "by the way, i noticed." but i understand one of the reasons blackwell wanted to work with me is 'cause he said, "oh, the boy needs help." >> for the next 14 years, it's harlan who helps mr. blackwell,
not only take care of his public affairs, but his personal, as well. when his health begins to decline in 2004, harlan makes daily visits to see him in the hospital. in january 2008, blackwell pecks out his final best- and worst-dressed lists. jessica simpson and lindsay lohan place among what he calls "10 titans of taste-free terrors." but nearing death, something other than poorly attired starlets terrifies him. do you remember what he said to you? >> he was really afraid that everyone would forget him after he was gone. >> after nearly half a century of scathing fashion critiques, mr. blackwell dies at age 86. his estate goes to his partner, spencer... >> joan, look at that! >> ...while his spirit is carried on by another old friend. >> his legacy was ---
joan rivers took over after him. she was the natural heir to the fashion police. >> when joan rivers passed -- and she was known as the "fashion police"... >> oh, yeah. >> ...was there a recognition of blackwell being first? >> actually, very much so. someone had written that joan rivers was the creator of the best- and worst-dressed fashions list. and her daughter, melissa -- god bless her -- said, "no, no, no, no, no. mom would be the first to disagree. it was blackwell who started that list." >> but harlan can't close the blackwell file just yet. after spencer's death in 2014, the couple's executor calls. >> she said, "well, you're in the will." and i had no clue to this. then i found out that i had inherited all of his lists, his gowns, his artwork, his, uh, everything. >> that's some moment. >> that's when i realized, "okay, i'm probably gonna have some responsibilities beyond his death." >> so, what does a man do with more than 100 red-carpet-worthy dresses?
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carpet. >> number two is elizabeth taylor. >> the cattiness all started with brooklyn-born richard selzer, a.k.a. mr. blackwell, tinseltown's first fashion cop, originator of the best- and worst-dressed lists. [ cheers and applause ] >> in 2016, publicist harlan boll learns he's inherited all that made blackwell, blackwell -- his dress designs, his world-renowned lists, and all the rest. he also inherits more than 100 vintage blackwell gowns, going back to the 1960s. >> this was designed for paula abdul. >> oh, my. >> this was typical of his beading. he was famous for his -- >> so intricate. >> the beading down here below. >> now, what else was he known for? >> he was very famous for his nude illusion. he actually created the nude illusion. the first client he did that for was jayne mansfield. ♪ >> oh, that i adore! >> i'm fed up with see-through.
poor taste. see-through where there's the illusion of seeing is very elegant and very sexy. >> oh! >> what else? this looks very presidential, regal, first lady-ish. >> yep, you hit it on the nose. >> really? >> he designed for the first lady, nancy reagan, and he designed a series called the first lady series. this was something the average woman could afford and still feel like she was "in." >> for a year the dresses, designs, and top-10 lists sit in harlan's basement gathering dust while he tries to decide what to do with everything. what's all that stuff worth? >> i have no idea. i do check online and ebay, and i see where things have sold. and i see some of his gowns going for $4,000, $5,000. >> excuse me? >> yeah. >> if they are worth $4,000 or $5,000 a pop, the dresses could bring harlan a nice payday. but he say's he's not
interested. more important is the vow he made to his late client. >> he made me promise that i would keep his memory alive. he wanted to make sure no one forgot him. that was a big thing for him. >> so harlan reaches out to donelle dadigan, owner of the hollywood museum, just steps away from the walk of fame. oh, my. donelle, i'm jamie. look at this place. in february 2017, the museum opens a new exhibit dedicated to mr. blackwell, his fashion, and his biting wit. oh, my gosh. there are the lists. "lindsay lohan tragically trapped in fashion's fast lane. looks like lindsay's ready to remake 'baby jane.' from adorable to deplorable"? >> there you go. he was the man who came before all of the fashion police, and he started it all once upon a time in the 1960s. >> forget "once upon a time."
it's awards season, and blackwell's heir wants his dresses back where they belong -- on the red carpet! >> it fits you so beautifully. >> there's your emmy dress. >> it really is. >> here's my emmy dress. >> what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. as a struggling actor, i need all the breaks that i can get. at liberty butchemel... cut. liberty mu... line? cut. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. cut. liberty m... am i allowed to riff? what if i come out of the water? liberty biberty... cut. we'll dub it. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
"strange inheritance." [ dramatic music playing ] >> welcome to hollywood! you have arrived! >> it's 2017, and harlan boll is deciding what to do with the rest of his strange inheritance, bestowed on him by his old friend and client, fashion designer and critic richard blackwell. harlan decides that perhaps the best way to honor mr. blackwell is to get his designs back on the red carpet.
to that end, harlan has invited a few of his clients and friends over to do a little shopping from the blackwell vault for some upcoming red carpet events. we're joined by actress carolyn hennesy, best known for her roles on "general hospital" and hbo's "true blood," kate linder, a 35-year veteran on "the young and the restless." and there's dawn wells, recognized worldwide as mary ann on "gilligan's island." >> i like this. >> and last, but certainly not least, actress and friend of mr. blackwell, tippi hedren. >> that's wonderful. >> you know what, harlan? let's let them get into their underwear. >> what?! >> what?! >> ladies, are you ready? >> i've counted everything, so i know what's here, okay? >> have at it. >> all right. >> thank you. okay. >> this is very mary ann. i like that. >> okay. >> ladies, come. let me see what you've chosen. oh, my. our island princess has gone
luau. >> yes, she has. >> classic elegance. >> i love this. >> for the emmys. >> this is what i love about blackwell -- because he takes it right up to the edge. >> it's edgy. ba-da-boom. what do you think? >> i love those kinds of clothes. >> what about kate? >> looks so perfect. >> wow. love it. love it. >> i might do a little more with the earrings, though. >> right. >> a little more pizzazz on the earrings. >> i would have to vote for kate... >> of course. >> ...for getting it the most mr. blackwell. >> there's your emmy dress. >> it really is. >> here's my emmy dress. >> she's a winner anyway. >> thanks, jamie. >> so, it turns out mr. blackwell can still make stars look and feel like a million bucks. they need that more than ever to slip the ever-expanding dragnet of blackwell-inspired fashion police patrolling red carpets everywhere. >> was he more than a client? >> yeah. he was family. >> what'd you learn from him? >> how to face the world,
believe it or not, to put on a polite face. >> in the end, was he beloved by hollywood? feared? hated? >> he always said, "if you're taking this seriously, something's wrong with you." he was doing them a favor. every woman wanted to be on the worst-dressed list. >> any publicity is good publicity. >> exactly. spell the name right, and that's it. >> mr. blackwell could turn on his public persona as though flipping a switch. he learned the trick from actress joan crawford. he once caught her repeating into a mirror, "i am joan crawford, i am joan crawford." she explained, "i'm about to go out in public, and everyone is expecting to see joan crawford, so i must be joan crawford." blackwell adopted the ritual for himself. thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance." i'm jamie colby. i'm jamie colby. i'm jamie colby.
i am jamie colby. and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> announcer: a century-old amusement park that could be lost forever. >> we're dying on the vine down here. >> "our time is over." that's serious. >> announcer: a divided family on the verge of a painful split... >> no amusement park in the world has been owned by a family as long as this one. >> the family loyalties just tend to get disintegrated. it's just a pattern for disaster. >> announcer: ...and a reprieve from the governor. but will it be enough? >> it's the day after labor day. the amusement park's not open down there. my father is flipping in his grave right now. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]