RICHARD BLACKWELL (AKA MR. BLACKWELL of the annual worst dressed lists) died yesterday. He was 86.

Despite his outwardly bitchy acerbity, I had often heard that he was actually a very sweet guy. He said many times in public that he had mixed feelings about the wickedly droll remarks he made concerning celebrities. He never intended to hurt anyone and he genuinely admired many of those people.

He just didn’t like the way they dressed. His savage critiques were all about the wardrobes. He also had a best dressed list that got far less publicity.

Mr. Blackwell started his initial worst dressed list in 1960. People were outraged. But it brought him the attention he wanted. He became well known and wealthy because of it.

I actually didn’t agree with him that frequently. However, he was always entertaining.

Through the years he’s dissed individuals that I feel have incredible fashion sense – or, at the very least, stood out in a positive way due to their strong femininity: ANN MARGRET, ELIZABETH TAYLOR, BARBRA STREISAND, SOPHIA LOREN, JULIA ROBERTS, JOAN COLLINS, BRITNEY SPEARS, COURTNEY LOVE, RENEE ZELLWEGER, SHARON STONE, AMY WINEHOUSE, MARIAH CAREY, PRINCESS MARGARET, SARAH FERGUSON.

Personal style transcends time and glamour that’s of the moment. If it looks great on you (no matter what it is), then own it. If you know what you’re doing, being an individualist will get you far more street cred than going along with the crowd. Possessing sufficient knowledge about fashion means being able to discern that every trend that comes down the pike is definitely NOT right for you.

The trick is to figure out what works for you and capitalize on that.

I also find his inclusions of CHER and ALI MacGRAW on his worst dressed list absolutely mind boggling. ALI was a fashion stylist before she became an actor.

But he did have a great eye and he never held back.

Rest in peace, Mr. B…

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