Can we talk about birthdays? Today is comedienne-slash-fashion critic Joan Rivers' 78th birthday, and I have to take a moment to salute this American institution. As well known for her plastic surgery as for her comedy, Rivers has made a career out of lambasting celebrities and their clothes. Though I don't exactly idolize Joan, I certainly intend on being the kind of 78-year-old who uses the word "fuck" a lot, and flips people off on a daily basis. No matter how I've felt about her over the years, I've always been fascinated by her position as a fashion critic; while always well put-together, I feel like Joan Rivers has been dressing and accessorizing like a guest star on Dynasty for as long as I can remember. According to the biography on her website, Joan Rivers is:
"A pre-eminent connoisseur of fine art, antiques, and vintage jewelry, Joan keeps her finger on the pulse of all the latest trends and is widely considered America's most visible, accessible, and authoritative fashion spokesperson."
Joan Rivers has never been afraid to say what's on her mind, and it's gotten her kicked off a red carpet or two. (She favors the C-word, and loves a good vagina joke). The thing about Joan is that no one is safe from her humor, not even herself. Joan's best accessory--besides her oft-surgeried face--is her ability to make fun of herself, and I think that's why she has endured in comedy for so long.
Whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit that the woman has an impressive resume: Rivers received a 1985 Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Recording, she won a Daytime Emmy award in 1990 for Outstanding Talk Show Host, and in 1994 she was nominated for a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for Best Leading Actress (Sally Marr and Her Escorts). She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989 and had a long--albeit tumultuous--history with the King of Late Night TV, Johnny Carson. Joan has also created successful lines of jewelry, skin care, makeup and fragrance for QVC, and has authored half a dozen books in the comedy and self-help genres. But no matter how many Oscar gowns she pans, no matter how many red carpets she gets yanked off of because of an errant F-bomb, and no matter how many bejeweled brooches she sells on QVC, Joan will always be best known for using herself as a plastic surgery canvas. In the world of fashion, she is the anti-Tim Gunn: inelegant, crass, and obnoxious to the nth degree.
Happy birthday to you, Joan!
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