Arts notes

Paris Hilton tops Mr. Blackwell's list

Los Angeles -- Mr. Blackwell, chronicler of clothing catastrophes, says socialite-reality TV star Paris Hilton committed the worst fashion follies of the past year.

Blackwell's list was released Jan. 13. The acid-tongued critic and former fashion designer has been ailing in recent years, preventing him from reading his 44th annual list aloud to the press.

But in an exclusive interview, Blackwell told AP Radio in Washington: "Paris came up shining with a big spotlight saying, 'Pick me!' She was just the most natural contender to make No. 1 this year."

Madonna and Britney Spears -- "kissin' cousins of couture crime" -- were tied for second place, followed by Shania Twain ("country-fried kitsch"), Diane Keaton, Jessica Simpson, Celine Dion ("half-sequined scarecrow, half-gaudy acrobat"), Missy Elliott, Melanie Griffith, Courtney Love ("torrid temptress of fashion") and Lara Flynn Boyle.

On the positive side, Blackwell praised Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Garner, Diane Lane, Salma Hayek, Oprah Winfrey, Katie Holmes, Tippi Hedren, Beyonce, Faith Hill, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Countess of Wessex, the former Sophie Rhys-Jones, as "Fabulous Fashion Independents for 2003."

Setting foundations

New York -- Foundation can be your best friend, evening skin tone, perfecting skin tone and creating a flawless canvas for other makeup. But if you choose the wrong shade or apply it sloppily, it can become your worst enemy, in the form of the dreaded two-tone "base line."

In its February issue, Cosmopolitan magazine offers the following pointers for picking the best base:

l Choose a yellow-based foundation whether your skin has pink or yellow undertones, Cosmo's beauty pros say. A yellow-based tint creates a warm complexion, so if you're deciding between hues, pick the more golden of the two.

l Take the colors for a "test drive." Apply three different shades to your face, then go outside and see how they look in natural light. Despite what the ladies at the cosmetic counter say, never test foundation on your hands because their shade and texture are different than your face's.

l Bring an old bottle of foundation with you when you shop to help you find a new hue that matches a shade that's worked in the past.

Simpson touts 'kissable' beauty

New York -- Singer and reality TV star Jessica Simpson can add beauty exec to her resume, partnering with D'Lish founder and president Randi Shinder to create a line of "lickable, kissable" beauty products, the company announced recently.

Dessert products will have both fragrance and flavor, and will be available in Sephora stores in April.

The products will come in three flavors -- Creamy, Dreamy and Juicy -- and will include "kissable" fragrance, whipped body cream, bath bubbles, lip plumping cream and powdered sugar body shimmer.

Exhibit chronicles women in fashion

New York -- The female couture designers who dominated Paris along with Coco Chanel between the first and second world wars are the subject of a new exhibit.

The work of Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and several others are examined in "Fashioning the Modern Woman: The Art of the Couturiere, 1919-1939," which will be on view Feb. 10 through April 10 at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

The exhibit includes clothes designed by Jeanne Lanvin, and body-worshipping evening gowns by Madeleine Vionnet as well as examples of Vionnet's rarely seen daywear.

In addition to fashion icons like Chanel and Schiaparelli, the exhibit includes couture designers whose fame has faded through the years.

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