Mr. Blackwell, whose first name was Richard, was a little-known dress designer when he issued his first tongue-in-cheek criticism of Hollywood fashion disasters for 1960 – long before Joan Rivers and others turned such ridicule into a daily affair. He was the creator of the "Ten Worst Dressed Women List", an annual awards presentation he unveiled in January of each year. He published the "Fabulous Fashion Independents" list and an annual Academy Awards fashion review, both of which receive somewhat less media attention. Prior to his Worst Dressed list, Blackwell designer dresses sold for between $800 to $1,000 and were very successful. During the nearly two decade existence of the "House of Blackwell", he was designer to Yvonne De Carlo, Jayne Mansfield, Dorothy Lamour, and Jane Russell. During the 1980s, the emerging drift toward casual wear brought an end to The House of Blackwell. As he pivoted as a fashion critic, overtime Mr. Blackwell's somewhat mean spirited list began to wear thin. His take on Wynonna Judd ("She looks like Hulk Hogan in sequins"), on Martha Stewart ("Dresses like the centerfold for Farmers' Almanac") and the Dixie Chicks ("They look like a trio of truck stop fashion tragedies/ trapped in a typhoon") was losing it's audience appeal over time. Despite the waning audience he continued up until his death at age 86.