I Miss Joan Rivers—and Her Glamorous Style—on the Oscars Red Carpet

Throughout the early 2000s, the Oscars red carpet was just as much of a style spectacle as it is today—yet it felt even more theatrical,  thanks to the live fashion commentary of late comedian Joan Rivers on the E! network. Dissecting the A-list stars are they arrived—and what designs they were sporting—Rivers and her daughter, Melissa, brought candid (and often unfiltered) thoughts to our television screens. “Who are you wearing?,” Rivers would scream out to them, in her signature no-fuss delivery.

Much has been said about Rivers’s Oscars interviewing technique over the years, of course. Many have found the star’s fixation on fashion to be vapid—even igniting the #AskHerMore movement in 2015, which encouraged red carpet hosts to pose more critical questions to women about their film roles, and less inquiries about what they were wearing. But to me, Rivers’s style questions have always been for the fashion fans; She treated what stars wore seriously, wanting to know the inspirations behind a garment, and why they were attracted to it. Fashion is form of self-expression—is it really vapid to ask celebrities about their clothes when they’ve spent so much time deliberating and choosing what to wear? It’s art!

But I digress. I also miss Rivers’s completely-unfiltered interviews. Yes, sometimes they were problematic; She once asked Julia Roberts, “do you diet?” and also asked Nicole Kidman, “Do you ever think people don’t respect you because you’re pretty?” I don’t miss her exact line of questioning, but I do miss her willingness to think outside of the box, and get unexpected moments with celebrities outside of the same canned five questions reporters recycle. Plus, she was a comedian: it’s was her job to provoke.

Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers

Photo: Getty Images

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