The International Best Dressed List has officially landed at Grayon Carter’s Air Mail, and it’s natty as ever.
Open for public voting Saturday on Air Mail’s site, the 2019 selections mark the 79th edition of the list. Although it now has something of a confusing competitor in the technically new “best dressed” list in Vanity Fair, the guardians of the Lambert IBDL are pushing it as being of significantly more substance, in its own league.
“There is only one best-dressed list like this,” Amy Fine Collins, an author, journalist and editor at large of Air Mail, said. “It is the only original and authentic list of its kind and is an ongoing, permanent record of excellence in fashion.”
As the IBDL appeared for many years exclusively in the pages of Vanity Fair under the tenure of Carter and Collins (stopping after 2017 when Carter left the magazine after 25 years), it seems a prickly topic that the magazine is essentially carrying on with a list given to them as individuals by founder Eleanor Lambert to oversee its future publication. Lambert also gifted the list to Reinaldo Herrera (husband of Carolina Herrera) and Aimee Bell (a former VF editor now at Simon & Schuster), in addition to Carter and Collins.
But in its new, all-digital place at Air Mail, which Carter launched earlier this year with many former VF editors along for the ride, the IBDL has a more open and interactive spin. Readers can vote for the selections they think deserve the title of best dressed in a few different categories, and even write in up to five candidates that they feel should be considered.
“Because of social media, we are increasingly a visual culture, and the audience for this list is wider than ever before,” Collins noted.
Among this year’s contenders are the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, Elle Fanning, Lebron James, Harry Styles, Edward Enninful and, of course, Rihanna. With some finalists that most anyone could have guessed would be in consideration, it should be interesting to see if any write-ins make the cut when the final selections are announced Dec. 14.
Even with such efforts at making the list a tad more democaratic, Collins pointed to the substance of the original IBDL as a historical document and not just an arbitrary ranking of the attractive, famous and wealthy.
“It is a recognized index of where the culture has been, across the decades, and where it is heading,” Collins said of the IBDL. “Fashion is a significant lens through which to view the world, as it is, more than ever, a universal language, a global business, and a means of self-expression.”
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