Not every guy can dress like the dapper creative Don Draper, and not every woman can have their hips accentuated in a dress quite like Joan Harris. Of course, the characters on the AMC ’60s-era drama “Mad Men,” played by Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks have wardrobe stylists to get them camera ready.
If actors have help on the set to get it right, how come so many get it wrong on the Hollywood red carpets? When it happens, some fashion observers blame the stylists, but Steven Cojocaru, the celebrity critic known as Cojo, points at the stars.
“It amazes me that they get it so wrong when they have so much help,” he said. “They’re the ones who physically get into the dress. A lot of them are clueless. There are very few who get it, like J.Lo and Gwyneth Paltrow. Those girls love fashion and it shows.”
Cojo will be the celebrity guest at Wine Dine & Design, a fashion event to benefit The Walker Foundation, Monday at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The nonprofit foundation raises money for the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. Designers featured will include Leslie Davis of Azure Swimwear; Annabelle LaRoque of LaRoque; Molly Stevens of ellen&ollie, Sergio Hudson of Sergio Hudson, Inc.; and Lilly Pulitzer spring fashions from Pink Sorbet.
Cojo isn’t going to judge the garments, which means all are safe, unlike Emma Stone. Her red Giambattista Valli Oscar gown, with the bow on the side of her neck that looked like winter scarf, still has Cojo spitting venom. Actually, that goes for most of the clothes worn by Stone, the actress known for roles in “The Help” and “Superbad.”
“She looks like a little bird lost in the world,” Cojo said. “It looks like the clothes are wearing her.”
Cojo, 49, was raised in Montreal, Quebec. His mother was a seamstress.
“So I watched her take clothes apart and put them back together,” he said. “It was fascinating. It had such an impact on me, the power of glamour and fashion.”
He’s worked for several fashion magazines, most notably as People Magazine’s West Coast fashion editor. But his goal was always to be on TV. Cojo has appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “The Today Show” and the cable network E! He also consulted “American Idol” contestants for two seasons.
He’s usually giving tips to women, but he has some fitting — pun intended — advice for men. First, get a blazer and second, get rid of the baggy jeans.
“Either blue or navy,” Cojo said about the blazer. “You can cheat and wear a white T-shirt. I’m so tired of seeing dudes on the street with jeans that don’t fit. Very big, very MC Hammer.”
Looking good is about feeling good in your skin, Cojo said.
“It’s being yourself,” he said. “There’s a lot of, to me, very bland, homogenized TV personalities. I’ve always been told to, ‘butch-up, honey.’ I’m not going to butch-up. That’s impossible. I’ve always been told to change.
“You could be somebody with a real personality or point of view or you could be part of the wasteland bland.”
Have stars like, say, “Bridesmaids” Melissa McCarthy, who he mocked for her custom-made Marina Rinaldi Oscar gown that looked more appropriate for a desert princess, taken offense? Cojo said he’s never had an extremely bad reaction, but Christina Aguilera and the aforementioned Hendrix have had very intense reactions.
“I think I play by very fair rules. I talk about the dress,” he said. “I try and not to talk about the person. Sometimes that comes out. I’m very anti-Kardashian. I want them evacuated from the planet.”
“The red carpet doesn’t get old. Not to sound cheesy, but it has bit of magic to it,” he continued. “Plus it’s so absurd. I would retire if everyone dressed well.”
Events such as Wine Dine & Design are of particular interest to Cojo, who suffers from Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder of the kidneys. He was diagnosed with PKD in 2004 and has had two kidney transplants. One was rejected.
“That was a very humbling experience,” said Cojo, who will socialize with V.I.P. guests before the show. “It definitely touched something in me and I’m wanting to give something back. I had no idea it was going to be so fulfilling. I thought shopping was the ultimate fulfillment.”
He’s also working with bullied teens.
“It just matches the philanthropic chapter I’m heading towards,” he said. “I suffered in silence. Only I knew how bad it was. My heart goes out to these kids when it’s so public.”
Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.