A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 23, 2015
“Who are you wearing?” (fashion question)

American comedian and television host Joan Rivers (1933-2014) was known for her E! red carpet interviews of celebrities at awards programs, asking them, “Who are you wearing?” The question “Who are you wearing?” was first asked by Joan Rivers in 1995 and has been cited in print since at least 1996. Other red carpet interviewers have also asked the same question.

The question about who designed what star’s outfit became so standard that #AskHerMore was used on Twitter in 2015.


Wikipedia: Joan Rivers
Joan Alexandra Molinsky (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014), known as Joan Rivers, was an American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and television host noted for her often controversial comedic persona — where she was alternately self-deprecating or sharply acerbic, especially toward celebrities and politicians.
(...)
Rivers was also dubbed the “red carpet queen” for her comical interviews with celebrities before the Oscars, where she kidded stars about their clothing and jewelry.

Google Groups: alt.showbiz.gossip
E! Pre-Emmy Show--BO-O-OR-ING
jan...@mit.edu
9/9/96
I’m sure most of you had it tuned in (I channel-surfed it). Boy, was it dull. Joan with her “so who are you wearing” “I hope you win” and the vague “fabulous, it’s fabulous.” Couldn’t they get a competent host? And what was the hedge Melissa had to stand behind? How low is E! in the infotainment pecking order?

Film Scouts—Interviews
December 22, 1996
(exclusive to Film Scouts)
Actor-director Diane Keaton is an editor’s challenge. Unless you’ve spent the last twenty years in a cave, therefore have missed the early comedies she did with Woody Allen (particularly “Annie Hall"), you know what she says is more often than not conveyed by *how* she says it. To say she has a distinctive speech pattern is a masterpiece of understatement. Her mind goes so fast that she rarely bothers to finish a sentence, punctuating it - seasoning it, rather - with a bouquet of “wells”, “you knows,” “I means”, “uh-hunhs” and pauses perfectly timed for deadpan. In a way, she is as free-form as a piece of jazz. We hope the following interview reflects that. Sort of. A bit. I mean… Ah well. - HB.
(...)
FS: Excuse me - this is a great leather suit you’re wearing. Gotta ask: who are you wearing?
DK: Uh-hunh. This stuff is all plastic and it’s… Urban Outfitters.

Google News Archive
2 April 1998, Boca Raton (FL) News, “E! TV: All fashion, nearly all the time” by Ruth La Ferla (New York Times), pg. 3C, col. 2:
Throughout the two-hour telecast, Rivers persisted in greeting Helen Hunt, Peter Fonda, Shelley Winters, and a parade of Hollywood dignitaries with unvarying effusive variations on “Darling, WHO are you wearing? You look divine!”

Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 28: Episode 12 (February 6, 1999)
98l: Gwyneth Paltrow / Barenaked Ladies
E! Impeachment Coverage

Todd Newton.....Jimmy Fallon
Melissa Rivers.....Cheri Oteri
Chief Justice William Rehnquist.....Will Ferrell
Sen. Trent Lott.....Darrell Hammond
Sharon Stone......Gwyneth Paltrow
Sharon Stone’s husband.....Colin Quinn
Rep. Bob Barr.....Chris Parnell
Andy Dick.....Chris Kattan
Betty Currie.....Tim Meadows
Todd Newton: Here we are at one of the sexiest, hottest events in the country: the impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton. I’m Todd Newton.

Melissa Rivers: And I’m Melissa Rivers.

Todd Newton: This has been so cool, Melissa! We’ve been camped out here since ... since 4 o’clock this morning to talk to all the stars of the trial as they make their way down the red carpet.

Melissa Rivers: And, Todd, I’ve been pretty cold out here in just my Pamela Dennis gown and this Harry Winston choker; borrowed, of course!

Todd Newton: (laughs) Awesome! Wow! Here comes Chief Justice William Rehnquist! Bill, over here!

Melissa Rivers: Oh, come talk to E! E!

(Enter Chief Justice Rehnquist)

Chief Justice Rehnquist: Good morning!

Todd Newton: Bill is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He’s presiding over the impeachment trial.

Melissa Rivers: Yes, but you might also know him from Abortion! Right? Now, Bill, you look amazing! Who are you wearing?

Chief Justice Rehnquist: Actually, I designed this myself. I copied it from a “Gilbert and Sullivan” operetta I saw.

Google News Archive
19 March 1999, Boca Raton (FL) News, “Oscar night fashions are almost as important as films” by Linda Deutsch, pg. 14E, col. 2:
LOS ANGELES (AP)—It will be the moment she’s been waiting for all her life.
(...)
“My dear, WHO are you wearing?” the interviewers will ask as she wends her way down the red carpet in the glare of TV lights.

Google News Archive
22 March 2000, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “Dressing the ladies: Designers spend lots of time, money making sure stars appear on Oscar night in their creations” by Francine Parnes (AP), pg. D9, col. 1:
Hilary! Juliane! Annette!

WHO are you wearing?!

Google Books
Crashing Hollywood:
How to keep your integrity up, your clothes on & still make it in Hollywood

By Fran Harris
Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions
2003
Pg. 104:
All wannabes long for the day when they get to walk down that red carpet and be asked The question. Who are you wearing? l mean, if you’re a devout Joan Rivers clone, you probably think that what you’re wearing is the most important thing in your life. lt isn’t.

Urban Dictionary
who are you wearing?
Asked at award ceremonies (Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmy’s Etc) by over-zealous reporters to celebrities about what brand name of clothing they are wearing. This is important because all of the middle class likes to know how the rich and famous dress.
(...)
by mAgik bUs April 06, 2006

OCLC WorldCat record
“Who Are You Wearing?” Using the Red Carpet Question Pedagogically
Author: Jon D Carlson Affiliation: University of California
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: International Studies Perspectives, v10 n2 (May 2009): 198-215
Database: Wiley Online Library
Summary:
This paper presents an active learning module design and implementation strategy for use in an undergraduate course on globalization, world politics, international political economy, or international relations. Students are first asked to conduct research on their wardrobe and its origins by country, allowing for classroom discussion of research methods and designs.

OCLC WorldCat record
WHO ARE YOU WEARING?: Shannon Nestor of Covington & Burling LLP argues that a comprehensive copyright amendment would head off inconclusive litigation in the fashion industry
Publisher: London : Intellectual Property Pub., c1988-
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Copyright world. no. 199, (2010): 10-12
Database: ArticleFirst

The New Yorker
FEBRUARY 28, 2011
Who Are You Wearing?
BY JUDITH THURMAN
Oscar fashion-judging is a ruthless sport: a thumbs-up, thumbs-down, bead-and-circus gladiatorial event.

E-Online
NEWS/ How Joan Rivers Changed the Red Carpet Interview Forever With One Simple Question: Watch Her Best Moments!
by NATALIE FINN Thu., Sep. 4, 2014 2:09 PM PDT
Nary a female celebrity walks the red carpet these days without hearing that one seemingly simple question: “Who are you wearing?”

But it wasn’t always like that.

Joan Rivers, usually working in tandem with beloved daughter Melissa Rivers, changed the landscape of the award show interview forever when she started inquiring of each shining star who walked the carpet which designer had made her gown, be it fabulous or fugly. (The designation of which category the star’s dress fell under would, of course, come later.)

CBS News
February 20, 2015, 11:45 AM
A Hollywood history of “Who are you wearing?”
(...)
Comedian Amy Poehler was so fed up with hearing “Who are you wearing?” that she teamed up with The Representation Project to promote their online campaign to #AskHerMore. Poehler’s Smart Girls Community sent a tweet eliciting questions that focused more on an actress’s talent than her taste in clothing.
(...)
It wasn’t until 1995 that someone finally thought to ask the inevitable question: “Who are you wearing?”

“Joan changed it all,” Snegaroff said."The four little words: ‘Who are you wearing?’ and that changed everything. But what she really brought was honest conversation to the carpet.”

Joan Rivers’ honesty suddenly turned the celebrities into targets.

Examiner.com
February 23, 2015 9:55 PM MST
Oscars 2015: The Sound of Glory...
By Maria Pia Ugarte
So, Oscar night came and went with all its glitz and glamour. The worldwide display of talent and beauty—with the traditional unending thanks by those lucky to win—was full of the usual red carpet ‘Who are you wearing?’ moments. The now famous phrase was coined by the late comedic legend Joan Rivers, whose wit and unapologetic humor has been missed during this red carpet season. Amazingly enough, Joan Rivers would not be mentioned during the ‘In Memoriam’ part of the program introduced by Meryl Streep and serenaded by Jennifer Hudson. Intended or not, this mishap is certainly unforgivable!

(Trademark)
Word Mark WHO ARE YOU WEARING?
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Cases for mobile phones
IC 021. US 002 013 023 029 030 033 040 050. G & S: Mugs
IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, namely, dresses, blouses, sweaters, pants, wraps, tops, skirts, shorts, jackets and scarves; shoes; tank tops; yoga pants; leggings; jackets; boxer shorts; panties; socks; aprons; hats; caps; visors; headbands; wristbands; scarves; gloves
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 86480914
Filing Date December 15, 2014
Current Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Owner (APPLICANT) JMC IP Holdings, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY CALIFORNIA c/o Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno 10960 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Floor Los Angeles CALIFORNIA 90024
Attorney of Record Tamara F. Carmichael
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Monday, February 23, 2015 • Permalink