Not a bad year for fashion victims

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Fame and fashion go hand-in-hand in the world of pop music. Most singers spare no time or money when dolling up to look as good as possible on the red carpet, on the stage or during any public outing.

When the making or breaking of a career can depend on the cover or a tabloid or the lens of a paparazzo, glamour is the focal point of most celebrities’ lives.

But sometimes, they get it wrong.

And that’s why Mot (Mode) magazine has been catching the unwittingly eccentric and spontaneously un-stylish with its annual “Worst Dressed” award since 2002.

Taking into account the clothes and make up the artists wear on stage and on the street throughout the year, dozens of journalists from Mot and other publications across Vietnam vote on which celebrity boasts the most appalling wardrobe.

But last year, voters couldn’t choose between the four nominees: actress-model Phi Thanh Van, model Vu Thu Phuong, and singers Thu Minh and Ho Quynh Huong. None received half of the journalists’ votes, a requirement to “win” the title.

Model-turned-actress Ngo Thanh Van's elegant and chic wardrobe helped her win "Most Stylistic"

Past winners

Singer Thu Minh has held the title four times, though this is a record that is more of a career stain than career-booster.

In 2008, Minh, singer My Le and MC Thanh Bach were announced as the nominees for the “Worst Dressed.” The artists reacted by organizing a press conference and in the presence of their lawyers and representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, they asked Mot magazine for an apology and threatened to take the publication to court.

My Le said she was shocked at the nomination because she had never been involved in a scandal related to the way she dressed. She also wondered what the criteria for the selection was.

Although representatives from the magazine explained that the three artists were just nominees, not the “losers,” the artists still called the nomination something to be ashamed of. But their fury has since faded without a lawsuit.

Vietnamese-American model-turned-singer Nathan Lee, a close friend of Thu Minh, said naming Minh as the worst dressed was “nonsense.”

He said that since the public couldn’t vote, only a small clique of insiders could, Lee discounted the awards.

Singer Dam Vinh Hung has also held the title three times, but he’s never complained and instead has gotten better and better reviews of his style and clothes each year.

Though critics have called him a show off for his expensive get ups, Hung was still named the “Most Trendsetting” artist of 2008.

Lee returned to his point that there was no way to judge such awards properly.

“There is no proof, no particular costumes voted on, and I do not know the criteria either. Honestly, Thu Minh has a good figure and her style suits it,” said Lee.

But the worst-dressed “honor” isn’t just about the stars’ aesthetic taste, according to Mot.

The magazine says the criteria for the “worst dressed” includes whether or not the artist was involved in scandals and whether or not the artist wore “suggestive” clothes out of line with cultural norms in Vietnam. The celebrities are also judged on their conduct in public and whether or not they appeared rude or polite at various events.

Best of the best

The magazine’s annual awards also honor celebrities for being the “Most Trendsetting”, “Most Stylistic”, “Most Impressive” and “Most Courteous.”

The 2009’s selection, on January 15, honored model-turned-singer Ho Ngoc Ha with both “Most Trendsetting” and “Most Impressive.” Ha received 75 percent and 60 percent of the votes cast by the journalists, respectively.

It was the third time Ha has taken the most trendsetting title. She has been lauded again and again as an artist whose eye-catching costumes bring out the best in her voluptuous figure.

Model-turned-actress Ngo Thanh Van’s elegant and chic wardrobe helped her win “Most Stylistic” with 87 percent of the votes. Male model and actor Binh Minh won “Most Courteous”.

Reported by Kim

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