- Selma Blair made her first red carpet appearance at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party after revealing her MS diagnosis in October 2018.
- Blair took to the red carpet in a Ralph & Russo gown and a cane customized to match her outfit.
- In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Blair discusses her life-changing diagnosis and her dream of creating an accessible fashion line in the future.
After revealing her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis back in October 2018, Selma Blair was thrusted into the spotlight thanks to her unbridled honesty about the condition. She explained via Instagram, "I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy."
So stepping out on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party, Blair sent an important message to chronically ill and disabled people all over the world. And, no, it didn't include the word "inspiring."
Too often, disabled people are used as able-bodied inspiration, but in a new interview with Vanity Fair, Blair-who is known for her iconic roles in movies like Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde-debunks that idea. Instead, Blair sees "a need for honesty about being disabled from someone recognizable," which is why she walked the red carpet with a cane. A chic cane, no less, designed to coordinate with her truly stunning Ralph & Russo caped gown.
But when she's not preparing for the red carpet, Blair admits to Vanity Fair that "dressing is a shit show"-something that people with lifelong conditions know only too well. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis myself back in 2013, so Blair's statement that accessible fashion should "fit right and look cool" is my own brand of Holy Communion that I'm ready to eat right up.
Despite having the wild opportunity to write about fashion occasionally, I also-all too often-find myself wearing baggy t-shirts and leggings for ease. Any disabled person will tell you that when energy is a commodity as precious as Kardashian loyalty, fashion is sadly one of the things that gets sacrificed in day-to-day life. But Blair wants to change that.
As Vanity Fair reports, Blair's main complaint about being diagnosed with MS is "the lack of stylish clothing available to disabled people. It might sound frivolous, but to Blair, who has always used clothes as a form of self-expression, it is a matter of identity." And a form of self-expression for which chronically ill and disabled people are regularly an afterthought.
But Blair might have a solution that the world is most definitely ready for. "I would like to partner with someone like Christian Siriano on a line for everyone-not just people who necessarily need adaptive clothing, but for those who want comfort, too. It can still be chic. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style. Like, let’s get elastic waistbands to look a little bit better." And who better to make Blair's idea a reality than Christian Siriano, a designer who continually strives for inclusivity and body positivity?
Blair is currently starring in the Netflix series Another Life, and she's determined to use her platform to normalize disability and chronic illness. She's already doing that by using a cane as a mobility device, and she has ideas for improvement. As Blair hilariously reveals to Vanity Fair, "I bought an acrylic cane that was very Miami 1980-kind of fabulous and horrible. But the problem with an acrylic cane with MS is that you drop the fucker. If it’s acrylic, I’m like, 'Oh my God. My cane just shattered and it’s everywhere.'"
Importantly, Blair wants to end the unease anyone feels using mobility aids, or the prejudice that might result when interacting with a person using one. "You want to still be part of the living, not a shuffling person people get out of the way for because they're queasy," she explains, "A cane, I think, can be a great fashion accessory."
The Hellboy actress also understands that demystifying disability is a difficult process that's going to take time: "I really feel like people with disabilities are invisible to a lot of people. Because they’re uncomfortable, or don’t have the energy to dress up, don’t want to be seen."
But Blair is absolutely up for helping to change the way the world views disability, as she tells VF, "I’m happy, and if I can help anyone be more comfortable in their skin, it’s more than I’ve ever done before." And as a fellow person with MS, I'm grateful she's using her voice, and hoping to change the world of fashion.
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