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March 20, 2008

Fug Madness 2008: Bjork, Round One

Per usual, voting closes after about 24 hours; contestants should be judged on whose fug crimes are deemed most severe, based on a whole host of criteria and not merely the photo we've provided. After all, assessing a career's worth of fug is like opening a bag of potato chips: You can't eat just one.


Mrs. Kat(i)e Holmes Cruise has been a fascinating makeover story in the past 12 months, which I guess is what the national spotlight and a massively enhanced clothing budget will do to a girl -- not to mention the friendship of one Posh Spice, which we hope is partly responsible for the disappearance of this disaster. She's evolved into the Queen of Fug or Fab, often taking chances that we can't quite decide if we love or hate -- or if it's some combination of the two. For instance, here, I'll take the bob but leave the dress. Or, love the bob AGAIN, but think the purse is big enough to fit her husband.

Or, love the bob YET AGAIN, but hate how this dress and her posture make it look like she had her arms lopped off and replaced with those of Yao Ming. The controversial toga, I rather enjoyed on her, but the sling, not so much. And then there's her husband, but that's enough for a whole other essay.

Renee Zellweger's candidacy, on the other hand, can be summed up almost entirely by one image:

Okay, so this green Oscar sheath wasn't my favorite, but seriously, that is some really bad hair. REALLY bad. Nay, cataclysmically bad, because it seems like she's working to maintain it. She's also sporting wretched makeup and a tragic pasta problem, in that she's clearly not eating enough of it. Please, Renee, restyle yourself immediately. If not for us, then for the children.

Both of these women have completed Tom Cruise at one point or another. The question now is, which one is caught in a more consuming cycle of fug?


Our two-seed, obviously, is practically able to ditch her last name and coast on just "Gwen" until the end of time -- and is almost Bjorkian in her efforts to wear things that are completely insane yet almost, almost, look normal just because she's established such a reliably odd pattern.

Not many people would wear a sequined romper over a tie and shirt. Fergie wishes she were this naturally daft. Often, though, it feels like Gwen is dressing for shock value rather than a consistent style. Consider this demented ode to an obi, perhaps, or her animal-print hot pants with hair that looks like a snack food, and let's not forget this dowdy Puritanical smock. It's so all over the place that she often looks like she's parodying herself. (There's ever so much more; those links are just a sample.) We appreciate that she's always trying, but sometimes we wish the effort weren't so visible, like a giant sweat-stain slowly seeping through her entire wardrobe.

Conversely, poor ol' duck-lipped -- of her own making, so I don't feel bad about saying it -- Brittany Murphy used to be more benignly nutty, like with this super-tiny skirt or trussed-up, blonded, and bronzed to within an inch of her life. Or wearing a dress made out of sweatshirt material.

Wrapping a jersey bedsheet around your bra and securing it with a velvet ribbon... well, it's a very Top Chef-style "You can only use three ingredients to make an outfit" approach to a gown. She looks happy, but then, so would anyone who could get naked and make a bed on the spot at the merest sight of George Clooney. But then Brittany sort of disappeared for a while, only to resurface at Fashion Week looking like a sexagenarian aviatrix turned bingo champion. With mouth issues. Seriously, what has she done to herself? Did she really need that?

So, as with a lot of these contests, it's a stalwart vs. an upstart -- an impressively fugly body of work against a few recent, but very terrible, mistakes.


These two used to be, and maybe still are, the best of pals -- and allegedly sucked face not too long ago in a heated moment of sapphic desperation (well, one can only assume Elisha was desperate; there is no other good reason to gay it up with creepy Paris, unless it turns out her mouth is made of bacon).

Elisha is a really pretty girl who, when she's not choking herself in taffeta, manages to dowdify -- is that a word? Well, it is now -- her good looks with either oversized men's clothes and feet-eating pants or the most drab outfits you can imagine.

It's very zzzzzzzz.... ack, sorry. It's hard to stay awake with this one.And I don't even KNOW what's on her feet, but they look like she shoved her toes into the shoebox itself, still brimming with tissue paper.

Paris, on the other hand, fancies herself a... well, she just fancies herself, period. Rather than erring on the side of drab, as with her fellow tongue-swordsman up there, Paris often goes extremely costumey. Or, you know, accessorizes with a fake monk, although who among us hasn't made THAT mistake at least once? And let's not forget her tendency to DEMAND that you remember who she is, via dresses or shirts or just showing you as much of what she's got as possible. That is, when she isn't going overboard looking as formal as possible.

But even that looks like a nickel trying to pass itself off as a silver dollar. For someone dripping with that many jewels, she looks awfully inexpensive in that bubblegum bodystocking. And do I detect a junior-level polterwang under there? Or are those just incredibly structured granny panties?

This one boils down to dowdy vs. rowdy; you make the call.


Frankly, we're totally sick of how often Ali Larter wears white. Or strapless sheaths. She also frequently looks incredibly dated (scroll past the wonder of Bai Ling and you'll see). And did I mention the thing about how she likes white?

She also apparently likes disco and looking like you could use her chest as a cutting board. How very Rachel Zoe of her! Plus, we hear from reliable sources -- one of which is our own ears -- that she often acts like a vicious hosebeast, which doesn't help her cause.

Kim Stewart, on the other hand, might well be the nicest person on the planet. I mean, it's possible. Anything is. But she came off so pathetic and fame-needy back in the days when she would dress like Paris, pose like Paris, and try to glom onto Paris's career -- remember when they were inseparable for about a month while trying to convince the people at E! that Kimberly could replace Nicole Richie on The Simple Life, and then how Paris dumped her willowy behind like a hot plate of carbs when her bosses clearly didn't agree? Sad. It's like she can't find her own identity -- she's either trying to chase Paris or trying to ape Posh, or perhaps some sort of weird Lohan-Olsen hybrid. See? Here she is doing it again. And, because it's a requirement in Young Hollywood today, she also seems really excited about flirting with pelvic danger:

A crotch covered in nylon doesn't automatically become invisible, Kimberly, so be careful out there. And especially avoid waving your hands in the air like you just don't care, because I promise you, the next morning when you see the pictures you'll care a lot.

So which is it? The boring maybe-beeyotch on a hit series, who should know better, or the daughter of rock royalty who has no identity of her own?

Posted by H & J at 10:02 AM in Fug Madness | Permalink


I'll admit it - I voted for Gwen because I think she does fugly on purpose, which, I feel, reigns far more supreme than does Brittany "but I think it's cute!" Murphy. If you're gonna go fug, do it with unwavering committment.

Posted by: Lorraine Bates | Mar 20, 2008 10:08:26 AM

I feel the exact opposite of Lorraine-Gwen is so cute, but Brittany just makes me think WTF?

Posted by: Lullaby | Mar 20, 2008 10:13:16 AM

Yay comments! (I just had to say it again.)

Maybe I should be embarrassed, but I actually like the dresses in Kat(i)e's pictures. All but the sling, anyway (was that designed by Rami Kashou, hater of the left boob?). So, Zellweger is a hands down winner.

I also voted for Brittany Murphy on the strength of her duck lips alone. Yikes. Plus, Gwen seems to manage to get away with her fugalicious wardrobe. I don't know why.

The big question raised by the Larter vs. Stewart match-up is: is Aubrey O'Day copying Kim Stewart's headband, or the other way around? Either way, those headbands HAVE GOT TO GO. I'm sure Diddy would agree with me wholeheartedly.

Posted by: Kristin | Mar 20, 2008 10:13:17 AM

I could not agree with Lorraine's comment more. OWN the fug, embrace it. These people have to look in a mirror before they leave the house. If you are going to FUG go all the way.

Posted by: Christa | Mar 20, 2008 10:13:17 AM

Zellweger over Holmes: Toughest call of the day so far, but that hair IS pretty dire.

Stefani over Murphy: I've never gotten Stefani's "style" and think she usually dresses like a clown. Kind of surprising to me that Murphy's doing so "well" here, actually.

Hilton over Cuthbert: Is there even any question?

Stewart over Larter: Larter's problem is mostly that she's boring (her clothes, anyway -- she may be a scintillating conversationalist) so Paris II takes it.

Posted by: Kate | Mar 20, 2008 10:14:35 AM

I voted for Elisha because Paris is cute sometimes and looks like she has a lot of fun. She's fake, but she has FUN being fake. Elisha Cuthbert looks dead half the time.

Posted by: Allegra | Mar 20, 2008 10:17:12 AM

I just have one thing to say regarding Gwen Stefani's fug: tiny army of Japanese girls. Anyone who accessorizes with human beings has taken fug to a whole new level.

Posted by: Tray | Mar 20, 2008 10:17:41 AM

This is so great! These were not too hard to pick. I think that Paris Hilton is going to go a long way. She is pretty crazy. I can't wait to vote more!

Posted by: Erin | Mar 20, 2008 10:19:59 AM

I finally realized why Renee's haircut is so offensive: because she stole it from Chad Michael Murray's Season 4 Lucas Scott. I think she might actually be trying to become him. It didn't work then, and it certainly doesn't work now. Although now that I think about it , there ARE parallels between Luke and Renee. Both have creepy control-freak older men in their lives (her Svengali manager, his father Dan); both had ill-fated relationships with gay aliens end in heartbreak (Kenny Chesney revealing he was a gay alien, Lindsey leaving him at the altar); a medical condition that prohibits them from doing what they love to the best of their ability (severe camera squint-eye, severe camera squint-eye and HCM). None of this is by way of saying the hair is acceptable. It's not. But I feel like I understand her a little more now.

Posted by: J.M. | Mar 20, 2008 10:20:08 AM

Voted for Brittany, because, I feel like when Gwen does it, you can still say "Well, she's got such a pretty face!" and with Brittany, that's not really true anymore.
Also, I'd take dowdy/frumpy over ANYTHING Paris wears any day!

Posted by: Gbs | Mar 20, 2008 10:23:03 AM

all my picks are winning, I am so deep in the Fug! you almost had me with the first hose-beast account of La Larter, but damn if Kimberly's fug doesn't smack the white down. also, I must see a Paris and Kimberly match-up...

Posted by: Madeline | Mar 20, 2008 10:23:41 AM

Please don't vote for "she who should be ignored" (i.e. a certain hotel in France), as she doesn't need any more free publicity. Just make her go away.

Posted by: B | Mar 20, 2008 10:27:58 AM

I voted for Paris but I kinda felt guilty about doing it because I don't want Paris to win anything, even a contest regarding who is the most fug.

Posted by: Louise | Mar 20, 2008 10:28:01 AM

Gwen can't fug, simply because her name is Gwen Stefani. Anyone who would wear her outfits would be a total fugger, because the name is not attached to it!

Posted by: Joey | Mar 20, 2008 10:28:29 AM

this round's essentially GIMMIES, but that doesn't stop the intense schaudenfreude-yness! ❤❤

Posted by: dv8trix | Mar 20, 2008 10:28:36 AM

okay, i voted renee without much of an effort...however i have to say that your post about the toga is about the most comically perfect thing ever. made me laugh out loud all over again. I get a perfect visual of Tom that i cant help but chuckle. thank you i needed the laugh.

Posted by: Kelli | Mar 20, 2008 10:29:14 AM

Tray- Actually, accessorizing with a fake sherpa/yogi is the whole new level you are referring to. They are the new Harajuku girls.
Still, Paris/Gwen are so insane in their embrace of the fug, I can't hate on them for it.
Kristen- regarding the headband, word on the street is that's why Diddy "Did He or Didn't He?" did in Tupac. It was the bandana-headbands he wore. Too much fug. Word.

Posted by: Gretchen | Mar 20, 2008 10:33:56 AM

You know, as unequivocally vile as the loathsome succubus who is the fart in a mitten is, I actually like her fashion sense. I'll be voting against Paris throughout, I suspect.

Posted by: Mertseger | Mar 20, 2008 10:34:48 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if Paris swept the tournament despite her seed position.

Posted by: RD | Mar 20, 2008 10:37:57 AM

Renee Zellweger is just fug, period. So no contest there.

That last picture of Brittany Murphy sealed the deal. No doubt. Pun intended.

How can you NOT vote polterwang? (And, fug ladies - "junior"? I think not.)

I picked Ali Larter based upon the white obsession. And the fact that she wore a t-shirt material dress with cutouts, in 2007.

Posted by: Elizabeth | Mar 20, 2008 10:38:47 AM

Score! All my fugs are winning so far. If only my NCAA brackets work out this well, I'll be a happy chica.

Posted by: Martha | Mar 20, 2008 10:40:41 AM

On an unrelated note, I'm not sure anyone but Bjork can compete with Courtney Peldon, whose seeding was WILDLY unfair.

Posted by: Elizabeth | Mar 20, 2008 10:41:06 AM

Gwen Stefani all the way. It's like she knew back when her career started that someday Fug Madness would come and she wanted to get an early start. Sure it's not accidental Fug, but it's major league fug from start to finish.

Also, Katie Holmes, please stop trying to look like some kind of turn of the century mammy ragdoll? KTNXBAI.

Posted by: Amy | Mar 20, 2008 10:45:22 AM

the first thing i noticed about renee zellweger wasn't her hair - it was her face. maybe more foundation? something?

Posted by: njtx71 | Mar 20, 2008 10:45:23 AM

I couldn't vote for Gwen because she rocks the fug so well and so thoroughly that it becomes something else. Because she owns that madness so completely, there's none of the embarrassing vulnerability that is essential to the spirit of fug.

Posted by: marlys | Mar 20, 2008 10:45:42 AM

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