One of the many reasons I first started a blog was because I wanted to have a platform to share my interests and passions with people who held them too. I was so pleased that there was finally a way for people, not already working in the fashion industry, to share their own opinions on things going on in the industry. So occasionally when controversy hits the fashion world or I feel that something could provoke a discussion I write about it. That includes everything from the never ending battle with body image, to John Galliano's dismissal from Dior, to the debate of manufacturing abroad. These posts I file under the label: fashion symposium.
Today, I want to respond to the amount of press that New York Times fashion critic, Cathy Horyn, has been getting in regards to her spring/summer 2013 collection reviews. There isn't a season where a designer doesn't get into a dispute with Miss Horyn. Her reviews have ruined her relationships with fashion houses and have even gotten her banned from shows. This season her reviews on both Oscar de la Renta's and Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent Paris collections hit hard in a major way. Oscar de la Renta published an open letter in WWD in which he bitterly responded to Horyn's review. Similarly, Hedi Slimane took to social media to express his rancor for Cathy Horyn. It got to the point where even Lady Gaga decided to stick her nose into the clash. The responses to her critiques have always kind of shocked me, especially this season. I, unlike most, appreciate Cathy Horyn and wish there were more journalists out there like her and here's why...
For decades being invited to a fashion show is something that has been seen as a privilege, an honor. Today, with more fashion publications than ever before, getting a seat at a show can be difficult for some. These fashion journalists and their respective publications will, for lack of better phrase, kiss some major ass to get into these shows. So you'll read their review and like all other reviews it will be loaded with praise, even if the collection wasn't actually that good. These reviews become predictable, boring and repetitive.
Unlike the rest, Cathy Horyn of the New York Times keeps it real. Yes, when she does critique a show some of her words may be a bit harsh. She is the Simon Cowell of the fashion industry- blunt, brutal and straight forward. On the other hand, I understand that producing a collection each season is a lot of tough work. These designers spend six months producing collections that will be seen, worn, photographed, and written about around the world. After all of the hard work involved getting a bad review must definitely be upsetting. However, I do believe that just because your brand is of high stature doesn't mean that you should be exempt from criticism. You can still make mistakes, learn from them and grow.
With all that said I'll ask you this: Without critiques how can we improve our work? Learn from our mistakes? Get an honest opinion? Would you really want someone to tell you that your collection was spectacular, when it was actually shit? I don't think so. So here's to you Cathy Horyn, a true critique and talented journalist. I thank you for always keeping it real. Cheers.