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Cathy Horyn vs. Hedi Slimane: Race To The Bottom

03 October 2012, 20.13 | Posted in Designer news, Editor News, Runway Show | 4 comments »

SlimaneLetter 540x361 Cathy Horyn vs. Hedi Slimane: Race To The Bottom

In a nutshell: NY Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn didn’t get invited to the Saint Laurent show held this week during Paris Fashion Week, subsequently she blew up the situation in her column, and then proceeded to blast the collection down to the ground. Apparently there is old beef between Horyn and newly-installed Saint Laurent designer, Hedi Sliman, so the lack of invite was not accidental. Slimane today responded with a Twitter letter (shown above) addressing Horyn. It reads:

Miss Horyn is a schoolyard bully and also a little bit of a stand-up comedian.
Insiders argue she is an average writer, and a bit provincial, but I disagree, she did some great things. Her biggest achievement so far is a book about Bill Blass, that I haven’t read. It might be terrific, and I’ll be happy to recommend it, if it helps the sales.
I also often hear that her sense of style is seriously challenged, providing that she is meant to be an authority in the village. This is totally irrelevant, no one has ever asked for her to be an inspiration to others after all, and likely it would never happen anyway.
Besides, and amusingly, her agenda is seriously thick and perfectly predictable. She is a woman on a mission, and this season she is on fire.
Miss Horyn also works for the New York Times, as everyone knows, where conflicts of interest might seem a little out of place and where being partial, or too friendly with the locals might not be an option.
In conclusion, and as far as I’m concerned, she will never get a seat at Saint Laurent, but might get 2 for 1 at Dior. She should rejoice. I don’t mind critics, but they have to come from a fashion critic, not a publicist in disguise. I am quite mesmerized she did get away with it for so many years.
And by the way come to visit our new website at ysl.com.
Sincerely yours.

And now Horyn has volleyed back, saying, “It’s just silly nonsense.” Well now that’s what you say! On the one hand I’m clapping my hands with glee as I plow through the popcorn, but on the other I’m thinking despite the old adage about any publicity, this is not a good look for either party.

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  1. I’ll admit this was pretty hilarious, but Hedi shouldn’t be making Horyn out to be a villain when his debut at Saint Laurent wasn’t anything to write home about. He definitely had a few nice pieces in there but it just isn’t what you’d want from YSL. Considering most of us were hoping to be blown away, it was a disappointment. IMO, if you’re going to blow off editors and make the ones you do invite sit two rows behind celebrities, your debut better be amazing.

  2. Everything you’re saying is true, but as a journalist I expect Horyn to be the adult, but the truth is while she’s an informed critic she has built her brand not on her technical analysis of fashion but her zingers and the resultant designer reaction so she was well aware what buttons were going to be pushed by airing the dirty laundry between her and Slimane. What makes it worse is that it’s pretty unlikely she would have written such a bad review had she been invited to the SL show.

    Yes, the show was a disappointment but most reviewers cut Slimane slack because he has credentials and everyone realizes it takes time to get in the swing of things. Case in point Tom Ford whose first two collection were totally just okay and yet he received a pretty major pass from the industry.

    As for editors receiving bad seating, agreed, bad form on the part of Slimane’s p.r. team. A lot of editors probably need to get over their self-important selves, but since they won’t he needs to suck it up and do a better job of handling press relationship.

  3. I absolutely agree with you about Horyn knowing what she was doing. Her writing can’t compete with a lot of the other seasoned editors covering the shows so she definitely uses ammo when someone gives it to her (and that’s exactly what Slimane did).

    His collection will hopefully get better with time but until then, I think he should probably stick to working and let the clothes speak for him.

    Thanks for responding BTW! It’s refreshing that you take the time to share your thoughts on comments.

  4. The Parisian Diary:

    When Slimane first did menswear at YSL, it stands for a fact that Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent never attended any of his shows. So please let us be spared the bullshit of him being appointed as heir apparent. That Mr. Slimane behaves at present as if he were some kind of autocrat, treating half the Fashion planet like rubbish speaks more of him than the infuriated crowd that decries him. After all, his handling of Press relations when he started up under his full name as Hedi Slimane Tortella at “José Levy à Paris” did not leave an indelible impression. If he’s struck with amnesia or embarrassed about that part of his résumé, there are still printed invitations available, stating his full identity as proof of his tenure then.
    If Cathy Horyn says she was not invited because she preferred Raf Simons’ men’s collection to his, it would have been the perfect opportunity (had he been intelligent enough to outwit her) to invite her with full honors and give proof of his ability at making beautiful clothes. Instead, he acted clumsily. It was not only arrogant of him to discard Horyn and the newspaper she represents, just for the kick of it, it was risky. Did he think for a second about the consequences his impulsive stance might inflict on the relationship between his employer, a major actor in the Luxury Industry, and the New York Times? Embarrassing, to say the least. This is a sign of lack of vision and gratuitous vindiction.
    Humility is the quality that precedes greatness. Hedi Slimane is obviously still at the very lowest part of the ladder in that respect. In the boondocks if anywhere at all.

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