Alexander Fury: Handbags at dawn: fashion’s ban-fans aren’t praiseworthy

Wear, what, why, when?

When did it become okay for fashion designers to talk back? Let me refine that statement: when did it become okay for fashion designers to start slanging matches with critics that have the temerity to take them to task over their collections?

First it was Hedi Slimane, who last October took to Twitter (where else?) to vent his fury at Cathy Horyn, the fashion critic of The New York Times. Anticipating criticism, he’d already banned her from his debut Saint Laurent show, but Horyn decided to voice her opinion anyway. Next, Oscar de la Renta turned on Horyn in WWD via a full-page ad, in which he retorted to her dubbing him a “hot dog” by calling her a “three-day-old hamburger”. They’ve since made up, although her spat with Slimane is ongoing.

French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier is the latest to retort, using Twitter to vent his frustration at critic Tim Blanks. Just weeks after Blanks was awarded CFDA’s Eugenia Sheppard Media Award in recognition of his work as a fashion journalist (Horyn received it in 2002), Gaultier fumed that “rather than be bored” at his shows Blanks “can use that time to do something else, for example brush up on your fashion history”.

You can understand both sides of the argument: a critic must be free to, well, criticise and Blanks certainly wasn’t the only journalist to take Gaultier to task.

But a designer has poured love and time into creating his or her show; having it torn apart mere hours later must be difficult, especially if you have one iota of doubt about what you’ve done.

So I understand why designers ban. After all, if someone came to your party and was snarky about the canapés, you probably wouldn’t invite them back. Yves Saint Laurent barred press entirely from his couture presentation in July 1971 after his January collection was dubbed “a tour de force of bad taste”. I was once banned by an Italian-based designer with the retort that  I could “go and have a pizza” while the show was staged.

What I’m not a fan of, however, is the public nature of these dismissals. It discourages critical debate if anything short of hyperbole is viewed as a slap in the face. W. Somerset Maugham once said: “People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.” I wonder if he was at a fashion show when he thought up that aphorism.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

    Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

    £32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam