Never start a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel, so the saying goes. That advice appears to have been ignored by a designer at the legendary fashion label Yves Saint Laurent, who has hit back at the press after his debut collection was given less than favourable reviews this week.
The trouble began to unfold after designer Hedi Slimane's debut womenswear collection was unveiled at Paris Fashion Week on Monday. Assembled journalists were angry at their treatment at the hands of the label, and did not take kindly to a set of strict instructions handed out to them about how to refer to the Paris fashion house after a rebranding exercise ahead of the collection's debut.
Mr Slimane then put noses even further out of joint by seating key editors in the second row or giving them standing tickets at the event. "Ultimately, this kind of behaviour is not only arrogant, it also reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how brands are built in today's world," wrote Imran Ahmed, the editor-in-chief of the influential online fashion magazine The Business of Fashion. One of the most scathing reviews was written by The New York Times fashion critic, Cathy Horyn. She wrote that she had been denied an invite for the show because Mr Slimane had objected to a piece she had written in 2004 about another designer, whom she suggested may have been an influence on Mr Slimane.
She also had some critical words for the collection itself. After reviewing images of the collection online, Ms Horyn described Mr Slimane's clothes as lacking "a new fashion spirit". Her piece appeared to be one bad review too much for Mr Slimane, who penned his own retort and posted a link on Twitter.
In it, Mr Slimane calls Ms Horyn a "schoolyard bully" and "an average writer". "Her sense of style is seriously challenged, providing that she is meant to be an authority," read the open letter. "As far as I'm concerned, Ms Horyn will never get a seat at Saint Laurent, but [she] might get 2 for 1 at Dior."