You know how sometimes you get in those fights that are so old and obtuse that you can’t even remember what they were originally about? Well, that’s exactly the kind of thing in which Yves St. Laurent designer Hedi Slimane and New York Times fashion columnist Cathy Horyn are currently embroiled.
I guess something like eight years ago, Horyn wrote a review — not of Slimane’s show, but of designer Raf Simons’ work. In it, she claimed Slimane’s ascension would not have happened had it not been for the work of Simons. “Essentially I wrote that without Mr. Simons’s template of slim tailoring and street casting, there would not have been a Hedi Slimane,” explained Horyn in a 2012 blog post.
And that was it. Despite often lauding Slimane’s collections, Horyn’s notion that his work piggybacked off of Simons’ riled him so completely that he’s banned her from all Slimane-related shows since 2004. Instead of critiquing the clothes from the runway, Horyn was forced with making do with still images of the shows.
So what was her estimation of the latest Slimane for YSL show? Ha. Ha ha. “In terms of design, the clothes held considerably less value than a box of Saint Laurent labels,” she wrote in her final wrap up of Paris Fashion Week. “Without the label attached to them, Mr. Slimane’s grunge dresses wouldn’t attract interest — because they’re not special. But a box of labels is worth a million.”
And! She did that bitchy thing where she was like, “oh, I heard other people thought Slimane’s collection was shitty, too.” From her column on the collection: “Many people said the clothes looked like stuff sold at Topshop or a thrift store, while others defended Mr. Slimane’s approach and identified pieces, like a pink fur chubby, that relate back to Yves’s designs of the late ’60s and early ’70s, when he got ideas — say, for a pea coat — from the street. It’s doubtful that customers will make that connection, but such comments serve to validate what Mr. Slimane has done.” Now that’s how you give good backhanded compliment!
There’s no doubt that there’s always growing pains whenever a new face takes over an established brand — especially one as lauded as Saint Laurent. Slimane had big shoes to fill in the wake of Stefano Pilati’s departure. Slimane had the advantage of having had actually worked directly with Yves St. Laurent before his death in before his death in 2008. Under St. Laurent’s tutelage, Slimane oversaw the company’s menswear line. But that close affiliation may have also been why Slimane fought so hard to differentiate himself from St. Laurent when he took over the company in 2012. He immediately dropped the “Yves” and set about to shake up the brand’s classic image.
So while the jury’s still out on whether she and Slimane will ever quash their beef, we’re guessing Horyn’s not looking to get back on the YSL guest list any time soon…