Hedi Slimane versus Cathy Horyn: How their beef went from passive aggressive non-invites to a fully publicized snarkfest

Hedi Slimane Saint Laurent Vs Cathy Horyn
Photography by Peter Stigter
Hedi Slimane Saint Laurent Vs Cathy Horyn
Photography by Peter Stigter

The claws have come out in the battle of Hedi Slimane vs. Cathy Horyn. After making his guestlist, and checking it twice, Slimane chose to exclude The New York Times critic from his debut collection for Saint Laurent. WWD was quick to point out the fact that Cathy Horyn was missing from the show, and Horyn, who is known for being a bit of a loud mouth—she recently called Oscar De La Renta a hotdog—did not keep quiet about her exclusion from the show.

Horyn wrote her New York Times review based off the photos and cleared the air about her lack of attendance by saying, “I was not invited. Despite positive reviews of his early YSL and Dior collections, as well as a profile, Mr. Slimane objected bitterly to a review I wrote in 2004 — not about him but Raf Simons. Essentially I wrote that without Mr. Simons’s template of slim tailoring and street casting, there would not have been a Hedi Slimane — just as there would never have been a Raf Simons without Helmut Lang. Fashion develops a bit like a genetic line.”

She took a serious dig at his Spring 2013 collection, saying that “there wasn’t something new to learn here” and, admittedly, it would be far from the truth to say she was the only one who was skeptical of the showing.

However, just when we thought the word slinging would be over, Hedi Slimane took to his Twitter to post his own manifesto. He used a twitpic (yes, a twitpic) to call Cathy Horyn “a school yard bully and a little bit of a stand-up comedian.” He also commented on her sense of style saying it’s “seriously challenged” and disputed her title as a journalist calling her a “publicist in disguise.” Ouch. He then topped it all off by saying “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.” Double ouch.

For a designer who should be immune and accepting to criticism, Hedi Slimane’s very public attack at Cathy Horyn may not be the right foot to restart a fashion career on. However, he has made one thing certain: almost no one is talking about the clothes.

But wait, there’s more! For now it seems Cathy Horyn has the last word: WWD spoke to her about the twitpic manifesto and she replied, “It’s just silly nonsense to me.” Your move, Slimane.


Business Of Fashion: “Ultimately, this kind of behaviour is not only arrogant, it also reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how winning brands are built in today’s world. Successful brands aren’t defined by a set of rules conceived in the control tower of a company’s headquarters and broadcast to the world. They are ideas that live in conversation with the world. They can’t be dictated. They must be nurtured.” (Business Of Fashion)

Fashionista: “The tone of his open letter is a mixture between scathing, hilarious, sarcastic and incoherent. He headlines the letter in a New York Times-y font, “My Own Times” with the sub-head “Miss Cathy, Freedom of the Press.” (Fashionista)


Randi Bergman, online editor: “Isn’t it ironic that this longtime shunning of Cathy Horyn (previously by Armani, Oscar de la Renta and others) has continued through the very years that are supposed to be considered the most democratic in fashion’s history? A critic’s opinion arguably effects far less than it did 50 years ago and given all the gushy flattery (both warranted and unwarranted) that floats around the blogosphere, you’d think such an esteemed designer as Hedi Slimane would be confident enough in his recent position to let his products out to a front row which doesn’t just include friendly faces, but includes the tough critics as well.”

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