While I am very, very happy that fashion month is over, there are still a few stories that merit looking back and commenting on. One of the bigger dramas was most definitely the Cathy Horyn vs. Hedi Slimane story, which not only highlights YSL‘s poor public relations and social media strategy, but also the fact that Hedi Slimane is a megalomaniac.
First of all, let’s recap on the show. It sucked. So Slimane must be feeling pretty shitty that his first show was quite poorly received. Apparently he seated a lot of journalists in the back row, while all of his indie-rocker friends were sat front row (that’s just stupid and bad manners) and on top of that, the collection was rubbish (read my review.) Then came the Cathy Horyn drama, and I’ll start with this lovely summary of events written by Fashionista (they’ve summed it up better than I could have. Although most of you have been following what’s been going on, so this summary really is just here for readers like my Mom.)
“This feud reportedly goes back to a 2004 review by the critic in which she stated (innocently enough) that Raf Simons had more or less pioneered the skinny tailoring style which Slimane mastered and commercialized. When Horyn was not invited to the much-hyped Saint Laurent show, she did what she does best: She wrote about it. Well, Slimane was having none of it, and posted an open letter to his Twitter account, calling Horyn a “schoolyard bully” and “a publicist in disguise.” Yikes. Horyn, who it should be noted is not the only critic to take issue with Slimane’s new (and very tight) reign over YSL, called the whole thing ‘silly nonsense.’ (Searching for Style note: read Business of Fashion’s story about how their editor didn’t get invited to the show, and the rudeness he has experienced from the YSL PR’s.) If you thought Slimane was going to let bygones be bygones, well, you were wrong. He took to Twitter again to decry what he called Horyn’s ‘tired biased tune.’” (from Fashionista’s funny “The 10 Biggest Stories That Rocked Fashion Month” feature)
This whole thing should not have happened, and I’d like to offer five pieces of advice to Hedi Slimane (and hopefully he is reading. I know I am somewhere on their radar since they asked me to remove images a while back, because of an “unfavourable” review.”
1. Don’t hold grudges, especially for stupid things. While Horyn may have identified Raf Simons as the pioneer of the skinny suit, she also credited Slimane as the one who mastered it. So that’s sort of a compliment, I mean, you aren’t famous for making something, you are famous for making something famous. That’s not worth holding a grudge over. And by the way, the skinny suit existed long before either of them put it on the catwalk, fashion is cyclical, and nearly everything we see has already been done in some form.
2. Teach your PR’s to be a bit nicer. The BoF article, Horyn’s lack of a show invite, and the fact that indie rockers were sat front row at the show are all indicators that the YSL PR team are both unprofessional and childish. I am surprised PPR, YSL’s owners, are allowing this. I presume they will humour you, Hedi Slimane, for a few seasons, as they can’t be seen to disown you just yet, but if you keep producing this kind of crap, you won’t be around for long.
3. Learn how to take criticism. With dignity. Cathy Horyn is known for her well-respected reviews, but she isn’t going to make or break a brand. So she writes a crappy review. Big deal. Live with it, and don’t take to twitter like a moron and call her things she isn’t (“a schoolyard bully”) because you are only going to look like a fool.
4. Design better collections. Please. We all love YSL and don’t want the brand to be ruined by egotistical indie-rocker designers. And by the way, indie rock is WAY out of fashion. Move on.
5. Even if you aren’t going to take my design advice, at least don’t make a mockery of the brand by selling overpriced crap. Like this RIDICULOUS $2,000 hooded sweatshirt. Haris from Fashion We Like (an awesome blog!) sent me the link and we are both flabbergasted that this product actually exists on their website. It is sad.
Maybe this whole scenario is nothing but sad. Because YSL is at great risk of losing its status if Hedi Slimane continues his megalomaniac antics. No one can deny that Yves Saint Laurent was one of the great designers of the 20th century, and I’m depressed at the thought of this brand turning into the playground for Hedi Slimane’s silly tweets and overpriced sportswear. I found out yesterday that Hedi Slimane deleted all his tweets on the subject, but does not make this whole thing go away (although it suggests he may need some anger management courses.) You can’t delete things on the internet. I think we can safely say that Yves Saint Laurent is turning over in his grave.
Hedi Slimane portrait source.