The fashion industry has a love-hate relationship with Cathy Horyn. By which we mean to say the fashion industry hates Cathy Horyn.
And maybe that’s because the longtime fashion critic for The New York Times is brash and fearless and does not give short shrift to the work of critiquing fashion collections. Her intelligent, eagle-eyed commentary has gotten her banned from runway presentations the world over, and her commentary on society and culture has been read as mean and elitist. But to hear her tell it, she’s mostly just misunderstood.
That’s what The Daily Beast‘s senior editor Jacob Bernstein discovered about Horyn while writing a recent profile of the critic. Horyn addressed everything from why she skewered Alexander Wang’s spring collection to what she thinks of “Project Runway.” But she started, as most people do these days, with Snooki. Her response to why people got so mad about her profile of the doyenne of “The Jersey Shore,” along with other explanations and musings, excerpted below.
On her underminey profile of Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi:
“I wanted to say to people ‘read the article,'” Horyn says. “I described her as a silhouette and an icon by virtue of her pouf and her body shape. I’ve acknowledged her and her impact. But am I going to be tough with her? Yeah. I don’t think people understood it, honestly, and I don’t know what they expected to read.”
On why she’s tough as nails:
“Amy [Spindler] (former fashion critic for the Times) and I shared the same Midwestern quality, which is that we want people to be better,” Horyn says. (Spindler died of cancer six years ago). “We have standards. We want people to be not just good but very good. And I can be tough on people, sometimes too tough, especially with the most creative. I once called one of Tom Ford‘s collections freakish and ugly.”
On that whole Christina Hendricks thing:
“She’s a lovely girl,” Horyn says. “I should have stepped back and explained what that person meant. It wasn’t about Christina’s figure. It’s about what looks best.”
On why she said Alexander Wang is not a great designer:
“With Alexander, he’s a smart kid, I admire the business that he’s built, but you have to be critical of what he’s done. You can’t just say ‘oh well, he’s young and he’s working hard, he’s putting a product on the runway.’ I found that show boring. I may not have found other shows boring, but I found that one boring.”
On “Project Runway”:
“I just don’t really have anything to say about it,” she says, with a shrug.
There’s plenty more where that came from, of course — we encourage you to read the rest of Bernstein’s profile here.
[Via The Daily Beast]