>> Cathy Horyn is known for her acerbic take on fashion — in her review of Alexander Wang's Spring 2011 collection, she set tongues wagging after pronouncing: "Mr. Wang is not a great designer, though he probably would be happy to accept any laurels that people want to toss him, but he is clearly a shrewd guy . . . The designs were cool, but they didn’t have to stand up to much scrutiny — hey, didn’t Marni do those pants last season? — so long as the stuff was widely and easily available. Mr. Wang doesn’t really have courage in the traditional sense of trying something new and difficult, but he does have China. Nearly all of his clothing is now produced there."
Horyn more recently spent time at Azzedine Alaia's boutique during Paris Fashion Week — Wang also happened to be there, although no word on whether there was any interaction — and she explained to The Daily Beast that her goal is to bring a critical eye to those admired uncritically: "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."
She's also critical of Fashion's Night Out: "I hope it doesn't go on. I don't want it to continue . . . You know, we're a nation of shoppers. That's how people spend their time, shopping online, shopping in stores, acquiring. And I feel like we perpetuate that with Fashion's Night Out. What are you really celebrating? Not art or great books. You're celebrating shopping."
Horyn sums up her critical approach as thus: "[I] want people to be better. [I] have standards. [I] 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."
For all of Horyn's words logged on designers, however, The Daily Beast had trouble getting anyone to speak about Horyn: "During Fashion Week, I went from show to show, and party to party, asking about Horyn. Almost everyone declined comment or claimed that they don't actually read her reviews." A few did speak, however. "I prefer to look at beautiful pictures in magazines like American Vogue and French Vogue by editors like Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld," Karl Lagerfeld said. "I don't think reviews really matter anymore," Carolina Herrera said. Donna Karan admitted, meanwhile, that getting swiped by Horyn "still hurts. You can agree or disagree with her, but it's definitely passionate. She's not neutered, let's put it that way."