iconic critic cathy horyn calls for more divisive fashion journalism

The writer reminds us that 'good journalism is generally contentious.'

by Isabelle Hellyer
10 November 2016, 2:54pm

Cathy Horyn has spoken on her career and contemporary fashion criticism at a recent Fashionista conference. The famously honest journalist reflected on her first-ever job at a newspaper; a fashion writing position which she secured as there was no experience required.

After some time in the role, The Washington Post noticed her work, and, after keeping her on its radar for nearly seven years, finally hired her in 1990. She attributed her honest, critical voice to this background in newspapers, explaining "the newspaper world didn't have a great affection for PR people. You weren't supposed to toe the line with those houses at all; you were supposed to speak your mind and be independent."

"If a company pulls their ads, you usually don't even hear about it," she continued. "It goes through the publisher, and they might tell you at some point but you might never know." Today, as more and more publications wheel back (or entirely pull) their print editions in favor of a focus on digital, Cathy's remarks are especially interesting. As the panel concluded, Cathy reminded us "Good journalism is generally contentious. Criticism is, too"

Horyn was, quite famously, the target of a scathing open letter penned by Hedi Slimane after she gave his debut Saint Laurent show a lukewarm review. Slimane had banned her from the show — though she was notably present for Anthony Vaccarello's debut for the house four years later. 


Text Isabelle Hellyer

cathy horyn
fashion writing