Oscar de la Renta Stands by His Angry Letter to Cathy Horyn, But Won't Ban Her From His Shows

Both parties weigh in on the open letter that shook New York Fashion Week.
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Dhani Mau
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Both parties weigh in on the open letter that shook New York Fashion Week.
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New York Fashion Week ended with a welcome gossip-y bang when Oscar de la Renta took out a full-page ad in WWD on Friday to publish an open letter to Cathy Horyn in response to her review of his spring 2013 collection.

Horyn called de la Renta "far more a hot dog than an éminence grise of American fashion," and in his open letter, de la Renta wrote, "If you have the right to call me a hot dog, why do I not have the right to call you a stale 3-day old hamburger? My advice to you is to abstain from personal criticism."

Both parties respond in this morning's WWD. Horyn gave the same comment she gave Fashionologie on Friday, that "The term was used in a professional context, as in someone showing off his tricks, like an athlete." And, “As for the ad, it seemed a bit over-the-top.”

The Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan also addressed the conflict. Horyn's editor Stuart Emmrich weighed in, saying, "I know that Cathy feels she actually gave Oscar a pretty good review," but, "Sometimes words take on different meanings for those who are being written about than the ones who are doing the writing."

De la Renta stands by his ad, and so do his supporters, it seems. He informed WWD that he'd receive numerous supportive phone calls, flowers and asserted that Twitter was overwhelmingly Team Oscar (how soon before we start making t-shirts?). "Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the people who read it read it the way I read it," he told the trade.

“I don’t care that Cathy gave me a bad review,” he continued. “Journalists — either you like it or you don’t like it, and you have to do your job as a professional. But you have to behave like a professional.”

He also adressed one part of Horyn's review not mentioned in his letter: Her comparison of his peplums with shorts to Raf Simons's Dior couture peplums with cigarette pants. De la Renta pointed out that he showed peplums with cigarette pants for Resort in May, before Simons.

As for whether De La Renta will ban Horyn from his shows, as he and several other designers--most notably Giorgio Armani--have done in the past, he says, "I’m not going to make it that important."

All in all, it sounds like the war between De la Renta and Horyn is far from over, but neither is going to lose very much sleep over it.

Whose side are you on?