The fashion press has pissed off YSL yet again.
Keeping up this year’s trend of open letters between fashion’s power players, YSL CEO Paul Deneve wrote a not-so-favorable one to WWD, which the trade published today. Oh and he threw in a little dig to Cathy Horyn as well.
Deneve essentially scolds WWD for last week’s “Paris Match,” a two-page article by Miles Socha which drew out the Raf Simons/Hedi Slimane rivalry, saying he was “disappointed not to see this one take its usual neutral stance.”
He points to three issues he has with the article.
First, for “only quoting three editors, one of them admittedly partial (Cathy Horyn: “a cheerleader” for Raf Simons, the article says)” and summarizing the critical response to Slimane’s collection as “comparatively tepid” and for not reflecting the “highly positive praise” from international press.
Second, for focusing so much on this Hedi Vs. Raf duel and not on other Paris talents. He writes,
I regret that the best-known and oldest trade journal in the fashion industry should reduce the collective talent of all designers showing in Paris to a so-called duel between two fashion houses and two men.
His third and final point seems to be that WWD did not give enough credit to Slimane and the YSL team for the work they put into the collection:
Hedi’s choice to join YSL was motivated by a very clear vision for the house, which means round-the-clock work for him and all my teams to turn that vision into a reality for all to see and enjoy. It is also for them that I am writing, and to point out that the changes under way at Yves Saint Laurent will bring new excitement and change to the fashion industry at large.
So was Deneve right to find Socha’s article unfair?
Like Slimane’s and Simons’ collections, that’s open to interpretation and criticism.
Admittedly, we found it a little odd that WWD chose to draw out the Hedi vs. Raf “duel” more than a month after Paris Fashion Week, when WWD and other publications covered it extensively before and after.
Socha’s article may have been a little unnecessary; but, at the same time, seemed to present all the facts. Slimane’s reviews weren’t all bad, but tepid compared to Simons’s; Socha did actually acknowledge, on the article’s second page, the “dazzling collections” of other designers like Dries Van Noten and Karl Lagerfeld; and never declared a clear winner, noting that Slimane’s collection was met with an overwhelmingly positive response from buyers, while Dior did not discuss retail reaction with the trade at all. WWD even made a chart. Doesn’t really get more neutral than a chart.
Perhaps Deneve’s letter was not simply a response to this specific article, but to months of “Hedi vs. Raf” chatter and “Paris Match” was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So was Deneve’s letter fair or an overreaction?