Thursday, February 01, 2007

Stilettos at dawn?

It looks like New York fashion week will get off to a sizzling start tomorrow with the makings of a feud between New York Times scribe Cathy Horyn and the Ice Queen herself, Anna "Nuclear" Wintour. In a Thursday Styles piece that is almost too juicy to be true, Horyn denounces the Vogue editor for excessive interference in the backroom dealings of the fashion industry.
Anna WintourCathy Horyn
Battle Royale: Anna Wintour (left) and Cathy Horyn

Choice excerpts include:
But many fashion insiders and critics feel that by promoting labels of dubious design merit but with an obvious social or power connection, like Georgina Chapman of Marchesa, whose companion is the producer Harvey Weinstein, she leaves herself open to the complaint that her magazine promotes a kind of a pedantry.
The people that Horyn quotes in a supposed defense of Wintour only manage to stick the knife in deeper. For instance, she claims that Wintour has petitioned François-Henri Pinault, the chief executive of PPR (which owns Gucci), to find a position for British designer Phoebe Philo, who left Chloé last year.
“She’s not too pushy,” Mr. Pinault said. “From my point of view, it’s a very positive way of demonstrating her power. She lets you know it’s not a problem if you can’t do something she wants. But she makes you understand that if you could, she would be very supportive with her magazine. She really makes you understand that.”
Horyn also refers to Wintour's famously icy personality (she was reportedly the role model for Meryl Streep's bitch-from-hell character in "The Devil Wears Prada").
Ms. Wintour, who declined to be interviewed for this article, is a woman of seemingly limitless energy and a famously short attention span, who prefers to have her threats delivered by a lieutenant. (“Do you want me to go to Anna with this?” is a typical line, according to fashion publicists.)
The Devil Wears PradaFront Row
Meryl Streep channels Wintour in "The Devil Wears Prada"; Jerry Oppenheimer's biography of the icy editrix

I interviewed Wintour during fashion week and the least I can say is that she is not warm and fuzzy. I went up to her before the Gaultier couture show to ask for a comment about Armani broadcasting his catwalk show on the Internet. Wintour proceeded to ignore me for a good minute while she continued talking with Grace Coddington, U.S. Vogue's creative director (who does not give interviews at all - ever). When she finally turned her gaze to me, she gave me a stare so withering it could have turned me to stone. But then she proceeded to answer my questions with perfect grace. So what can I say? I read Jerry Oppenheimer's poorly written biography of Wintour, and she remains an enigma to me. I am just wondering who will have the guts to go and ask her for a reaction to the Horyn piece first.

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