The Daily Beast recently published a very candid profile of Cathy Horyn, The New York Times’notoriously tough fashion critic, and a look at what her peers in fashion think of her work. But she’s hardly the only journalist to make the fashion industry choke on an acerbic comment or two. Here’s a cheat sheet to the broadsheet world’s most infamous voices.
The Washington Post
Where to read her writing: The Arts & Living section
Her backstory: Givhan worked for the Detroit Free Press and San Francisco Chronicle before moving to The Washington Post, where she is now fashion editor. She left the Post briefly in the late 1990s to work for Vogue as an associate editor before returning to the newspaper. Perhaps most impressively, she’s the first and only fashion journalist to have received a Pulitzer Prize.
Her trademark: Although she’s one of the industry’s most admired writers, Givhan writes about fashion as an outsider, which makes her work compelling to just about everyone. Unlike many critics, her articles aren’t bogged down with fashion insider references that only a small percentage of people can actually understand.
Where to read her: The Fashion section
Her backstory: Alexander worked in PR before becoming a junior reporter at the Daily Telegraph and working her way up to her current role as fashion director over the course of her 22 years at the paper. She’s also made a slew of television appearances including three years on BBC2’s Style Challenge. She has twice picked up the British Fashion Journalist of the Year award.
Her trademark: Candid commentary that is more upbeat than wry. Alexander writes with a sense of authority. But, with the exception of a mild complaint about a show starting too late, she rarely outright pans a person’s look or designer’s collection the way her peers do. (That might explain why she’s so universally loved among England’s fashion tribes.)
The International Herald Tribune
Where to read her: The Style section
Her backstory: Suzy reported on fashion for The Times of London before joining The International Herald Tribune in 1988. She’s also one of fashion’s most decorated writers: Former French President Jacques Chirac declared her a chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur, and the Queen of England named her an officer of the Order of the British Empire. Fashion lore often paints her and Cathy Horyn as rivals.
Her trademark: Like her signature hairdo, a retro pompadour, Menkes has a knack for putting current trends in historical context. Her writing often includes little mini lessons in fashion history.
The New York Times
Where to read her: The Style section and her blog, On the Runway
Her backstory: Before her fashion critic post at The Gray Lady, Horyn covered the fashion world for The Washington Post and The Detroit News. The CFDA awarded her with the Eugenia Sheppard Award for fashion journalism in 2002.
Her trademark: Brutal honesty. Horyn writes the things that fashion insiders think, but are afraid to go on record about.