ROCK BOTTOM: New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn wrote of the Nicole Miller show that she “was sure [she] had witnessed the absolute rock bottom of American fashion.” But an unusual correction in Friday’s New York Times, a month after the article ran, raised serious questions about what exactly it was Horyn had seen.
“After leaving Nicole Miller’s show,” she wrote in the Sept. 11 article, where “the PETA people were clawing at everyone,” Horyn reflected on the commercialization she saw at fashion week. She mocked the presentation of a vodka bottle during Miller’s show: “Folks, just a few short moments from our commercial sponsor!”
The trouble was, as Friday’s correction noted, a different group, unaffiliated with PETA, was the one vocally protesting, and they were there to excoriate Kimora Lee Simmons, not Miller. The vodka bottle, as expressly announced in the show, was designed for a charity auction; Miller does not have corporate sponsorship. But despite the paper having been alerted to these errors “the day the review appeared,” the correction was “delayed for additional reporting and research, and was further delayed because editors did not follow through on the complaint.”
Clearly a slap at Horyn’s editor, Trip Gabriel, who had been alerted to the errors by Miller’s business partner Bud Konheim, who also wrote to Horyn and Times public editor Barney Calame. (The actual animal rights organization, the NYC Animal Rights Group, also claims it wrote to Horyn.) Two days later, Konheim heard from the office of the public editor, promising a response from a Style editor. Then, a full week after the article appeared, Konheim said he received an e-mail from Gabriel saying he was working on a response to the main contention the clothes had been ignored, and, Konheim said, wondering if he was seeking a correction. Konheim responded that he was. But the subsequent deafening silence from the Times led Konheim to call his lawyers.
A letter sent on Oct. 6 by attorney David C. Berg demanded a “formal public apology” and “complete and public retraction…no later than Oct. 13, 2006” — the day the correction finally ran. Berg and Konheim said they had heard nothing from the Times until then and learned of the correction only by reading the paper.
This story first appeared in the October 16, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Horyn declined to comment, and Gabriel did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Times wrote in an e-mail, “We ran the correction as soon as it was fit to print.” As is all the news.
— Irin Carmon
SHOW ME THE MONEY: That’s what Susan J. Burych, who owns a boutique model and talent agency in Toronto, told IMG Models regarding model-of-the-moment Daria Werbowy. Under Burych’s guidance, the young Werbowy was introduced to the world of modeling and, eventually, to the big firms, like IMG. In 1998, Burych — who is known as Susan J — negotiated a deal and transition to IMG that stipulated that Burych’s agency would receive 10 percent of Werbowy’s commission for five years. Werbowy left IMG in 2001 for another agency but joined IMG again two years later.
Following the deal, Burych said IMG repeatedly refused to pay the commission and eventually sent her a check for $70. The paltry amount ignited Burych to fight even more to receive commission “and not back down,” she said. IMG recently agreed to settle with Burych after two court cases in Ontario, where the next step would have been going to trial. Burych said she is satisfied with the settlement. An IMG spokesman declined comment.
— Amy Wicks
PACK LIGHT: Time Inc. employees may be shaking in their boots about possible looming cuts, but at least one title at the company is expanding. Real Simple, which is profitable, is planning to roll out a fourth spin-off on travel next March. It follows Quality Matters, Family and this fall’s Food, each of which has thus far been a one-off effort, with the highly successful Family slated for an encore in 2007. “They reflect arenas where our consumers seem to have a lot of interest, but which we don’t necessarily have the opportunity to explore as much as we’d like in the main magazine,” said editorial director Jim Baker, whose staff to oversee brand extensions has grown to two editors, both of whom happen to have once served as his assistants at Glamour. What will Real Simple’s coverage of travel bring to an already packed field? The Real Simple aesthetic, said Baker, which “never loses a sense of fun, a sense of style and sort of a sense of transcendence.” Not to mention a sense of, well, simplicity. A book on entertaining will be out at the end of the month, and one on that oh-so-glamorous topic of cleaning is expected next year.
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?: Want to know where Best Life’s cover subjects get their look? Readers won’t have to search far beginning with the November issue, on newsstands Oct. 20, when editor Stephen Perrine begins placing fashion credits right on the cover of the magazine. “Why put a star on the cover in an amazing suit and then force the reader to hunt and peck to find out where that suit is from?” said Perrine. “Our men are highly successful, and they’re juggling tremendous responsibilities. It’s our job to make looking great easy for them.” Not to mention make advertisers even happier. For November, cover subject Matthew Fox is decked out in Ermenegildo Zegna.
— Stephanie D. Smith