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Strange but True: Spring’s Most Bizarre Moments

The spring shows were marked by a significant flare-up of bizarre moments.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/19/2012

It could have been something in the air. Perhaps the morning coffee was too strong. Or maybe the general stress of the shows—the pushing, the shoving, the many sweatboxlike venues—made everyone cranky (and hungry).

Whatever the reason, the spring shows were marked by a significant flare-up of bizarre moments. Here, five of the season’s wackier incidents.

 

1. Food Fight

Hot dog, hamburger, potato, potahtoh. Cathy Horyn and Oscar de la Renta were embroiled in a good old-fashioned feud this season. It all started when the New York Times critic wrote in her review that “Mr. de la Renta is far more a hot dog than an éminence grise of American fashion.”

 

That did not go down well with the designer. In a full-page ad in WWD with an open letter to Horyn, he retorted,“If you have the right to call me a hot dog, why do I not have the right to call you a stale three-day-old hamburger?” Then Lady Gaga chimed in, supporting de la Renta, which in turn prompted Horyn beau Art Ortenberg to pen his own open letter in WWD. “Grow up, Gaga,” he stated. Gaga later dissed Horyn and Ortenberg in her lyrics for the Thierry Mugler soundtrack. Still, Horyn isn’t being banned from future Oscar shows. As de la Renta noted, “I’m not going to make it that important.”

 

2. The Slap

 

When fire marshals pulled 60 chairs before Zac Posen’s show, it left the p.r. team at HL Group scrambling to seat some guests.

It proved too much for Marie-José Susskind-Jalou, president of the Jalou publishing house, and her daughters, Jennifer Eymere and Vanessa Bellugeon of Jalouse and L’Officiel magazines, respectively, and a heated argument between them and HL Group cofounder Lynn Tesoro landed the p.r. veteran a slap in the face. It was heard in all four fashion capitals, largely because of Eymere’s statements to WWD the following day. “It was a small slap,” she said. “It was not strong. I didn’t hurt her, it was just to humiliate her. She humiliated my mom, and I humiliated her in front of her crew. Voilà. I just said at the end, ‘Now you know you don’t f–k with French people.’ ”

Apparently, one shouldn’t mess with Americans, either. Tesoro slapped the French trio with a lawsuit to recover damages for “assault, battery, emotional distress, slander and/or libel.” The case was still ongoing at press time.

3. Royal Feud

What a difference a day makes. Giorgio Armani’s decision to shift from his regular slot on the last day of the Milan shows to the night before unleashed a fury within Roberto Cavalli, who also shows on the last day and was worried that foreign editors might skip out of town without Armani’s gravitas. He posted a letter on his blog, lashing out at the Camera Nazionale della Moda and Armani, whose “every choice is perceived as an order!

“As usual, the Camera Nazionale della Moda is washing its hands of the situation and it will not go against the wishes of ‘Little King’ Armani, and therefore the problems are mine alone,” Cavalli stated. Meow. Armani took the matter lightly.

“Cavalli should be quiet,” he said, “because the ‘Little King’ could start to get angry.”

4. Biscotti Bickering

 

Cavalli and Armani weren’t the only Italians who found themselves in a snit. Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle, Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne and Lapo Elkann were also embroiled in a war of words after the carmaker said projects for its Italian plants were no longer sustainable, given the industry’s challenges. Della Valle called Marchionne and Elkann “the real problem” of Fiat and “cosmopolitan furbetti,” which means something like “sly” in Italian.

Della Valle eventually took it up a notch, calling Fiat’s top management “improvised and caught with their hands in the cookie jar,” referring to his belief Fiat planned to abandon production in Italy. “We don’t talk about people who make bags,” Marchionne fired back. “What Della Valle invests in research and development is not enough even for a section of a car fender.”

5. Cathygate II

Midway through Paris, Cathy Horyn found herself at the center of yet another storm, this time with new Saint Laurent creative director Hedi Slimane. Having been barred from the show, Horyn reviewed the collection from digital images, but what she saw didn’t tickle her taste buds. “A nice but frozen vision of a bohemian chick at the Chateau Marmont. Or in Saint-Tropez. Mr. Slimane’s clothes lacked a new fashion spirit,” she said, adding, “Meanwhile, its competitors—Balenciaga, Dior, Givenchy, Celine, Lanvin—are having a terrific season.”

Slimane blasted the critic, accusing her of bias toward Dior’s collection by its new couturier, Raf Simons. Slimane tweeted that Horyn is “a schoolyard bully and also a little bit of a stand-up comedian.

“As far as I’m concerned, she will never get a seat at Saint Laurent, but might get 2-for-1 at Dior,” he continued. “I don’t mind critics, but they have to come from a fashion critic, not a publicist in disguise.”
Horyn, for her part, kept her cool. She told WWD, “It’s just silly nonsense to me.”