HORYN’S TIME: Cathy Horyn, the longtime lead fashion critic of The New York Times, has left her post, which she has held for 15 years. The chief fashion writer for the Times told WWD that she resigned from the paper to care for her partner, Art Ortenberg, 87, the cofounder of Liz Claiborne Inc.
“Art needs me at home. That’s the right decision now,” Horyn said. “I’ve just loved The New York Times since the day I got there. It has been an incredible experience. I’m grateful to the editors of the paper for giving me all kinds of opportunities.”
Known for her quick-witted columns, fashion reporting and at-times stinging reviews, Horyn leaves the Times at a particularly tenuous time, just ahead of fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
With the critic’s departure days from New York Fashion Week, which begins on Thursday, the Times is down a (very important) reviewer.
A fixture in the front row at fashion shows — even Disney made a cartoon out of her for Barneys New York — Horyn’s departure marks a deeper rebalancing for the Styles section.
In November, Horyn’s cohort Eric Wilson decamped for In Style magazine, ending his nine-year stint at the paper. To fill Wilson’s role, the section hired Matthew Schneier from Style.com and Deadspin’s John Koblin who started at the paper in January.
Even though fashion week is just around the corner, Styles editor Stuart Emmrich said that the Times has a “deep fashion bench” to pick up the slack, and that it will rely on its other notable critic, Suzy Menkes, to review upcoming collections in New York and Europe. Additionally, it can also call upon Ruth La Ferla, Guy Trebay and newbies Koblin and Schneier, who joins the paper today.
Although he acknowledged Horyn’s influence over the industry, Emmrich offered: “I doubt we will have a hard time finding strong, talented candidates who will want to join” the Styles section. The new fashion team is expected to ramp up the paper’s coverage of men’s shows, as well as contribute to “On the Runway,” the fashion blog formerly written by Horyn. The editor also noted that during New York Fashion Week, the paper’s readers can expect a “dramatic increase” in content on the Times Web site and, in particular, on the blog.
Still, the Times did lose a marquee player, and that wasn’t downplayed in Friday’s internal memo to the staff: “How do we measure the impact that Cathy has made at the Times? Is it 1,123 bylined pieces she has written in the past 15 years?”
Calling Horyn’s voice “unique in the fashion world,” the memo said she was “more than just a fashion critic” but also she was a “superb reporter,” who used “fashion as her lens to look into broader cultural themes.”
According to the paper, Horyn will continue to work on her book, which will be published by Rizzoli, that chronicles how the Times has covered fashion from the 1850s to the present.