Fashion Critic Robin Givhan has been busy lately. The (in)famously outspoken critic has made headlines on no less than two different hot button issues in as many days. First, New York Magazine touched on her verbal scuffle with Karl Lagerfeld, sparked by an article she wrote for Newsweek back in January that if the famed designer was, “being spread too thin?” Givhan herself admitted lightheartedly to the thought as “heresy”, and was careful not to undermine Lagerfeld’s accomplishments that have spanned multiple decades and various labels. But her examination of his recent roster of roles — from photographer to short film director to High Street extroidinaire — had Lagerfeld up in arms.
According to New York Magazine, Lagerfeld’s reaction to the article was claiming he had never heard of her. But the moment of truth came during last week’s Paris Fashion Week when Givhan was bumped from her standard front row seat. “[A] pair of binoculars might have helped,” she said in a recent interview with the Toronto Star. Despite it brush off, she stuck to her guns and delivered a lukewarm review of the show, stating, ” Lagerfeld has been instrumental in keeping the Chanel brand alive and relevant by tapping into shifts in music, social media, and the like. But the Chanel collection he presented for fall was weighed down by his own inspiration……It was a disappointing collection that did little to make the Chanel brand shine brighter.” So there you have it: the woman who took on the Kaiser.
But that’s not all that’s been got her name trending on Twitter (we’re not sure if it is actually, but it should be!). In the same interview with the Star, Givhan sighted her next target and pulled the trigger: bloggers. Her argument was that bloggers will always “wax enthusiastic” about a designer who has gifted them with freebies like clothes and front row seats to their shows, sometimes even accompanied by a plane ticket. Givhan says this subjectivity is the difference between true journalists and bloggers. “I like to think that journalists understand the importance of keeping an arm’s length between critics and designers,” she told the Star.
Truth be told, and even as bloggers ourselves, we’re kinda supremely glad that Givhan blew the horn on all the hand-out kings and queens of the industry. Many “A-list” bloggers have turned the content of their sites into Instagram-tinged free-for-alls of the swag they receive on a daily basis. How being an industry darling makes one an actual authority on fashion, we’re still waiting to find out. And seemingly, so is Givhan as she questions the fundamentals of these figures that hold so much influence. “It’s got to be more than just ‘I loved it or I hated it,’ ”Givhan says. “You’ve got to explain your thinking — how you got there. Criticism is not personal opinion. At its best it’s opinion based on a set of facts that are set in context. I’ve seen shows that I’ve loved but I knew that critically they were not great. And vice versa.”
Whether you agree with Givhan or not on her stance of the fashion blogosphere, she at least holds the street cred to know what she’s talking about. And a Pulitzer Prize to boot. So what do you think, dear readers, about Givhan’s argument? Should bloggers, especially the ones that have become minor league celebs, be treated as unquestioned authorities on fashion? Who knows, with all of this hype surrounding Givhan, maybe actual fashion critics will be in the spotlight next.
Article Source: NY Mag, Fashionista, The Toronto Star, Newsweek
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