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Designers React to Cathy Horyn's 'Must-See' List

A recent piece by the New York Times' fashion critic conspicuously omitted some of New York’s biggest players.

CATHY VERSUS NEW YORK?: Were there some hurt feelings among New York designers at the beginning of fashion week? Not quite, but on Thursday, The New York Times piece by Cathy Horyn on the “must-see collections” — mostly the cool crowd, including Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Joseph Altazurra and, rather backhandedly, Marc Jacobs, as well as Sophie Theallet, Francisco Costa and Narciso Rodriguez — conspicuously omitted some of New York’s biggest players — many of whom brushed off the perceived slight. While some said they hadn’t actually read the article until contacted about it, the story didn’t go wholly unnoticed by a few of the designers who didn’t make Horyn’s cut.

“That’s her opinion,” Diane von Furstenberg said. “She is entitled. She has a voice, she uses her voice. I have a voice. All I will say is that I work very hard, and I do the best I can. I hope she comes to the show and I hope she likes the show.”

Michael Kors struck a similar note. “People can make their decision as to what turns them on and what thrills them, and what doesn’t. It’s like shopping.”

Others, like Oscar de la Renta, saw it in a wider context, saying that the piece had no influence on them personally or on their businesses. “It bothers me because I love my industry, and I love fashion,” de la Renta said. “I think fashion is something of beauty and it really makes me mad when someone writes about fashion in a bitter way.”

For Vera Wang, Horyn’s take didn’t address a significant industry reality. “We actually employ a lot of people, and we try to support our industry, and we do pay for things,” she said. “We’re doing our best to be honorable and support our industry.” She cited examples such as Ralph Lauren as a prime example of someone who employees a large number of people, and Donna Karan for her contributions to the “freedom of women in fashion.” “If those things don’t stand for something, I don’t really know what does,” Wang said.

Horyn declined further comment on the article.