Them’s Fighting Words Between Tim Blanks and Jean Paul Gaultier

Designers don’t take kindly to the bad review and inevitably feel it’s personal when they get one. Take, for example, Tim Blanks’ less-than-fawning review of Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture collection on In it, Blanks — the most recent recipient of the CFDA Media Award (for excellence in journalism) — says the French couturier “works a theme like a last nerve.” And that’s just the first line.

Blanks goes on to chastise Gaultier for using Nabilla Benattia as a celebrity model, calling her “a mantrap who is tabloid bait in France for her reality TV antics” and “a bit down-market.” He ends the suffering with a backhanded lament: “…Gaultier was once considered the one true heir to the throne of French fashion. But that was once upon a time, and that time has, sad to say, well and truly passed.”

Well, needless to say, Gaultier was none too pleased. Channeling his former enfant terrible self, he responded with a letter on Twitter that reads as follows…

Dear Tim:

Once upon a time you liked my shows “but that time has truly passed” and I respect it. But the Tim I knew before would never have made the attacks more personal than professional. I always had girls in my shows from different strata, treating someone as down-market is cheap.

In future, rather than be bored at my shows, you can use that time to do something else, for example brush up on your fashion history so you’ll know that “mille feuille de mousseline” didn’t echo Saint Laurent, it was inspired by a Nina Ricci dress from 1967 in homage to Gerard Pipard who recently passed away.

If you’re nostalgic for the time when I was considered the one true heir to the throne of French fashion please buy a ticket for my exhibition now in Stockholm and soon in Brooklyn and London. Good visit.

A former yours in fashion

Jean Paul Gaultier

This is almost as good as that bizarre beef between Cathy Horyn and Oscar de la Renta over her use of “hot dog” in a review, or her ensuing beef with Lady Gaga, or her other beef with Gaga. Here’s hoping this spells the end of mindless cheerleading and the return of the well-crafted critique, even if it’s negative. Because, after all, nothing is more insulting that sitting through a painfully bad show.

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