Those writers who've been banned from numerous fashion shows have been playing on my mind a lot this week - anybody who'll willingly put their necks on the line to give an often unpopular opinion is a-ok in my books. Overseas it's a fairly regular occurrence - people like Suzy Menkes, Cathy Horyn and Colin McDowell have all been refused admission to big name designers' shows (Armani, Balenciaga, Carolina Herrera to name a few), simply for doing their jobs - giving their honest (and educated) opinions. In New Zealand, the idea of honest and educated opinions when reviewing our local designers' work seems oxymoronic. Actually not even oxymoronic, overtly non existent. Every season a new set of collections comes out, and unfailingly, every season it's the same - Zambesi, incredible! Karen Walker, stupendous! Kate Sylvester, a dream! Nom*D, to die for! Who does it help? Nobody as far as I can see.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking our local talent - we have a pool of great designers in New Zealand. But that said, even the greatest designers in the world have their off seasons. Not in New Zealand, it would seem (if you believe the media).
I'm a firm believer that if you're willing to put your creative work out there for the world to see, then you have to be equally willing and able to accept criticism. But I'm not going to blame the problem on the designers, the onus for this one lies firmly in the hands of the media.
It's a funny thing. Look at any other field in NZ - art, film, fiction, sport - all have their experts, and all receive honest reviews. If an All Black plays badly, all the sports writers will be talking about it for weeks on end. If an author writes a bad book, he or she will be crucified. For some reason, fashion doesn't get that same treatment. It's like honest opinion flies out the door the moment a journalist is invited to a show.
I interviewed Dick Frizzell recently for Pilot Magazine. One of the questions I asked him was about how he deals with negative criticism. His response - he takes it on the chin, looks at the work again then tries to take it on board... ie he hopes that his next exhibition will be stronger for it.
So what's the problem here? Is it that our journalists just don't know enough to be able to give an honest review? Are they scared of the repercussions of being honest or negative? Or do they really just LOVE every collection more than the last?
The longer this goes on, the less chance there'll be of it ever changing. Who's willing to stand up and tell the truth?
Enabled by Telecom XT
I LIKE YOU!