Best Of Armani Vs. Times CatfightYes, the fashion industry is just like high school, and Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn not only said it but proved it this morning with an article detailing, in no less than 1,400 words, her own petty squabble with designer Giorgio Armani. Aramani appears to be, by far, the pettier of the two, having banned Horyn from his fashion shows over a rough review in January and having sent a bitchy letter to her bosses. But Horyn has also been catty, writing repeated melodramatic accounts of the feud and casting Armani as something of a 1980s has-been, even as she puts on analytical airs. Here's a quick summary, in Horyn and Armani's own words, of their hissy little slapfest:

From Horyn's January Paris dispatch, which set off the whole fight:

Mr. Armani's niece, Roberta, sat next to Hilary Swank, who had on a black beaded cocktail dress. Ms. Armani never seemed to stop smiling. [Apparently Armani was offended at this characterization of his niece. —ed.]



...There was nothing lurid or in bad taste about Mr. Armani's clothes, but neither was there anything subtle or particularly surprising about them...



Despite his incredible design range over the years, irony and self-reference are not within [Armani's] imagination, so there will never be a jewel of a dress coming out from a huge beige hub of an Armani jacket. The great thing about watching a Lagerfeld couture show, and to an extent a Galliano, is that each dress and jacket is not only unique but also conveys with wit the history of the house. You get that much less with Mr. Armani.

The response from Armani, in one or more letters he wrote to Horyn's editors and possibly to Horyn herself, as described by Horyn:

He thought I was "belittling" of his family and friends...



In a letter to my editor earlier this month, [Armani] cites my "unnecessarily sarcastic comments" about his friends and family in a review of his last couture show and notes that I have "rarely found positive remarks" to make about his ready-to-wear collections, and then surmises that I have "an embedded preconception." He concludes: "Going forward therefore, I see no real merit in inviting Cathy Horyn to my women's shows."

Horyn replies:

Practiced mainly by older designers, whose careers took flight in the 1980s, banning seems a reflexive action against a perceived threat to their power...



The '80s was a creative period in fashion, the decade of nouveau-riche dressing and the invasion of the Japanese designers in Paris, but it was also an uncritical one...



it is clear to her that some designers don't fully understand the different roles of the media - the magazine editors looking for beautiful clothes to photograph (and, with luck, an advertiser to satisfy in the process), the newspaper critic examining a creative change, and increasingly the amateur blogger...



Many consumers find Mr. Armani's clothes very appealing, and certainly no one would bother denying that he had a huge impact on the way men and women looked in the '80s and early '90s. I loved attending his shows then...



I can't say yet whether I will write about Mr. Armani's clothes by viewing them online. Frankly, I would be much more excited if he unburdened himself of the whole system, closed down the shows, stopped with the backstage stroking sessions, and went directly over the Internet to the public.

Times: My Invitation Isn't in the Mail