Reviewing is challenging. You have to be professional, you have to be honest, you can't be mean (at least I hope not), you have to be readable — it's a juggling act. So imagine how Style.com's Tim Blanks felt when his lackluster review of Jean Paul Gaultier's Fall 2013 couture collection was greeted with an open letter from Jean Paul Gaultier himself.
It began like this: "Jean Paul Gaultier works a theme like the last nerve," before going on to say "'[A] mille feuille de mousselines' echoed Yves Saint Laurent's way with colour, as a reminder that 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."
And that's when Gaultier spoke out and defended himself. Are you ready for this?
"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 that are more personal than professional."
He continues: "In future, rather than be bored by 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 echoed by a Nina Ricci dress from 1967 in homage to Gerard Pipard who recently passed away."
Yikes. And then for the final dig.
"If you're nostalgic for the time I was considered the one true heir to the throne of French fashion please by a ticket for my exhibition now in Stockholm and soon in Brooklyn and London. Good visit."
Well, guys. I would cry. That would absolutley make me cry. And of course, you can see both sides: Brooks, on one end, is doing his job. Gaultier, on the other, is defensive of his art. Maybe we end all reviews with "but that's just my opinion — I don't know" and all shows with "and if you like it, cool, that's your call — bye!"
I mean, that can't be too hard, can it?