Journalist fashion ban draws criticism

A number of fashion PROs have been criticised for banning high-profile journalists from shows in Paris and Milan this week.

Catwalk: model at Armani show
Catwalk: model at Armani show

Last week it emerged that Paul Smith's head of comms had banned The Guardian's deputy fashion editor Hadley Freeman from its menswear show in Paris, after she made negative comments in an audio report.

PRWeek has also learned that New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn has been excluded from attending Giorgio Armani's shows due to 'unnecessarily sarcastic comments' about Armani's friends and family.

Top fashion PR agencies said such bans were ill-advised. Luchford APM founder Kelly Luchford said: 'We feel that all journalists have the right to speak and to view a collection in the way they see fit. We would never ban people.'

Modus Publicity co-director Julian Vogel said his agency once resigned an account after a client asked him to ban a journalist. 'My take is everyone has a right of opinion,' he said.

One senior head of fashion PRO added: 'Some journalists arrive at shows and can't get in, which is quite embarrassing.'

Journalists who have previously been banned from shows include The Sunday Times senior fashion writer Colin McDowell, banned by Armani, and International Herald Tribune fashion editor Suzy Menkes, excluded by Versace. Fantastic Man deputy editor Charlie Porter was banned from a Balenciaga show in 2003.

Attempts to silence journalists are more rife in womenswear, as it is much more high profile. TV personality and former Evening Standard fashion editor Lowri Turner once donned a black wig and sunglasses to gain entry to a Lacroix show from which she had been banned.

VICTIMS OF BANS

- Colin McDowell, senior fashion writer, The Sunday Times - Armani

- Cathy Horyn, fashion critic, New York Times - Dolce & Gabbana, Armani

- Hadley Freeman, deputy fashion editor, The Guardian - Paul Smith, JP Gaultier

- Suzy Menkes, fashion editor, International Herald Tribune - Versace, LVMH

- Charlie Porter, deputy editor, Fantastic Man - Balenciaga

- Lowri Turner, Evening Standard - Lacroix.

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