Matthew Steeples examines the reaction to an article titled ‘ELLE on Earth’ that attacked amongst others Anna Wintour and that has truly sent New York fashionistas into the most surreal of meltdowns
Jacques Hyzagi is anything but the John Major of journalism; like marmite you’ll love or loathe him; there is simply no grey area. Writing for New York’s Observer – owned rather appropriately by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner – on Wednesday, this “spurned ELLE writer” went on what was described as a “truly bananas rant” by Jezebel.com and “[torched] every single bridge in the media”. Elsewhere on Twitter, others took an opposite view and declared the snarling article – which was rather unimaginatively titled ‘ELLE on Earth’ – a “biting exposé” and “better than the usual daily snark and drivel from most other outlets”.
In what can reasonably be described as a rambling diatribe, Hyzagi – whose previous essays have included such arse-licking feature interviews as ‘Ricky Gervais Is the Funniest Man Alive’ (One can only ask: “Why?”) and ‘Free Julian Assange’ (where the author plainly fails to realise most people in Britain would rather the Wikileaks founder had never come here in the first place) – wrote about his experience interviewing Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons (a woman I – as a non-fashionista – must admit to having never previously heard of).
After repeating his Gervais-style fawning approach to his subjects and describing Ms Kawakubo as “the Bob Dylan of fashion – a designer’s designer – probably the most interesting designer alive today and she knows it” (pass me the sickbag), Hyzagi descended into the hellholes of fury and complained that his interview had been sabotaged by the “asshole coming out of nowhere” Anne Slowey [ELLE’s fashion news director for those, like me, who’ve never come across her prior]. He then proceeded to blame everyone from “the bores at New York Magazine” to “the boring Atlantic and vapid Politico” for just about everything else wrong in today’s media. Few escaped without mention.
“Anna Wintour had never invited Rei, the goddess of fashion, to her insufferable annual Ball at the Met” is just one example of Hyzagi’s suggestions. Others included: “Everybody is sick and tired of fucking Anna Wintour” and charmingly, of Slowey: “I had heard that working with you was a mess akin to making a mule piss in a public bathroom”.
Without giving further acreage to the legions of text Hyzagi prepared in ‘Elle on Earth’, the truth of his anger is revealed in his views on the way in which his original article was edited:
“The interview published in ELLE this month is surprisingly tight, concise and actually quite good. Only an eye well trained in the art of George Orwell’s double speak would be able to detect the branded content at play in full force here. It is bland, milquetoast, uninformative, safe above all, boring. An infomercial. Adrian Joffe [Kwakubo’s husband for those not in the know] made sure of it. It has nothing to do with the interview Rei gave us. It is marital beardy betrayal of the worst kind. Anne discarded the text I had written entirely but not before she stole its structures and plagiarized its ideas. Because she cannot write and is not very bright she succeeded, no small feat, in making a fascinating and revolutionary person such as Rei sound mediocre. Her text is replete with platitudes and clichés, with no insight or intelligence to speak for it and now looks like a perfect Wikipedia entry. You could read these lines and rightfully find them quite presumptuous and arrogant. So you will be the judge”.
Admitting “[I] spent thousands of dollars of my own monies and I just wanted to get paid”, though, is probably the real key to Hyzagi’s motivation for penning ‘ELLE on Earth’ so as it’s April Fools’ Day, here’s an idea for him: He could apply to ‘The Donald’ to work as his chief speech writer; we’d then be in for something far worse than Storm ELLE but boy, wouldn’t it be amusing?
The Steeple Times Twitter poll asks: “Was Jacques Hyzgai right to go off on one at Elle?” Vote by clicking here.
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