There are plenty of reasons for an arts critic to leave town—say, vacation. OK, OK, all critics should see what’s animating the national conversation from time to time—it can broaden and inform their perspective. But sometimes it feels like The Washington Post‘s reviewers are spending a bit too much time consuming art in other cities, especially New York—this despite the Post‘s 2009 reorientation as a paper focused on politics and local news. With editorial budgets tight and plenty of in-town art that escapes the Post’s eye, we offer this regular series, in which we determine how much of the Post‘s travel budget ought to have gone to an individual review. At one end of the budget spectrum: Acela. At the other: Hitchhiking.
Reviewer on the Road: WaPo fashion critic Robin Givhan in Sunday’s Style section, where she examines last week’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards.
Invoice Argument: It’s one of the biggest competitions for new designers, and past winners have become big names: Just look at Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, and Zac Posen. Karl Lagerfeld was among the luminaries on hand, doling out words of wisdom! Prabal Gurung was a nominee, and Michelle Obama wears his clothes! And then there’s the angle: Project Runway has contributed to the stereotype of designers as cut-throat back stabbers, but really the fashion industry is a community that looks out for and nurtures its own.
Budget Hawk: Project Runway, really? Yeah, I get that you want to go beyond the standard reporting of Look! Billy Reid, this designer with no connection at all to D.C. who makes clothes that belong on Tweed Ride extras, won this emerging talent award! But it feels a bit like bottom-scraping to mention the reality show, in what’s most likely an effort to get soccer moms who wouldn’t otherwise care about this award show in New York to read the story.
The Verdict: Jersey Turnpike tolls—-there’s very little here that couldn’t be aggregated from event coverage by WWD or Vogue. But you’ll want to wear your best togs when you’re in the same room as Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour, so we’ll spare you having to store your Chanel-filled suitcase among the luggage of the masses on the Chinatown bus.