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Last week, Cintra Wilson announced that she was stepping down from the New York Times column Critical Shopper, where she'd been reviewing stores for the past three years. Wilson is known for her bracing honesty and her intellectual style, although in certain corners of the Internet she might be best remembered for the absolute shitshow that ensued when she called JC Penney's mannequins fat. Today, the Huffington Post runs a terrific Q&A with her about fashion, writing, and her upcoming book, Fear and Clothing. Here are five standout moments from the interview:
On learning to be a fashion writer: "When I wrote the Miu Miu article, the second or third article, you could see me latching onto the idea of fashion. You can see me catching on to what an important language fashion is. It's a language, it's a text through which you can read all kinds of stuff."
On what she learned from writing in the NYT's strict format: "A very defined thousand word essay had this counterintuitive effect of blowing my mind." Interviewer: "So it wasn't like a corset." Cintra: "It was totally liberating. Well, corsets can be liberating as well."
On the JC Penney controversy: "I stumbled blindly into the middle of a class war that was already in progress. I didn't realize was the Times was being perceived by Middle America as out of touch and elitist. Then here's bitchy little size-two me, wandering into JC Penney with exactly the same ruthlessness I would bring to Gucci, or any place else."
On maintaining integrity: "For a long time I was really very vigilant about protecting my voice. That was good because I actually ended up with a voice. As opposed to people who sell out and write about lipstick and then they don't know who they are anymore."
On the current state of retail: "Expensive food writing and expensive clothing writing are fantasy pieces that aren't realistic. We're keeping alive the myth that capitalism is still working, when in fact we've been gutted...There's a very small percentage of people who live on the Upper East Side, who can buy these meals and clothes and shoes. I'm not one of them."
· Cintra Wilson Announces She's Leaving Critical Shopper [Racked NY]
· Fear And Clothing: Cintra Wilson's Fierce Fashion Prowess [HuffPo]