Robin Givhan Not Back at the “Washington Post”

The fashion writer calls her feature on inaugural gowns in Tuesday’s Style section a “special guest appearance.”

By: Harry Jaffe

She’s not back.

Fans of fashion writer Robin Givhan—who were hoping her feature on inaugural gowns in Tuesday’s Style section was a signal she’s back at the Post—might have to hold their applause.

Contacted by e-mail, Givhan called her article a “special guest appearance.”

She added: “I had the story. Style seemed the right place for it. I offered. They accepted.

“And really,” she added, “book or not, can I really sit out the entire inauguration? Ha.”

Givhan has critiqued inaugural fashion since 1995, when she became the Post’s fashion editor. She earned a Pulitzer for criticism in 2006, the first and only for a fashion writer. Tina Brown lured Givhan from the Post in 2010 to cover fashion for her digital publishing project, the Daily Beast, and Newsweek.

Last month, with the Daily Beast losing money, Brown shuttered Newsweek’s print edition and fired staff. Givhan found herself out of a job.

A Detroit native, Givhan was covering fashion from New York on and off while reporting for the Post and the Beast. She’s now settled into Capitol Hill to write a book on the 1973 Versailles fashion show, and is open to a regular reporting gig.

“The Agony and Ecstasy of Creating Inaugural Gowns” is trademark Givhan. It manages to capture the style, history and business of designing the First Lady’s ballgown, paints personal portraits of the designers, and gives readers a sense of how the fashion industry consumes new designers.

“Indeed,” she writes, “the fashion industry—and its attendant groupies—now sees young designers as lucrative investment opportunities. The higher their public profile, the faster they are propped up, supported, and dubbed successful. And there are endless opportunities for raising their profile, from Project Runway to Twitter.”

The Post never really replaced Givhan. Readers—whether they care for fashion or just good writing—know the Style section could use her back on the beat.