Sunday, February 28

Robin Givhan at the “Washington Post”, from fashion critic to ethnic issues

By Stéphanie Le Bars

Posted on February 26, 2021 at 4:00 p.m., updated at 5:26 p.m.

In his life before, Robin Givhan migrated with the seasons. Several times a year. Spring-summer, autumn-winter, New York, London, Milan, Paris. His professional diary looked like a travel diary with luxury stopovers. In these times of Covid-19, there is no need to run through airports (deserts) and fashion shows (virtual) to find the journalist from the Washington post in charge of the Fashion section, the sole holder of a Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a fashion critic.

It is simply downstairs from her house that Robin Givhan receives. And not in the editorial staff of the daily, where she started working twenty-five years ago. The pandemic prohibits confined spaces, never mind! Without ceremony, but duly masked and bundled up in an old pink coat, Robin Givhan sits at the edge of the fountain that adorns the courtyard of his red brick building, typical of the architecture of the American federal capital.

Delicate phrase

Grizzled curls escape from a black band which hardly protects against the gusts. In the cold, a few hundred meters from the political heart of Washington, where the high gates guarded by the military still prevent access to the Capitol, the 56-year-old journalist recounts in a delicate phrasing her new life, marked by the Covid -19.

“The Floyd affair aroused an incredible feeling of sadness, of dismay. With my friends we were wondering: how can such things still happen? »Robin Givhan

Like most Washingtonians, Givhan hasn’t returned to office for nearly a year; even less in a fashion show. In March, the pandemic put a stop to parades, travel and meetings. “My last stay in Europe dates back to March 6, 2020. I was in Paris for the fall collections. I then had to go to Rome for an article on the Valentino house. The interview ended on FaceTime ”, she remembers, still moved at the memory of her last Parisian evening at the Ritz bar.

A few weeks later, the American streets are set on fire. The death of George Floyd, an African American who died below the knee of a white policeman in Minneapolis, once again propels issues of racial injustice and police violence to the heart of the debate. “The Floyd affair aroused an incredible feeling of sadness, of dismay. With my friends we were wondering: how can such things still happen? How do you accept that a significant part of the population doesn’t think it’s horrible? These are events that I experienced intensely ”, says the African-American journalist, visibly still shaken.

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