Diane von Furstenberg, the president of the CFDA, sent out an open letter to the fashion community yesterday. She was rather conciliatory in it, stating that the show date hoopla was a “misunderstanding” and that she was “convinced it will be resolved.” But don’t think she’s going down without a fight. She also told WWD:
All of a sudden, on the second Thursday next September, we finally have the good side, and now they want to make us pay. I think this is ridiculous. We are a community of designers. I would like to believe that what we have created with the CFDA — the sense of family and community — is something we can do worldwide. We are all designers, we are all in the same industry. We compete with one another but we love and support each other. That is what it should be.
Confused yet? Here are the main points of the disagreement:
-The CFDA and BFC maintain that there was an agreement reached in 2008 that the shows would always start in New York on the second Thursday in September, with subsequent cities showing in succession after that. Mario Boselli, the head of Milan’s Camera Nazionale della Moda, said he “proved” that no such agreement existed–at least in writing–by producing 2008 paperwork regarding show scheduling, WWD reports.
-The CFDA doesn’t want to start the shows a week earlier (the first Thursday in September) because Labor Day is on that Monday, and it presents challenges to the designers to get their shows ready on time. New York designers had to show the Thursday after Labor Day this past season, because it happened to be the second Thursday in September, so it can be done. It’s just far from ideal.
-Milan doesn’t want to show a week later because they think it will affect their production schedule and ability to get product to retailers in time (which frankly seems a little silly because Paris always shows into October and they don’t seem to have an issue with delivery.)
-The British Fashion Council, which represents London’s designers–and whose designers arguably are the ones really getting the shaft in this whole thing–can’t change its dates because of venue availability due to the Olympic and Paralympic games which are being held in London.
-Paris is staying out of it, though to make this work as the CFDA hoped (with New York starting the second Thursday in September), they would have had to move their dates a week later, too. But they didn’t.
So what are the potential outcomes?
1.) New York capitulates and moves its shows back a week, and sucks it up by showing the Thursday after Labor Day.
2.) London also sucks it up and moves back a week, and hopes for venue availability.
3.) Milan and France move their dates five days later–it’s not even a full week, because London only shows for five days–and continue with the “second Thursday in September” start date.
4.) Everyone is stubborn and nothing changes, forcing editors and buyers to take sides.
WWD tried to talk to designers, but no one wanted to comment. Some sources at the CNMI, who wanted to remain anonymous, claim the BFC never communicated the difficulties they were having with the Olympics and venue scheduling. There was also the suggestion that New York try to condense its fashion week into five days, because it’s “too long as it is.” Now those are fighting words!
So stand by. We’re certain that someone is going to end up switching dates to make this work, it’s just a matter of who.