New Fashion Week calendar shakeups are forcing fashion capitals to battle it out.
Earlier this season, reports surfaced that regular fashion week schedule conflicts were causing problems (or "model crises") for London Fashion week, with models not making it to London or being summoned to Milan early. While it seemed London Fashion Week's fate was the least certain, Milan is also now in trouble with Condé editors threatening to skip it altogether because of a broken pact.
The problem is that New York pushed their September fashion week to September 13, 2012 to avoid conflicting with Labor Day and causing production problems. Milan says that schedule leaves them without enough time to put their wares into production and get them delivered on time for spring 2013. So, Milan has announced dates that would overlap with poor little London.
However, in a new, exciting twist, Condé Nast has taken a stance against a Milan Fashion week schedule change if it conflicts with London or any other city's shows. Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse literally wrote to Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion to inform him that Vogue editors (worldwide) like the schedule the way it is. From WWD:
[Vogue editors] like the schedule the way it is presently organized. We at Condé Nast do not want the schedule to be changed. We very much oppose moving the Milan shows earlier so that they overlap or conflict with the London fashion shows — or with the New York fashion shows or those of any market.
They will not under any circumstances abandon the London or New York shows if the Milan shows are moved earlier.
The best way to avoid having a problem is to maintain the schedule as it is now.
Wow. While they obviously have a lot of power, Condé does not control the fashion calendar. Apparently, the "governing bodies" of each fashion week (CFDA, British Fashion Council, Italian Chamber of Fashion and Chambre Syndicale) reached an official agreement in 2008 to begin each season on the second Thursday in February and September. However, according to WWD, "Milan's Boselli claims the second Thursday rule was only for a three-year period, and thus expires this year, while the CFDA and the British Fashion Council maintain it was a permanent pact." And also, "Some Europeans suggest that Milan and Paris could end up standing together on the issue of dates," as they are both strong fashion capitals.
So, what is Paris' stance? The head of the Chambre Syndicale, Didier Grumbach, tells WWD that they are willing to compromise and are mainly just concerned that women's ready-to-wear isn't pushed too close to couture.
So, to recap: The U.S. and England are united on one side, while Italy is in clear opposition and France seems cool with whatever, but may side with Italy. (How insane is this??)
Conde has been pretty clear about which side they're on, so it sounds like it all depends on how much Prada needs Anna Wintour in the front row. The Guardian raises an interesting point, arguing that the current show calendar is antiquated to begin with and "at odds with the needs of the modern fashion industry."
Whose side are you on?