Fashion month is about to get a whole lot messier. A few days ago, it was reported that Milan had put forth Spring 2013 Fashion Week dates that would conflict with London and New York Fashion Week. In response, Condé Nast's International chairman Jonathan Newhouse had personally written to Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, threatening that none of his Vogue editors (including those of the American, Italian and French editions) would be allowed to attend Milan if the dates were moved. Honestly, we thought that was that: If Condé Nast wants to throw its weight around, it will probably come out victorious. We thought that, at the least, a compromise could be made, since this is after all an industry employing thousands of people and not a case of sibling rivalry. But we were wrong.
Milan has essentially told New York and London Fashion Week to go fuck themselves. According to WWD, the Milan Chamber of Fashion decided today that it would stick with its proposed dates, and that Milan Fashion Week will run from Sept. 19-25 next fall. Since New York is set to run from Sept. 13 to 20, and London from Sept. 21 to 25, Milan Fashion Week will bite into New York's show dates and completely eclipse poor London's. This announcement comes on the heels of the CFDA's letter posted on WWD yesterday, reasserting their position that they cannot, and will not, shift their Fashion Week dates any earlier. The letter cited the "Second Thursday Rule," a pact that states New York Fashion Week will always start on the second Thursday of the month and a pact that the CFDA asserts was agreed upon by the British Fashion Council, Chambre Syndicale, and Camera Nazionale della Moda in 2008. Unfortunately from there the letter devolves into a classic case of he said, she said: "As you may have read, the dates for showing the spring-summer 2013 collections are now being disputed. Milan is claiming that the agreement was for three years only. This is not the case; the agreed-to schedule was always meant to be a long-term/permanent one.”
Does anyone else feel like this seems more akin to a power struggle between high school's most popular clique, rather than a matter of conflicting schedules in a major industry? Boselli's attitude certainly isn't helping to fix that. The head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion told WWD, “Let the best one win." Well, that's certainly mature.
On a more serious note, though, we really can't see how this can be allowed to happen. Will Vogue editors--especially Vogue Italy's team--really be made to forgo Milan Fashion Week? How will London Fashion Week, who boasts considerably less designer star-power, be able to compete with big names like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana showing at the same time? On the other hand, how will the Italian labels--especially the young ones that depend on Fashion Week to bring them international exposure--be able to cope with none of Condé Nast's editors in attendance? More importantly, how awkward will the Fall 2012 shows in February, be?