The Not So Fantastic Four: Fashion Capitals Eyeing War
Oct 04, 2011 - by Lester Brathwaite
New York, London, Milan and Paris. As any follower of fashion knows, those four cities are the main fashion capitals of the world and in that order their fashion weeks have progressed for what seems like time immemorial. Well, New York's moving their fashion week to Sept. 13th to avoid conflicting with Labor Day, but that leaves Milan in a time crunch. And the Italians are not standing for it.
Italian designers are forming a united front to decide on their own dates, out of the three following options: 1.) move to July; 2.) show before New York in September; or 3.) leave things the way they are, which could mean an overlap between Milan and London.
Condé Nast, for its part, is not having any of this. In a letter to Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion "obtained" -- *cough* stolen *cough*-- by WWD, CEO Jonathan Newhouse writes that 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.
Newhouse then goes on to basically threaten a boycott by all Vogue editors -- American, British, French and Italian -- of Milan shows, stating matter-of-factly that they will not under any circumstances abandon the London or New York shows if the Milan shows are moved earlier.
The root of the conflict stems from a pact in 2008 when all four cities agreed to kick-off the fashion weeks on the second Thursday of February and September. Boselli claims that the agreement was only for three years while the CFDA's Steven Kolb and the British Fashion Council's Caroline Rush contend that it was indeed a permanent arrangement.
As for the fromage standing alone, Paris is expected to side with Milan. However, Didier Grumbach, head of the Chambre Syndicale, would rather come to a compromise and wants everyone to just chill the eff out: When planning our schedules we have to factor in the time constraints of houses such as Jean Paul Gaultier or Givenchy that deliver couture, mens and womens shows with one designer. In any case, these things cant be improvised. We have our locations. To move dates on venues like the Grand Palais cannot be improvised. Those dates are decided months and months in advance. If [anyone wants to] move dates for 2013, why not, we have the time to talk about it, to arrange it."
Frankly, it's a little odd that London is siding with New York considering the hubbub over model castings earlier this season, with London designers blaming New York for hogging all the best girls and the general feeling that LFW was being squeezed out. Now it seems Milan is feeling the crunch and are going to have to come to a decision soon or face the wrath of Wintour. [WWD, sub req'd]