Italian fashion week organisers intend to bring their event forward by one calendar week, starting it on 19 September and bringing it into direct conflict with New York (starting 13 Sept.) and London (21 Sept.) fashion weeks.
Should the four fashion capitals fail to strike a compromise, international editors and buyers will be forced to choose between the cities. Designers in turn will face sparser, more local audiences and divided media attention.
Milan’s decision contravenes a 2008 agreement that New York’s spring-summer shows should start on the second Thursday of September, to be followed by London, Milan and Paris. Italian fashion bosses contend that the 2008 accord was only agreed for three years, while New York and London leaders say they understood it to be a permanent arrangement. Hewing to the 2008 guidelines would leave Milan’s late-Sept./early October shows ‘too late for production,’ Mario Boselli, head of Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda, said earlier this month.
London, meanwhile, is unable to shift its dates due to lack of venue availability following the Olympic and Paralympic games in summer 2012, British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush said.
‘Camera Nazionale della Moda and Chambre Syndicale have announced dates for September 2012 that contravene the fashion week dates agreement of September 2008,’ the BFC said in a statement. ‘We are in direct discussion with our counterparts and hope to resolve the matter over the next few weeks. We have a great deal of support from both international and domestic media and retailers in retaining the dates agreement.’