CIAO, ANNA!: The Italian fashion world is getting testy with Anna Wintour. Editorials and articles in Italian newspapers have lambasted the Vogue editor in chief, blaming her for insisting the Milan fashion shows squeeze to three days this season from their usual five. The shows, which begin Feb. 25 with Prada, Fendi and a few others, end on Feb. 28.

Corriere della Sera last Friday reported that “[…]Letizia Moratti, mayor of Milan, sent a message to the editor in chief of Vogue America, Anna Wintour: ‘Nobody, not even if her name is Anna Wintour, can take the liberty to do and undo our fashion calendar. For this reason, we must all work united.’ Addressing fashion designers, the mayor said: ‘I think Milan’s fashion should show its pride.’”

This story first appeared in the February 17, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A day earlier, Il Sole 24 Ore went even further, writing that “[…] Wintour has been imposing her diktats on the dates of the Milan runway shows for years. […] Made in Italy fashion is a stronger industry than that of its French and American competitors, but when faced by Wintour’s bob and huge sunglasses it transforms itself into Cinderella” — obviously meaning the one sweeping the floor and not the princess sweeping through the ballroom just before midnight.

Giorgio Armani, Anna Molinari, Tod’s Diego Della Valle and Krizia’s Mariuccia Mandelli were among those voicing concern that a shorter show week would reduce the strength of the Italian fashion industry. The show calendar also was the main topic during a press conference held Tuesday by Italy’s Chamber of Fashion, as Mario Boselli, head of the association, said that, based on the reaction of the industry this season, he could “guarantee” the calendar “will be different in September,” with at least five days. Shows currently are slated to run Sept. 22 to 29.

While the press has blamed Wintour, Boselli said it was “the designers’ responsibility to acknowledge their strength” and not cave in to outside pressure. “Especially in this economy, it is too costly to work in a state of constant emergency,” said Boselli, citing a total of 184 collections, of which 87 are runway shows for 78 brands, with 18 shows on the third day alone. According to the Chamber, the fashion industry’s 2009 sales fell an estimated 15 percent to 56.5 billion euros, or $78.5 billion, compared with 66.4 billion euros, or $97.6 billion, in 2008. Dollar figures were converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

And what does Wintour have to say about all the hubbub? “I am very much looking forward to going to Italy, as always,” she told WWD. — Luisa Zargani

NEW PERSON: Karin Tracy, associate publisher of InStyle, has been named publisher of Time Inc.’s People StyleWatch. Tracy succeeds the title’s founding publisher Michelle Myers, who moved to Lucky magazine last week. Paul Caine, president and group publisher, Time Inc. Style and Entertainment Group, said Tracy’s “commitment to teamwork and strong background in beauty and fashion makes her a perfect fit for the StyleWatch brand.”

While People StyleWatch is a much smaller book than InStyle (with a total circulation of 802,275 — less than half that of InStyle’s roughly 1.8 million), the People magazine offshoot did perform better on the ad front last year, with StyleWatch posting a 24.4 percent increase to 629 pages in 2009 versus 2008. Meanwhile, InStyle’s ad pages declined 15.9 percent, to 2,312 pages, over the same period, according to Publishers Information Bureau.

In related news, StyleWatch advertising director Julie Arkin is leaving the Time Inc. title to join former boss Myers at Lucky. Arkin, one of three StyleWatch staffers making the move to Lucky, will be associate publisher of the Condé Nast title. — Nick Axelrod


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