A day after the British Fashion Council released dates for its second London Collections: Men, scheduled to run Jan. 7 to 9, which would mean a partial overlap with Pitti Uomo, the men’s exhibition scheduled to take place in Florence from Jan. 8 to 11, Pitti criticized the BFC’s decision.
“In what is such a delicate moment for half of the world’s economies, while fashion fair organizers are all working hard to draw up an international calendar that will increase the efficiency and coherence of the work carried out by buyers and journalists and, at the same time, minimize costs, it seems that the board of the BFC is taking none of this into account,” said Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Immagine. “I am truly surprised about this as the subject was discussed with the management of the BFC last June and it appeared that the right conditions were in place for a different outcome that would reduce the potential risk of inconveniencing the exhibitors (including a number of excellent British brands), buyers and journalists who usually attend Pitti Uomo.”
The organizing body said such a step “offers a distorted view of the competitive context of the top men’s fashion fairs.”
In response, the BFC told WWD: “We have arrived at these dates following a great deal of feedback from buyers and press from domestic and international audiences and while this is not ideal (we know Pitti have an established and respected position in the men’s wear calendar) we feel that this is the only solution for this coming season.
“For what will be London’s second dedicated men’s wear showcase, it is essential that we ensure designers and brands taking part will have their sample collections back, following the closure of European factories, and that audiences will have returned from their Christmas break and are therefore free to travel to London. With these dates we hope that buyers and press will come to London, then Pitti, Milan and Paris, ensuring they experience the whole of the European men’s wear calendar.”
The battle is reminiscent of the months of negotiations that ensued over the women’s fashion week schedules among the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the BFC, Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and France’s Chambre Syndicale when those dates overlapped. An agreement was finally reached in April.
Despite the controversy, Tom Ford will present his men’s collection in London for the first time during the London Collections, the BFC said Tuesday. Ford will present the collection at his London headquarters in Westminster, and the retail delivery will coincide with the opening of the first British Tom Ford flagship on London’s Sloane Street, which is set to open in the fall.
The BFC said the events on its men’s schedule would be designed to “showcase the breadth of British fashion talent, from the world’s most innovative emerging talents to global men’s wear brands and Savile Row tailors.”
The BFC also said Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ, has been named the ongoing chair of London Collections: Men. For the shows’ launch in June, Jones served as chair of the 2012 men’s wear committee. His new role is for an initial fixed term of two years.
In his new role, Jones will work alongside the BFC to develop London Collections: Men into a biannual event.
The committee for the January showcase will include Anda Rowland of Anderson & Sheppard; the actor Douglas Booth; Paula Reed, the newly named fashion director of Harvey Nichols; Robert Johnston of British GQ, and Tracey Emin.
“The inaugural men’s week was far more successful than any of us anticipated, and we have been overwhelmed by support and enthusiasm for the project,” said Jones. “LC:M has already contributed to the changing perception of men’s wear in this country and our plans for the next week in January, and beyond, will hopefully build on this.”
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