First thing Thursday morning, Diane von Furstenberg phoned Marc Jacobs to plead with him to continue to show in New York, but said she understands his frustrations with the earlier-than-usual schedule this season.
The call came on the day WWD published a front-page story quoting an angry Jacobs attacking critics of the late start of his show Monday night. In his remarks, Jacobs threatened to move his show to Paris.
As president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, von Furstenberg also said she will call on her European counterparts to make more of a unified effort in scheduling the shows. To that end, once their respective fashion weeks are wrapped up, she plans to arrange a meeting with British Fashion Council chairman Stuart Rose and chief executive officer Hilary Riva, the Italian Fashion Chamber’s Mario Boselli and the Fédération Française de la Couture’s Didier Grumbach.
“I will ask for a special meeting. I think that it’s imperative,” von Furstenberg told WWD. “To come back from Labor Day and to go right into fashion week — it’s a nightmare.”
That said, von Furstenberg did allow that the timing of this month’s Jewish holidays is what really unraveled the show dates. Nevertheless, she insisted international camaraderie will be essential going forward.
“This is not just about different countries. This is a massive industry worldwide,” she said. “We should all push back and be a little more respectful. Everyone is overwhelmed with too many shows. But everyone means well. We have to mean well. But we have to look at the industry as a global force.”
The New York schedule being moved up “little by little” has made it very difficult for designers, especially those who rely on Italy for fabrics. Most Italian mills shut down in August for the summer break.
“I understand Marc’s frustration. I just wanted to call him to beg. I wanted to tell him how important Marc Jacobs is in the American fashion industry,” she said. “At the end of the conversation, he said if the dates work out so he has things in time, he will show here. He’s pissed right now. He really isn’t a prima donna.”
This story first appeared in the September 14, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Italian industrialists should consider how much American designers like Jacobs, Anna Sui, Vera Wang and many others, including young designers, rely on them, von Furstenberg said. “If the dates get earlier and earlier and Italy cannot ship on time, it’s going to be a problem. Everyone will not be able to go show in Paris,” she said. “This is a global industry. We all depend on each other, but we have been pushed in and in and in.”
That said, American designers may need to find alternative resources if Italian companies cannot ship on time, she said.
The CFDA president surmised that, in terms of scheduling, it would be better for Jacobs, who already shows his Louis Vuitton collection in Paris, to continue to show his signature women’s and men’s collections and his Marc by Marc Jacobs line in New York. While Jacobs complained about the show schedule this season in an interview with WWD, he traditionally has shown the second Monday of September for the last several seasons.
But his departure would ultimately be detrimental to American fashion, von Furstenberg said. “He represents so much in American fashion. It would be really horrible to lose him….I am ready to beg in front of his pavement.”