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Fashion Capitals Agree on Date Changes

Peace agreement reached regarding the show calendar from 2009 onward.

LONDON — The world’s fashion capitals have reached a peace agreement regarding the show calendar from 2009 onward.

Organizers of the four major fashion weeks, who held a summit Tuesday at the Mayfair Hotel here, have resolved the various scheduling issues that would have reduced London Fashion Week to just three days.

While finer details of the deal have yet to be hammered out, starting in September 2009. New York will be able to move its show week back, and LFW will have a five-day week, just one day shorter than its current timeframe.

“We are all united by one aim and one global industry. We recognize and respect each other’s cities’ strengths and will continue to collaborate to protect and grow our industry,” stated Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council. “I am delighted that this meeting has brought our fashion capitals closer together. It has highlighted our interdependence, commitment to nurturing talent and our sharing of ideas and goals.”

London’s slot in the fashion cycle risked being severely curtailed by New York’s plans to start its 2009 shows later than usual to allow designers more time to work on their collections. The new timing was also meant to avoid shows clashing with Labor Day week.

“We have no choice. This is not an arbitrary decision,” Steven Kolb, the executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, told WWD earlier this month. “The Italian mills are closed in August and Labor Day is a major holiday in this city. It’s impossible to do business on Labor Day.”

With those constraints in mind, Tuesday’s meeting was meant to secure London’s spot on the global fashion calendar.

“We all agree it is very important to preserve London Fashion Week, it provides the pool of talent we all benefit from,” stated Diane Von Furstenberg, president of the CFDA.

For February, the CFDA, Milan’s Camera Della Moda and Paris’s Federation Francais de la Couture agreed to work closely with the BFC and take London’s needs into account.

While London Fashion Week is arguably less commercially driven than its American and European counterparts, it’s long been known to punch above its weight in the emerging talent stakes. Designers including Giles Deacon,
Christopher Kane and Gareth Pugh have garnered vital exposure during the shows here, alongside marquee names like Paul Smith and Nicole Farhi.