By  on March 22, 2005

NEW YORK — The Fur Information Council of America has scrapped its annual fashion show in favor of a more low-key and presumably less expensive format.

The group, which typically stages a runway show featuring 18 to 24 labels in April, plans to host a multimedia event in June. The location hasn’t been disclosed.

Keith Caplan, executive director of FICA, said organizers initially thought they had some great ideas for this year’s event, but eventually decided it would be tough to top what designers showed on the runways in Europe and New York.

“We asked if we could show them anything in a format they hadn’t seen before,” he said. “We decided that probably wasn’t the best way — if you’ll pardon the expression — to skin a cat.”

Given the breadth of new techniques being used in fur, FICA supporters agreed a more intimate plan would be appropriate to allow editors to see the designs up close. The group has decided to go with a multimedia format mixing informal modeling with still life displays, photographs, video footage, casual exchanges with designers and, of course, cocktails. By staging the event in June instead of April, FICA intends to be more in sync with editors, who are then writing about fur for fall issues.   

In recent years, FICA’s fashion show has been panned by editors for its lack of cohesion and amateurish style.

At least two furriers welcomed the new approach.

“I think it’s a great idea,’’ said Anne Dee Goldin, owner and chief executive officer of Goldin Feldman. “It’s anticlimactic to put on this fur show, when so many great furs have already been shown on the runway. It’s more of a trade kind of fashion show than a press fashion show.

“I truly think this is a move of strength, not weakness,” she said.

She noted that last month, many designers “went beyond fur accessories and fur-trimmed pieces to show fur coats at 7th on Sixth.

“To show fur coats coming down the runway from FICA would have been kind of sad, after so many great, spectacular designers sent fur down the runway,” Goldin said.In the past, all FICA members could have their looks featured in its runway show, which made for lengthy presentations. In addition, many designers like Goldin opted to display their wares in their showrooms instead of participating in the FICA show.  

Larry Schulman, executive vice president of Alixandre Furs, which makes licensed fur collections for Oscar de la Renta and Isaac Mizrahi, said it is more personal to have presentations in his showroom, where editors and buyers can touch the coats and try them on.

Alixandre sat out last year’s show. “It’s not a reflection of FICA. This is what our designers suggested to us.”

This year, Alixandre plans to preview its collection with major accounts at the end of next month and will open the collection the second or third week of May.

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