By and  on May 9, 2005

MILAN — The prickly issue of the length of the Milan fashion show calendar has arisen once again after an Italian daily newspaper published private correspondence between S.I. Newhouse Jr., chairman of Condé Nast; Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International, and Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, last week.

In one of the letters, Jonathan Newhouse asked Boselli to “have important designer shows concentrated in a four-day period,” describing fashion week as “untenable — much too costly and too long.”

Boselli, meanwhile, said he was “very angry and disappointed” the letters were leaked to the press and divulged without his consent. He also regretted that S.I. Newhouse Jr. declined to meet him to talk about the calendar, as stated in a letter dated April 4.

S.I. Newhouse Jr. said in his letter that he “fully support[ed]” Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani, who met with Boselli last fall with the same requests to shorten the show calendar.

Wintour was in London last week to meet with Stuart Rose, chief executive officer of Marks & Spencer and head of the British Fashion Council, about moving London Fashion Week to fall between Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, a Vogue spokesman said, adding, “She’s obviously very disappointed and equally bewildered about why the Italians insist on turning a deaf ear to a very real problem for a lot of people.” (Condé Nast, like WWD, is owned by Advance Publications Inc.)

Colin McDowell of The Sunday Times Style, who arranged for Wintour to speak about British fashion at The British Museum while she was in town, said, “Sadly, there are far too many shows in the entire fashion schedule and we see far too many shows we don’t need to see. In Milan, the very rich and powerful can force us to go.” He added, “I’m surprised no one is complaining about Paris, which is even more crowded, although the difference, I believe, is that every show there is exciting.”

“I still hope we can meet; a battle is not good for anyone,” Boselli said on Thursday. “This is a difficult moment [in fashion] and we must all join forces.”

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