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Milan Calendar Not Pleasing to All

MILAN — For the first time in years, Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana are not listed on Milan’s official fashion week calendar. Meanwhile, Prada, Gianfranco Ferré, Jil Sander and Versace are each having one show — according to...

MILAN — For the first time in years, Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana are not listed on Milan’s official fashion week calendar. Meanwhile, Prada, Gianfranco Ferré, Jil Sander and Versace are each having one show — according to the calendar — but they are actually having two.

Confused? Well, not to worry. Armani and D&G are indeed showing their spring collections at their respective headquarters during fashion week. But as for that calendar business, the conflicts and hidden shows are stirring quite a controversy in the fashion community here.

Although only a week from runway time, the schedule was still not confirmed at press time, and was seen as even more controversial than usual by the industry. Disagreements stem from a rule approved last April by the members of Italian fashion’s governing body, the Camera della Moda, with the intention of streamlining the calendar. According to this rule, each designer house is granted only one time slot by the Camera. In the past, many houses held two or even three shows an hour apart in order to accommodate all their guests.

“The rule was approved unanimously and was carried out during the men’s collections in June for the first time,” said Mario Boselli, president of the Camera della Moda, in a phone interview. “We were forced to do this because there are less days available to show the collections compared to previous seasons, and also because we want to conform to Paris’ fashion week,” Boselli said. The unwritten rule is that what the fashion houses decide to do with the rest of their time is not in the hands of the Camera. For this reason, while the calendar will show that Prada, Ferré, Sander and Versace are each holding a presentation, these houses will actually send out invitations to a second fashion show at a different time.

“We appreciate what the Camera is doing because we hope this is a way to help those attending the shows, but we will make people aware that there are two Prada shows,” said a Prada spokeswoman. Prada will show on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Not everyone was so understanding. Armani and Dolce & Gabbana have pulled out of the calendar, and other fashion companies expressed doubts about the way the schedule is being handled.

“First, we were asked to show after 5 p.m., so that our D&G show would not conflict with shows held at the fairgrounds and organized by the Camera,” said a Dolce & Gabbana spokeswoman, adding that the company felt this time frame was not the best for the press. Then, referring to the rule approved by the Chamber, the spokeswoman said it was “not compatible with the size of Dolce & Gabbana’s business: one fashion show is simply not enough.”

Accordingly, Dolce & Gabbana will hold two shows on Sept. 29, at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The spokeswoman said the company decided not to appear on the calendar because “it is not informative, since we can’t list our second show.”

Robert Triefus, Armani Group’s corporate vice president of worldwide communications, said in a phone interview Friday that the company had decided it will not appear on the calendar either.

“The Camera has introduced this policy that doesn’t make any sense,” Triefus said. “It’s a policy that does not make any allowance for the fact that bigger fashion groups need to be able to accommodate more people. Rather than confusing clients and the press [with shows that are not on the schedule] we’ve decided to remove our name from the calendar.”

The company will hold two shows for Emporio Armani on Sept. 28 and two shows for Giorgio Armani on Sept. 30, all at the theater in Armani’s headquarters on Via Bergognone.

Boselli said he “respected the designers’ choices, and their freedom.” At the same time, he said the Camera needs to put “some order” in the calendar.

“Obviously, whenever there is a big change, people need some time to adjust, but I’m not dramatizing,” Boselli said.

Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Krizia are not part of the Camera della Moda. A spokeswoman at Krizia said “this calendar leaves us puzzled and doubtful. We feel there is not enough clarity.” Krizia is having one show on Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m., presenting the Krizia and Krizia Top labels together.

Ferré, meanwhile, is slated to show on Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m. on the calendar, but he’s also having a 5:30 p.m. show the same day. “A calendar that does not include all the fashion shows that are actually being held does not fulfill its purpose, which is to inform. This is a serious thing,” a Ferré spokeswoman said. “The difficulties in preparing the schedule are completely understandable: we can’t avoid noticing, however, how these problems become less manageable and the situation more complicated every season. And this is a serious thing as well.”

A Versace spokesman said the company planned to stay on the calendar. In addition to a 9 p.m. show Oct. 1, the spokesman said Versace will hold a 7:30 p.m. show. Both will present the Versace and Versus brands together.