By  on August 30, 2007

MILAN — Milan's compact fashion week calendar is shaping up to be more grueling than ever.

Although the schedule has not yet been finalized or confirmed, the city's shows, scheduled to run Sept. 22 to 29, will be squeezed into the four central days, from Monday to Thursday. Versace's decision to move its show from Friday to Thursday, Sept. 27, prompted a number of fashion houses to try and slot their presentations before Versace's, leaving only a small number of brands to close the week.

Byblos, Ermanno Scervino, Blugirl, Dsquared and Luisa Beccaria are now set to present their spring collections on Friday, Sept. 28.

"Italian designers are not aware of their strength," said Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, in a phone interview. "They don't have the courage to stand up for their right to have a longer fashion week, conversely to their French neighbors."

Once again, Boselli lamented the fact that Italian fashion houses fear the international press will desert their shows if they are not strategically positioned. A spokeswoman for Versace said the company had no comment.

Giorgio Armani is set to kick off the week on Monday, Sept. 24. C'N'C Costume National, Krizia, D&G, Just Cavalli, Trussardi, Burberry Prorsum, Moschino Cheap & Chic, Gianfranco Ferré and Alessandro Dell'Acqua also are slated for that day.

For the first time, Ferré will hold a single show in an evening slot in a new location, the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, a museum and exhibition space in the new Via Tortona/Via Bergognone fashion district. While Giorgio and Emporio Armani, Prada, Marni, Gucci, Fendi, Jil Sander and Versace will continue to hold two shows, a Ferré spokesman attributed the decision to schedule a single show to a logistical need.

"We wanted to help streamline the calendar with a practical solution, but one show was not possible in our own headquarters," said the spokesman.

Rather than marking a break with the past, following the death of the founding designer last June, the Ferré spokesman underscored the continuity offered by the location. The spokesman said the Fondazione was "the best solution, in line with the prestige of the brand and its DNA, an extraordinary location in terms of its architecture, functional and elegant in a contemporary way."He also said the quality of the venue confirmed "the importance of culture, art and excellence" for the maison. The late designer started showing in his headquarters in October 1998. The Fondazione will be able to accommodate the 1,000 guests expected, said the spokesman.

While Anna Molinari, designed by Rossella Tarabini, was forced to find a slot off the official calendar on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Blumarine, designed by Tarabini's mother, Anna Molinari, will show on Tuesday, Sept. 25, preceded by Sportmax and followed by La Perla, Missoni, Bottega Veneta and Moschino, Etro, Iceberg, Pollini and Prada.

Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emporio Armani, Gucci and Brioni likely will show on Wednesday, followed by Alberta Ferretti, who also will host a dinner for almost 200 people. "There is no particular reason — no anniversary or special occasion — simply a desire to liven up Milan and entertain our guests," said a company spokeswoman.

Marni, Dolce & Gabbana and D&G are also not on the official calendar. The first, wanting a morning slot outside the fairground, opted for two shows on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Dolce & Gabbana will show on Thursday, Sept. 27. Although a comment from the designers was not available at press time, Boselli attributed their decision to an "old controversy" with the Chamber of Fashion, which earlier this year voiced its displeasure with the brand's advertising campaign for spring and its aggressive image against women.

Also on Thursday, MaxMara, Les Copains, Pucci, Fendi and Jil Sander also are slated to show, with Versace holding 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows at its new theater.

"The only thing we can do is to change the structure of fashion week, which in 2009 will run from Wednesday to Wednesday, with a strong weekend in the middle," said Boselli. "Designers should really try to do the right thing to help out the system," he added.

Among the new entries next month, Victor Victoria will make a comeback under new owners, and New York footwear and accessories brand Stuart Weitzman is expected to hold a presentation in Milan. Also coming up, Martin Margiela will open its first boutique in the city's central Via Spiga, close to the renovated Blumarine boutique, also slated to reopen during the shows.

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