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Deal Reached in Show Date Discord

Organizations say confirmation will allow all four fashion capitals “to successfully plan for the long term.”

Peace reigns — for now.

This story first appeared in the April 20, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Following months of back and forth negotiations over fashion week schedules among the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the British Fashion Council, Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and France’s Chambre Syndicale, an agreement has finally been reached.

In a joint statement issued Thursday, the CFDA and the BFC confirmed that they have agreed the dates for fashion weeks in New York and London through September 2014. “Both the BFC and CFDA are confident that this confirmation will ensure the smooth running of both fashion weeks, and allow for designer brands and businesses in all four fashion capitals [New York, London, Milan and Paris] to successfully plan for the long term,” the organizations stated.

New York Fashion Week’s dates will run as follows: Sept. 6 through Sept. 13; Feb. 7 through Feb. 14 and Sept. 5 through Sept. 12 in 2013, and Feb. 6 through Feb. 13 and Sept. 4 through Sept. 11 in 2014.

London Fashion Week’s dates will be: Sept. 14 through Sept. 18; Feb. 15 through Feb. 19 and Sept. 13 through Sept. 17 in 2013, and Feb. 14 through Feb. 18 and Sept. 12 through Sept. 16 in 2014.

Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA, said that the organization had “tried to change the dates and keep [the start] on the second Thursday [of September and February], so that American designers would have more time for the delivery of fabrics and for preparing their collections. We worked hard to get Paris and Milan to agree with the second Thursday start and, unfortunately, we were unable to convince them otherwise, and so our first Thursday start is based on Paris and Milan’s decision to not move their dates.”

For September, the New York shows will therefore always kick off on the Thursday after Labor Day.

“At this point, there is no issue for us,” Kolb added. “We tried and didn’t succeed, and so we had to compromise our dates back to the first Thursday. Our energy is now best spent on being creative, and letting the strength of American fashion be seen on our runways.”

Thursday’s announcement got the thumbs up from Paris and Milan.

 

“Common sense has prevailed,” said Mario Boselli, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. “I am pleased that an accord has been reached, and it is one that took into consideration two points that were important to us: it’s a three-year agreement, and not a 20-year one as somebody had suggested, and it’s a schedule that is underwritten by all parties. We entirely approve of this [confirmation], which is a sign of respect to all operators, buyers and editors involved, who, while facing the complexities of the markets, can at least count on the certainty of the calendars.”

Milan’s fashion shows will take place Sept. 19 through Sept. 25, then Feb. 20 through Feb. 26 and Sept. 18 through Sept. 24 in 2013. The Camera has not yet confirmed its show dates for 2014.

Didier Grumbach, president of the Chambre Syndicale, said he was “happy” with the decision. The Chambre Syndicale in December said its members had voted unanimously to stick to its planned dates for Paris Fashion Weeks in 2013 and 2014, thwarting weeks of efforts by organizers in New York, Milan and London to reach agreement on the show schedule.

The slotted Paris dates are as follows: Sept. 25 through Oct. 3; Feb. 26 to March 6 and Sept. 24 to Oct. 2 in 2013, and Feb. 25 to March 5 and Sept. 23 to Oct. 1 in 2014.

The confirmation of dates comes amid speculation that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York could be relocating once the five-year contract between IMG and Lincoln Center expires. Relations between IMG and Lincoln Center are said to be difficult, and sources close to IMG said that the company has explored other venue options, but declined to be more specific.

Many consider the Hudson Yards project as a potential venue for fashion week. The ambitious $15 billion development project on the far west side of Manhattan as a potential site for future New York Fashion Weeks was endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last November, more specifically its sprawling, modern center called the Culture Shed.

Whether IMG is seriously considering the site when its contract expires in 2015 remains unclear.

“We’re still within the contract [with Lincoln Center],” Peter Levy, managing director and senior vice president of IMG Fashion Worldwide, said.  “We consider ourselves solution providers, and we always look at necessary solutions and what is best for the industry.” For the time being, “It’s business as usual,” he added.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, director of fashion for Lincoln Center and fashion consultant for IMG, reiterated the contract between IMG and Lincoln Center. “When the time comes to revisit what the future holds, both IMG and Lincoln Center will make the decision,” she said.