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Calendar Clash: Milan Contests Sept. 2012 Show Dates

Milan wants to shake up the show calendar — and New York and London are digging in their heels.

Milan wants to shake up the show calendar — and New York and London are digging in their heels.

The spring 2013 shows are slated to kick off in New York on Sept. 13 — a date that’s become a thorn in the Milanese side, with Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, lashing out at a calendar he believes was foisted upon the Italians by New York’s Council of Fashion Designers of America.

In 2008, the governing fashion organizations of the four fashion capitals — New York, London, Milan and Paris — agreed to kick off the collections season on the second Thursday in February and September. Sometimes — like this year — that means the New York shows start three days after Labor Day, but for the next three years, the shows will kick off the following week. Boselli claimed the second Thursday rule was only for the short term.

“After three years, we should sit down and decide on the next three years, and we don’t understand why the CFDA has single-handedly set the New York show dates later in September next year,” Boselli said. “What are the reasons behind this arrogant step? We have to redefine the calendar all together.”

The chamber, he added, stands “united and firm,” as it does not want to postpone its shows too late into September or be “squeezed” in between London and Paris. “If anything, several Italian designers would like to see the shows running earlier, some even in July,” he said.

While it would not impact the February shows, Boselli explained that shows later in September would fall “too late for production.”

CFDA chief executive officer Steven Kolb and Caroline Rush, his counterpart at the British Fashion Council, were adamant that the second Thursday rule was a long-term agreement. “I hold confident it was not a three-year agreement and I would not be doing my job for American designers if we had negotiated short term,” Kolb said.

“That’s what we agreed to and that’s what we’re moving forward with, and I know nothing else otherwise,” he added. “If we hadn’t changed to that second Thursday from two years ago, fashion week in New York would have been during Labor Day.”

Didier Grumbach, president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, was not present at the meeting in 2008 and unaware of any such agreement. “What’s sure is that it is too late to change anything for 2012, but I’m sure that any problem with dates can be sorted out for 2013,” said Grumbach. “What’s tricky for us right now is that the Paris calendar has become too full.”

Any issues pertaining to Paris’ women’s ready-to-wear schedules will be taken up at the Chambre Syndicale’s general assembly in late October, Grumbach said.

Boselli, for his part, is insisting the date issue needs to be addressed. “All this upsets the equilibrium and in light of this development, the chamber is now rethinking the status quo and evaluating the time frame that would work best for its members,” he said. “We will not have a decision ready before the end of October.”