Byline: Miles Socha

PARIS — Alexander McQueen will not have a glitzy farewell couture show at Givenchy this Sunday.
Late Thursday, the house announced that it has cancelled its 3:30 p.m. show at the massive Salle Marcel Cerdan exposition space, which would have accommodated some 700 seated guests and about 100 photographers.
A spokeswoman for the house cited “production problems” as the main reason for the cancellation, saying there simply would not be enough dresses ready for a major presentation. In lieu, Givenchy plans to have two showings at its haute couture salon on Avenue Georges V for clients only.
But behind-schedule seamstresses, a widespread problem for couture houses under France’s strict 35-hours-per-week labor law, are only part of the story. Sources said Bernard Arnault, chairman of Givenchy parent LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, was loathe to have McQueen, who defected to arch rival Gucci Group last month, win more publicity for himself at LVMH’s expense with a big runway spectacle. Today’s theatrical couture productions can cost in excess of $500,000.
The Givenchy spokeswoman said McQueen designed a full couture collection and he was in the throes of fittings in Paris Thursday for those dresses that will be ready on time. The designer is expected to be present for the showings for the 120 invited clients.
The house plans to invite editors to see the collection by appointment next week, and to lend outfits for editorial shoots, but no McQueen interviews or customer couture previews are in the offing, the spokeswoman said.
The show cancellation moves Gucci-owned McQueen and LVMH one step closer to divorce. The Givenchy spokeswoman declined to comment on when McQueen might exit the house or when a new designer might be named, saying his contract extends through October.
Sources said Arnault is still in search of a successor. The list of candidates is believed to include Alber Elbaz, Olivier Theyskens, Martine Sitbon, Veronique Branquinho, Jeremy Scott and the Dutch couture duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren.

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