MILAN — With under two weeks until the first models strut down the runways here, fashion houses and the press are anxiously awaiting a definitive calendar.

Arranging the runway times is always a tedious and delicate task. But this season, it appears to be more challenging than doing the seating plan at an Italian wedding.

As of Tuesday, the Camera Nazionale della Moda, Italian fashion’s governing body, had yet to issue a precise schedule for the shows, which run from Feb. 24 through March 5.

At the center of this fashion fiasco is timing: Industry insiders and the Camera della Moda say designers don’t want to show at the beginning of the 10-day calendar because they believe editors and buyers are arriving later in the week and thus would miss the earlier shows. What has emerged is a calendar conundrum with empty slots at the beginning of the week and an overload during the last four days.

In an attempt to persuade designers to buck the trend and show early, the Camera della Moda sent an impassioned letter to fashion houses late last week. In the letter, obtained by WWD, the Camera said it has had “extreme difficulty in organizing the calendar.

“Everything has been worsened from the trend by fashion houses to request to show later in the calendar. Meanwhile, the logic would be to have a more rational distribution throughout the entire week.”

One fashion executive, who requested anonymity, said the calendar has become a point of contention for everyone involved.

“Everyone is fighting for later dates because they know that’s when the foreign press and foreign buyers will arrive,” he said.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Prada empathized with foreigners making the trans-Atlantic trek. “You can’t expect editors to be away for that long. There’s really nothing wrong with an early date. Miu Miu started off as a presentation,” she said.

As for the tentative schedule, Prada-owned Byblos is showing on Feb. 26, while Prada and Miu Miu are showing on March 1 and March 5, respectively.

Nicola Del Verme, an up-and-coming Italian designer in his third season, said he was not thrilled with his place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 28.

“This is an important season for me. I’m doing well on the national level and now it’s time to branch out. Unfortunately, most foreign press will not be arriving until Thursday night or Friday morning and will probably miss my show,” he said. “There’s nothing we can really do except work with our time slot.”

Between 100 and 110 companies are vying for show times. Mario Boselli, president of Italy’s Camera della Moda, said ideally there should be 10 shows a day for 10 days. The current state of the calendar, however, could call for 20 shows daily at the end of the week with only five runway presentations a day at the beginning.

“Obviously, from a strictly numbers perspective, it’s impossible to schedule 20 shows a day,” Boselli said. “In the last days of the calendar, we have three to four designers requesting the same one-hour block.”

Although the Camera della Moda has yet to finish the calendar, it has offered a solution.

“The problem could be resolved if the established, major designers would show earlier in the week. If they did, the press would attend,” Boselli said. “We’ve done everything we can. In the end, we can only advise [fashion companies]. It’s their final decision whether to accept that advice or not.”

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