Paris Puts Its Foot Down in Fashion Week Scheduling Debacle

Just when it looked like this whole mess was about to get straightened out France’s Chambre Sydicale de la Haute Couture has put its foot down, right on top of Milan. For those who haven’t been following the biggest feud in fashion the play by play goes something like this: For the last few years New York, London, Milan and Paris have each presented their fashion weeks one after the other with the understanding that fashion month was to start on the second Tuesday in February and September. New York and London claim they were under the impression that this was a permanent agreement, while Milan and Paris insist that the “second Tuesday rule” only applied for the last three years and is now moot. So when New York scheduled their 2013 Spring shows to begin on September 13th 2012, London followed suit and scheduled their shows for the next week the problem is, so did Milan! Suddenly editors and retail buyers the world over were thrown into a panic at the thought of having to choose between the London and Milan fashion weeks. Milan refused to push their dates back saying that it would not give their designers the time needed to fulfill orders, New York didn’t want to move forward because it would mean making designers, models and support staff work during the labor day weekend.

Finally after much back and forth between the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Italy’s Camera Nazionale de la Moda a tentative agreement was reached that would push New York up to the 6th of September and allow everyone to reschedule in accordance with the second Tuesday rule. However it would still require France and Italy to move their dates back slightly to accommodate London Fashion week. While it looked like Milan was ready to do so, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) is now reporting that Paris is still refusing to budge. Didier Grumbach, president of the Chambre Sydicale de la Haute Couture was quoted by WWD as saying:

“It was perfectly open and clear and very obvious that our members could not accept this, we fall at the end of the calendar. All of the member houses agreed that this would make them very late in taking orders, which in turn would be penalizing for deliveries. It’s an industrial reason: you’re a manufacturer, you need your orders early.”

While Mr. Grumbach’s  point is legitimate many find it hard to believe that a couple of days (which is the push back New York, London and Milan were asking of Paris) would have much of a detrimental effect on producing orders. Another theory is that Paris is using this opportunity to make their competitors in Milan squirm. With the Paris Fashion week unmoved Milan cannot shift theirs back and it is still overlapping the end of London’s fashion week, which is exactly what the Camera Nazionale de la Moda has desperately been trying to avoid every since publishing giant Conde Nast threatened to send all of its editors to London over Milan. Conde Nast is the corporation behind such fashion mags as Vogue, Glamour and W; and without their editors in attendance coverage of the Milan catwalks would be anemic.

No word yet on whether Conde Nast’s threat still stands now that Milan is trying to be accommodating, but with Paris doing the exact opposite you can bet that their are a lot of unkind words for the French being thrown around Italian fashion houses this week.

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