CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg has been fighting hard over the past week to convince Milan to abandon their new show dates for next fall, which conflict with New York and London Fashion Weeks. Despite overtures from the CFDA and the BFA, as well as threats from American Vogue editors to boycott the Italian shows, Milan Fashion Week organizers have aggressively stuck to their guns, no doubt emboldened by the essential advertising dollars that several Italian designers (Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada) provide to British and American publications. Yesterday, Diane von Furstenberg tried once again to smooth things over with an open letter to "the fashion community," in which she blamed the whole scuffle on "a misunderstanding".
Editors, retailers and designers like the consistency of every designer always showing on the same day of the week season after season. It makes it so much easier for everyone to plan and attend shows. Clearly, year after year, the calendar changes for there are 7 days in the week and every new year the calendar advances 1 day. Some years it will be better for some cities, some years not.
That is what is happening in September 2012. I believe our friends in Milan did not understand that. We did not change from the agreement we reached of starting Fashion Season in New York on the same day every year, which is the second Thursday of February and September. It is the nature of the calendar.
I also believe this conflict is a misunderstanding. I am convinced it will be resolved and that the agreement that was made 3 years ago at great cost and effort is valid and will be kept.
Meanwhile, British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman told the BBC that Milan Fashion Week will suffer the most by scheduling their shows concurrently with London's:
Right now, London is probably one of the biggest fashion capitals in the world, and there would be no way that people wouldn't choose to come to London rather than Milan.
It's unclear what it'll take to placate Milan's organizers, who have also gotten Paris organizers on their side (the shuffle leaves Paris's show schedule intact). However, one possible solution would involve starting New York Fashion Week a few days earlier, thus giving Milan more show dates. This remains unlikely, since it would ruin Labor Day Weekend for all Americans in the fashion industry, which would really be the pits.