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Milan Tries to Swindle New York Out of a Fashion Week Day

DVF Anna WintourThe international catwalk war is still raging but now Milan's playing smart. The home of Italy's esteemed fashion week released a statement that'll possibly pit New York and London against each other in the conflict over September catwalk scheduling.

The turf war started when Milan decided to change their show dates due to factory production deadlines, setting their new schedule to overlap with London and New York's September 2012 fashion weeks. The world was furious and New York's CFDA alleged that the Milan fashion body, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI), was reneging on a 2008 international fashion calendar agreement. Conde Nast International's Jonathan Newhouse warned the Italian fashion body that Conde editors would abandon any Milan shows what conflicted with New York or London catwalks.

Milan has decided to cave a little—or more accurately, it decided to pretend to cave as part of a pretty ingenious power play. The CNMI released a statement saying that it would move its September 2012 fashion week back to the previously agreed upon schedule under the condition that New York forfeit one of its fashion week days to London in 2013 and 2014. So New York's eight-day fashion week would be shaved down to seven, to accommodate a day for menswear shows in London.

In the recent past, London's menswear shows have overlapped with Milan's first day of fashion week, and the majority of fashion editors skipped the Brit boys in favor of the legendary Italian houses showing off their latest creations on the catwalk. Milan had never previously offered to move its shows back a day to accommodate London, but its offer to reconcile the fashion week drama hinges on New York's willingness to make that sacrifice.

To be honest, eight days of NYFW seems like a lot (I'm being selfish. It's exhausting!), but I can't imagine that fashion's cutthroat power people (Queen Fashion Bees, Vogue Editor Anna Wintour and CFDA President Diane Von Furstenberg come to mind) are going to relinquish any of their ground. New York's eminence as a fashion city is at stake, here: it would be a sign of serious weakness for the American fashion capital to surrender any of its time to show.

The Italian fashion capital knows that New York is going to be reluctant to cede any of its own ground to London, maybe unfairly, so this maneuver could very likely pit the two English-speaking fashion capitals against one another, possibly edging Milan out of the drama.

The proposed changes to the schedule would also push Paris Fashion Week a couple days back. Lest you forget: this whole kerfuffle came about because Milan was worried about its tight production deadlines. And if any of the parties disagree to these terms, Milan will rescind its offer to play nice. Milan's power hungry fashion industry needs to take a time out.

The CFDA confirmed that they received Milan's statement (not major news: it was a press release) but didn't comment further. The British Fashion Council released a careful but more detailed statement:

“We have just received an official letter from the Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana following their board meeting earlier today. We will discuss this proposal directly with our counterparts at CNMI, CFDA and Federation Française de la Mode. Our priority is to find stability and an agreement to ensure the focus can be on our designers and their collections in time for fashion week in February.”

This is war.

[Read more at WWD & Fashionista]

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