Diane von Furstenberg Responds to Milan Fashion Week Scheduling Controversy

diane von furstenber
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Diane Von Furstenberg has asked Milan to reconsider its fashion week schedule.

Talk about a scheduling conflict ...

Milan is refusing to budge on its planned Spring 2013 Fashion Week dates—which means, as previously reported, that the Italian leg of fashion month will conflict with both the New York and the London Fashion Weeks.

Though the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Italian equivalent) has been in talks with the organizers of the global events, a compromise has yet to be set—but CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg is asking for Milan’s cooperation in an open letter to the industry posted October 10 on the CFDA’s Web site.

Fashion shows are meant to allow designers to show their collections and vision for the following season.

Everyone goes through huge efforts at a large expense to make it easy and pleasant for the editors and retailers. The market has expanded greatly in the last years with Asia, Middle East, Russia and Brazil growing so fast. It requires a lot of coordination and planning.

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. 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 decision when we agreed to start Fashion Season in New York on the same day every year, which is on 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.

As the President of the CFDA, I represent my fellow designers. We share the same goals as Milan, Paris, and London. Everyone at the CFDA has great respect and admiration for the designers working in those cities Our shared goal is that we want the editors and retailers to see our work and to do theirs.

At a time of great uncertainty in the world, we are lucky to be part of an industry that is flourishing and that provides an enormous amount of jobs. We should not jeopardize that by being apart. It is most important that we show unity, fairness, and that we work together to ensure everyone is given equal benefit from our work.

As we say in fashion, the show must go on!

Diane von Furstenberg

Condé Nast has already pledged its support to New York and London should the conflict not be settled—which would mean that influential editors from Vogue and other magazines would not be in attendance at shows like Prada, Gucci, and Versace.

Milan’s response? “Let the best one win,” Mario Boselli, head of the Camera Nazionale della Moda, told Women’s Wear Daily.

We have definitely not heard the last of this. Stay tuned for developments.