Just when there was a glimmer of hope for the international Fashion Week calendar to get straightened out, the French fashion authority has announced that it cannot comply with the tentative plan drawn up by its counterparts in Italy, England and the United States.
Women’s Wear Daily reports that members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the France’s answer to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, voted yesterday not to accept the new fashion week schedule proposed by teams in New York and Milan. Designers and show organizers from those cities have been negotiating with each other since early October, when Italy’s Camera Nazionale de la Moda said it would hold onto its currently scheduled dates if New York pushed the start of its fashion week in September 2012 back behind Labor Day.
New York and Milan have since ironed out a few kinks, but not all of them — specifically, both cities have provisionally agreed to adopt the second-Thursday rule, which stipulates that Fashion Month will start on the second Thursday of February and September for the next few years. But the hinge is that Milan wants New York to shorten its fashion week from eight days to seven, and New York doesn’t want to do that.
The whole time, Paris has been mostly silent — or at least it hasn’t been very public in its opinion of the matter. Didier Grumbach, president of the Chambre Syndicale, told WWD that French fashion designers simply cannot withstand having their dates pushed back any further — and the thinking is that if France holds firm on its dates, so too will Italy.
“It was perfectly open and clear and very obvious that our members could not accept this,” Grumbach said. “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 are a manufacturer, you need your orders early.”
Still, Paris Fashion Week already comes at the end of the fashion calendar, and for the most part it always has. The delay Grumbach is complaining about is a matter of one or two days, not weeks or months — and for that reason, we think New York still has a chance to convince its international counterparts that it really does need the extra day. Whether that will actually happen depends on who takes their big girl pill first, so to speak, and decides to make a meaningful compromise.