So, before I start telling you about the latest drama in the September 2012 fashion week scheduling crisis, I should let you know that I'm beyond confused: this is a trilingual scandal in a ridiculously wealthy industry that's incapable of clarity and oblivious to the upsides of transparent business practices.
Also, everyone is so catty. Milan has just released a trove of "evidence" demonstrating that they aren't reneging on the 2008 international fashion calendar agreement and a letter from Mario Boselli, chairman of of Italy's governing fashion body, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI). Boselli accuses the American and British fashion communities of "an arrogant and aggressive attitude towards Milan" and claims that the Italian capital wasn't overstepping by scheduling its September 2012 shows one day before the end of New York Fashion Week and overlapping all of London.
The letter itself is less than lucid, which is probably a function of translation, but the accompanying documents are totally mystifying: first, there is 2008 press release from the British Fashion Council stating that Milan, New York, and Paris had agreed to preserve London Fashion Week. So Milan's patting itself on the back for having once had goodwill towards the British fashion capital? The second document is the body of an email sent by the CNMI in March, 2010, stating that the fashion body had decided on schedule dates only for 2010, 2011, and 2012. So, the international fashion agreement might have an expiration date, but the current scandal is about the scheduling of September 2012 shows. Since the original email was sent well into 2010 and included a schedule for 2010, the schedule was made in real-person years, not fashion years. Meaning: in March 2010, Milan had already shown its Fall 2010 collection but was still talking about 2010 scheduling. So it seems that the agreed-upon dates include shows that occur in 2012, not shows for labels' 2012 season collections, which are shown six months in advance. (Still with me? Told you this was confusing.)
Now that Milan is waving around inscrutable records to justify the inopportune timing of its shows, I think it might be time for us to see the actual scheduling agreement between the four fashion cities in 2008. I went digging for it, but it doesn't appear that the full document or even the details of its terms was actually ever made public. When WWD broke the news of the agreement on September 16, 2008, it said only that "the world's fashion capitals have reached a peace agreement regarding the show calendar from 2009 onward," and didn't mention a specific time frame.
For all of Milan's evidence, why can't they just produce the actual agreement? Why can't someone produce the agreement? Anyone? Did it get it lost in designer sketches and department store invoices? Was it written down on unicorns with ink made out of dreams?
Previously on TFS: