London, Milan Fashion Weeks Will Overlap In 2012

Fashion Week Face-Off, Battle of the Catwalks -- whatever you want to call it, there's a conflict brewing between the four cities over the scheduling of next fall's Fashion Weeks.

The Guardian reports that Italy's Camera Nazionale della Moda has announced dates for Milan's Spring/Summer 2013 Fashion Week that directly conflict with London's dates.

The shift is due to New York pushing its Fashion Week back to September 13, a whole week later than usual. With London falling between New York and Milan on the calendar, the British city is feeling the squeeze. The Cut summarized it nicely:

Milan wants to start on September 19, but New York plans to start on September 13 and London on September 21. After Milan decided to move its Fashion Week up to September 19, Paris decided to do the same, and now plans to begin shows on September 25.

Such a schedule goes against a 2008 agreement made between the cities, writes the Telegraph explains. The agreement stated that New York begins on the second Thursday of September, followed consecutively by London, Milan and Paris.

Said the British Fashion Council (England's CFDA equivalent):

"Camera Nazionale della Moda [the Italian body] and Chambre syndicale [the French one] have announced dates for September 2012 that contravene the fashion week dates agreement of September 2008.

We are in direct discussion with our counterparts and hope to resolve the matter over the next few weeks. We have a great deal of support from both international and domestic media and retailers in retaining the dates agreement."

Yet Mario Boselli, head of Camera Nazionale della Moda, says the 2008 deal was only valid for three years and no longer applies.

It puts designers as well as editors in a bind, as editors would have to prioritize which city is more important for coverage. Says Vogue UK's Alexandra Shulman:

"It is unacceptable for any of the four fashion cities to make date changes without collaborating fully with all the other territories. If an unfortunate situation arose whereby Milan clashed with London, as British Vogue we would have to support London."

Publishing company Conde Nast, which includes within it Vogue and W, is decidedly against the change and is taking a stand against Milan's move. According to Women's Wear Daily (also a Conde Nast publication), Conde chairman Jonathan Newhouse stated that "[all editors of Vogue] will not under any circumstances abandon the London or New York shows if the Milan shows are moved earlier."

Suffice it to say, the gloves are coming off. Said an anonymous source to the Telegraph, "If we have to go head to head, then we will."

Read more about the conundrum in the Telegraph and the Guardian.