London Fashion Week in squeeze talks with rivals

Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:04pm EDT
 
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By Golnar Motevalli and Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters) - British Fashion Council (BFC) chief executive Hilary Riva will hold crisis talks with rivals in Paris, New York and Milan on the third day of London Fashion Week over a timing squeeze that threatens London next season.

A BFC spokeswoman told Reuters that New York, which precedes London, would like to change its dates and stage an eight-day fashion week, leaving London with as little as four days to hold its event before the Milan shows begin.

"We're being squeezed in the middle," said a BFC spokeswoman who said Riva would try to massage the dates with her counterparts at the Tuesday meeting.

The writing has been on the wall since the Council of Fashion Designers of America, of which the designer Diane von Fürstenberg is the head, said it planned to push the date of New York Fashion Week back by a week from February 2009, which would mean it would clash with the British collections.

The spokeswoman said New York would also like to change its dates in part to avoid the Labor Day holiday and late summer when Italian garment factories are on holiday, making the production of samples for the spring/summer shows difficult.

Riva was not immediately available for comment and the spokeswoman would not be drawn on questions about the precise nature of her suggestions to stave off a squeeze to London Fashion Week, which generates some 100 million pounds ($176 million) in business and 50 million pounds in media advertising.

DEFIANT

Some London stalwarts presented a defiant face to suggestions that their week could come under pressure from New York and Milan, confident that London's reputation for cutting edge design would protect its international appeal.   Continued...