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Catwalks fight as retailers feel pain

Caroline Nodder

Everyone likes a good scrap, especially when it distracts from some pretty stark realities closer to home.

Everyone likes a good scrap, especially when it distracts from some pretty stark realities closer to home.

So this week, as the unseasonal hot weather led to the worst trading figures seen since 2009, the fashion world was distracted by a set-to between the organisers of London, New York and Milan fashion weeks. A proper handbags at dawn scenario it seems, with Milan unilaterally moving its September 2012 show dates to clash with those of New York and London, apparently going against an agreement made between the cities in 2008.

London and New York are understandably angry, while Milan blames them for the confusion, but setting loyalties aside the politics behind this disagreement are actually quite interesting.

Historically, London Fashion Week was seen as a young upstart in some circles and looked down on by some. And while there is no suggestion that Milan’s decision was vindictive, it does now raise the spectre of designers, celebrities and indeed influential fashion editors having to choose one city over another. Could this be interpreted as a slap down, LFW having got “too big for its boots” with recent successes perhaps?

Certainly not all the comments I’ve seen on Twitter and various blogs and websites this week have gone Milan’s way, as might have been expected. Indeed, if this had happened three years ago it might have finished LFW, but the UK event, and the profile of its designers, is now able to stand its ground it seems.

This issue is almost certain to be resolved before crunch time through negotiation, and rightly so, as none of the cities would benefit in the long term if there was a clash.

Meanwhile, let’s hope the colder weather can kick-start autumn sales and bring some better news on the home front.   

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