While in Milan at the weekend, I dropped in on Nigel Cabourn to see his new autumn 13 collection and to have a look at his debut womenswear pieces.
I intended to just pop in, but Nigel’s enthusiasm for his work, textiles, construction and history meant I spent a good hour immersed in a world of 1,000g cashmere, taped seams and Sir Edmund Hillary.
Along with the coat chat, Nigel let slip how disappointed he was that London Collections: Men (LCM) had decided to overlap with Pitti Uomo as, being a luxury British brand of note and because his construction and fabrics are UK-based, he would have loved to exhibit at both shows this season. Furthermore, he said he hopes the calendars work out so that for his autumn 14 collection he could do both, assuming that LCM and Pitti both play ball. I’m sure there must also be plenty of other big players weighing up the same dilemma.
Now I’ve bleated on long enough about the schedule and its many problems, but this just highlights how frustrating the situation is and how, in the end, no one wins. Surely LCM should be falling over itself to get Nigel Cabourn on the line-up? Luxury? Check. British? Check. Menswear? Check. Yet while it overlaps with Pitti, Cabourn is going to favour the Fortezza as the buying pedigree of the Florentine show is too much of a draw.
Next year is going to be even worse, as January 1 is a Wednesday, meaning that unless by some act of God Milan Men’s Fashion Week doesn’t start on Saturday 11, LCM will again be trying to squeeze itself into a spot at the beginning of the week commencing January 6. What the British Fashion Council should do is take the mature decision to show on the weekend of January 4 to 5. Yes, it’s a little soon after everyone’s back from Christmas, but if it means they secure stronger brands and buyers don’t decamp to Pitti at the first sign of a double monk strap, what’s not to love?