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Fern Mallis on Fashion Week's Scheduling Battle to the Death

Fern Mallis at this year's Fashion Week, photo via Getty Images
Fern Mallis at this year's Fashion Week, photo via Getty Images

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The WSJ sat down with Fern Mallis to talk about some Fashion Week logistics and got her opinion on the all-consuming scheduling battle between the mighty foursome of Fashion Weeks—New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Here's her take on it:

There's quite a brouhaha about which fashion week comes first. I lived through that shift once. New York was last, always until Helmut Lang moved his business from Belgium to America and set up headquarters here. And he said, "I don't want to show after Europe, I want to show first." Talk about a seismic shift. Europe wasn't terribly happy about that, they loved being able to say they did everything first. But we've shifted in the past. On the one-year anniversary of 9/11, we made a deal with London because no one wanted to show. Ultimately the dates are what caused fashion week to be evicted from Bryant Park. If I put my money on it and guess, I think maybe they will get together and move New York up a few days.

Because whenever there's money involved, there's going to be a fight. Ever wonder how much a show costs? Mallis says that Karl Lagerfeld's epic Chanel shows cost millions of dollars, naturally, but at Lincoln Center, the going range is between $60,000 and $200,000. "The largest expense is usually the models." She also adds that designers get packages with the venues for lighting, sound, staff, etc., so the more you change, the more you pay.

But what about those fashion weeks outside of New York, London, Milan, or Paris—what does she think of them? She states that "Paris is the mothership of fashion weeks" but that everything else besides that and the other three are like "pearls adding to a necklace of fashion weeks around the world."

Like the Middle East, they are working with international brands but not launching new collections that buyers world-wide need to see. In all reality, I feel bad for all fashion editors and buyers who come back after having been on the road for a month. I mean, stop, where else are they going to go?

· Fashion Week's Instigator [WSJ]
· What a Mess [Racked]
· All Fashion Week Coverage [Racked]