London Fashion Week has been thrown into crisis after heavyweight Italian fashion brand Gucci, who will show their spring/summer 2012 collection in Milan on Wednesday, ordered countless models to fly to Milan early to begin fittings for their show.
The move has left the bi-annual fashion event in chaos with models being pulled from shows at the eleventh hour, leaving London-based model agencies outraged and threatening to boycott London Fashion Week next season if the British Fashion Council don’t re-organise the London schedule and intervene to prevent what they perceive as bullying tactics by both New York and Milan Fashion Weeks.
Problems began when Marc Jacobs moved his New York show back to make up time his design team lost when Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast of America. Jacobs’ show ran so late on Thursday night that the models couldn’t catch the last flight back to London so had to be pulled from Friday’s London shows.
“We’re not just talking about one or two big girls,” Carole White, the founder of London-based model agency Premier Model Management told us, “Jacobs had numerous models holding on options right up until the day of his show meaning they all stayed in New York just in case they got cast.”

Despite London’s recent ranking as the world’s supposed fashion capital, London Fashion Week always seems to be getting the short end of the stick.
Silently understood as the lowest-ranking of fashion’s biggest cities — New York, Paris and Milan being the other Big Three — London has suffered in recent years, trying command the same respect and attract the same glitz as the other three fashion weeks.
During the recession, top US buyers stayed away because of the rising British pound. High prices in the UK have also pushed models to skip London, saving money and time by jetting straight from New York to Milan, as the Guardian reported.
Now the Telegraph reports that London Fashion Week has suffered another blow. Italy-based Gucci, with its show kick off Milan Fashion Week tomorrow, has ordered nearly a dozen models to fly from London to Milan early to begin fitting for its show.
“It’s been a total nightmare for us,” a source from designer Todd Lynn told the Telegraph. “We lost 10 out of 19 girls. We were getting calls from agents at 1.30am on the morning of the show pulling girls we had just fitted, while other girls just didn’t turn up to fittings at all after they’d been confirmed. When we called their agencies to find out where they were, we were told sorry, they’ve gone to Milan.”
London already felt the pressure in the early days of Fashion Week last week, having been squeezed by the postponement on Marc Jacobs’ New York show. Now the designers and casting agents are being squeezed at the end, as the models take flight so they can make the most of the Milan show — without being totally exhausted.
“The girls get off a plane from New York, jet-lagged and are expected to stay up all night doing castings and fittings” famed model manager Carole White told the Telegraph. Between the tight schedule, jam-packed days (sometimes 11 shows per day) and the spread-out nature of London’s geography, “It’s a logistical nightmare and extremely unprofessional,” says White.
It drives the top models to skip London altogether, sources in London say. And that, in turn, will drive top brands like Burberry and Tom Ford, who showed in the UK this season, to present their runway shows elsewhere.

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