The past few days have seen a faux pas occur in the Australian fashion industry, almost as dramatic as turning up to an event in the same outfit as another. If you follow such things you’ve probably heard that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia announced they would be moving their dates from May to the last week of March to be more in line with the international industry. The IMG-led event has finally listened to designers and other stakeholders calling for change, for which I happily pull on my jewel-encrusted applauding gloves.
Typically MBFWA is a five day “week”, so let’s assume they mean Monday 25 to Friday 29 March in 2013. Unfortunately the L’oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival announced weeks ago that they have staked claim to Thursday 21 to Thursday 28 March as dates for their 2013 event. Oops. Naturally LMFF is “disappointed” (read: “What the hell, guys?”) about MBFWA stepping on their shoes; LMFF’s cultural program runs for the whole month, let alone the – at present – heavy overlapping of main runway show dates.
For me this isn’t an argument of which event is better, more prestigious or more important. The audiences/delegates are different and they serve entirely different purposes. It’s just a logistical nightmare. Models, make-up artists, hair stylists and various agencies work across both. Aside from some media who may usually cover both events; LMFF’s official runways are each supported by a different glossy magazine out of Sydney each. I can’t imagine a way they would be able to devote the same or even adequate resources/staff/time to both events. And as for the all important post-event coverage, I feel the one or two pages the glossies may reserve for LMFF coverage the following month would have to be replaced by MBFWA content. I doubt they would devote space to both, as many local mags are notorious for under-representing Australian labels. This year’s festival also saw LMFF take a step forward in terms of giving their event a national perspective, rather than just a local one, so it’s tricky timing all round.
One silver lining; perhaps the media risers will be less crowded for those poor sardine-d photographers? I jest.
My thoughts at this stage are that one will simply have to move. Whether fair or not. Perhaps have LMFF in the first half of the month and MBFWA in the last half? It would be strange to have the Autumn Winter 2013 collections on show after Spring Summer 2013/14. It would still be a crazy/amazing/cramazing time for fashion in Australia, but at least feasible. I don’t know which I’d choose to (hopefully, pending accreditation) cover if they both refused to budge. Perhaps half and half depending on how many Melbourne labels take the trip to Sydney. What would you like to see happen?
Hybrid by young designer Natalia Grzybowski at LMFF 2012 / Photograph by Naomi Rahim