THE verdict on Milan? Just too early, according to some of the biggest Italian names. In a bid to grab store buyers' bucks, the Milan shows have moved so far forward in the season they are almost taking place the season before.

To explain: we fashion folk have become accustomed to thinking 'it is snowing outside, so we must be watching the summer shows' or 'it's boiling, and therefore these clothes must be for winter'. But now, it is dreary outside and we are looking at winter clothes.

The designers are not happy either. The new dates mean that they have far less time in which to design and complete their collections. For this reason, many of them appear to be looking to New York as an alternative venue. The New York shows have stuck to their April dates for this season, which means that the likes of Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren have rather longer to think about things.

Stefano Gabbana, of Dolce e Gabbana, is rumoured to be looking to join them. So is Gianni Versace (long enamoured of the United States) who is rumoured to have people scouting out Stateside show venues. Other plans from the King of Flash? There is talk of a show at his opulent lakeside mansion at Como, in northern Italy, where Bruce Springsteen and George Michael have been guests. So was Prince, who allegedly never opened the shutters, and said 'What lake?' when asked what he thought of the view.