London Fashion Week kicked off with a minute’s silence in homage to Queen Elizabeth II at the Daniel W Fletcher show before a model in a black morning dress and matching armband hit the runway.
Noticeably different from the usual fashion fanfare, LFW attendees on Thursday night were simply relieved that it was really happening.
Last week, there was a time when it wasn’t clear if LFW would go on, falling as it did during the national mourning period and colliding with the royal funeral.
Within 24 hours of the queen’s death, Burberry, a royal warrant holder, declared that she would cancel her show. Raf Simons, the Belgian designer and creative co-director of Prada who normally shows in Paris or New York (a big hit for LFW), was the second big name to drop out of school, ditching his Friday night debut.
On Monday, the British Fashion Council, which runs LFW, released a statement clarifying that fashion week will go on, albeit a toned down version with all scheduled funeral day shows rescheduled and banned parties.
For many new designers, the loss of established names like Burberry and strict new guidelines has had a huge ripple effect. “The biggest brands have the funds to do what they want, but for small designers like me we have a huge impact,” said Dilara Findikoğlu, a London-based Turkish designer whose show was moved from Monday to Saturday afternoon. , leaving her with two days less to prepare.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and Brexit uncertainty, the fashion industry was looking forward to this season.
The UK fashion industry is worth £ 32 billion in the country and LFW is a prime opportunity for designers to attract international press and buyers. The late Queen even recognized its importance in 2018 when she sat front row at Richard Quinn’s show before awarding him the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II award for British design.
Findikoğlu, like many emerging designers, had worked with a sponsor who would cover most of his costs. They have now abandoned, resulting in future debt. “It’s very stressful. All the things I don’t want to have to worry about, I’m worrying, ”she said.
Designers and guests were asked to take into account “the mood of the nation”. BFC guidelines suggest hiding Instagram posts and street style photographs until the end of the mourning period.
Sophie Mechaly, the founder of Paul & Joe who has been showing in Paris for more than 15 years and in London for the past three, has rethought the soundtrack of her show, softening its happy atmosphere while the touches of style will pay homage to the Queen.
Related: The Queen’s Death: Which Events Were Canceled and Which Will Go on?
On Sunday evening, the one-minute national silence will be observed at Christopher Kane. Meanwhile, Thursday night at Harris Reed, a bride holding a bouquet of lily of the valley (a nod to the queen’s favorite flowers) closed the show as Adam Lambert performed a heartwarming rendition of Who Wants to Live Forever.
Subsequently, Reed, who supported its continuation, said, “When you’re a small brand, you have two chances a year to make a big moment. We couldn’t afford not to.”