London prepares for four days of parades and the Queen’s funeral – WWD

London prepares for four days of parades and the Queen’s funeral – WWD

LONDON – And just like that, in 72 hours, Britain had a new prime minister, a new king, and mourned the death of its longest-serving monarch, who fulfilled his duties to the end.

The first full week of September will be remembered by many Brits as surreal. It began with the election of Liz Truss as prime minister, her plans to tame runaway energy costs and to keep the lights on in the country amid a biting cost-of-living crisis.

The following day, Queen Elizabeth II, as head of state, accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson and asked Truss: his 15 yearsth prime minister – to form a government.

On September 8, with that job done, the Queen died at Balmoral, her beloved Scottish castle, private home and informal summer retreat where she had famously hosted picnics and barbecues – and even helped clean up.

His death shook a country where many had suspended all disbelief and expected him to reign forever, or at least for a few more years. Why not? She had happily served on the throne for 70 years and her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, was nearly 102 when she died in 2002.

Few here would remember the death in 1952 of the last British monarch, Elizabeth’s father, George VI, which means that Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z are, like it or not, Elizabethan born and raised.

Not everyone admired her, but many did and, according to an instant YouGov poll, 76% of Brits said they were upset by her death, while 44% said they cried or got excited after. having learned the news.

Regardless of whether they cried or not, business leaders in particular have described her work ethic, endurance, and sense of duty as extraordinary. After all, what kind of person is still at his desk attending meetings at 96?

“The Queen exemplified a form of leadership that is rare today,” wrote Orlando Martins, founder of one of the UK retail’s leading executive recruiting agencies, Oresa. “When others rushed to lead change, she represented stability, dignity and consistency. She has moved with the times, but she has not been led astray by them. “

Positive Luxury, a consulting firm that helps luxury companies with their sustainability and ESG efforts, described the queen as “the very embodiment of commitment and a catalyst for global collaboration.”

London’s tributes to the Queen during a period of national mourning.

Francisco Gomez de Villaboa / WWD

The British fashion and retail industries persist in this spirit, carrying on their business and commitments. After two years of lockdown, double-digit inflation rates and a cost-of-living crisis that will only get worse this winter, they have no choice.

There are already those who believe that closing operations on Monday, the day of the funeral, could be a further blow to the UK’s already struggling economy. Monday was declared an extraordinary national holiday here, although businesses are not required to close.

Retailers and brands large and small, including Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty, Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Apple, Acne Studios, Tommy Hilfiger, De Beers, and Zara, expect to close on the day of the funeral.

Selfridges, Liberty, and Mulberry were among the stores that went black shortly after the queen’s death last week. Others have postponed the events until the end of the month and until October.

Simon French, Panmure Gordon’s chief economist and London Times columnist, estimates that Monday’s public holiday could reduce economic output by “at least” £ 2 billion based on evidence from previous one-off holidays. Such a decline could lead to flat or negative growth in the third quarter and plunge the country into recession.

Retailers aren’t so sure the impact of Monday’s closures will be so dramatic, and many are determined to pay homage that day by stopping operations.

Commercial retail bodies interviewed by WWD were reluctant to speculate on the impact of the holiday as they did not want to be seen as exploiters of the queen’s death. Some said the closures were unlikely to weigh heavily on retailers, many of which are international and have strong online channels.

“I haven’t heard of any companies complaining about this yet, and while there will be an impact, in the long run it is unlikely to make much difference one way or another,” said a representative from the retail sector. .

Another added: “We have not heard of any concerns from members. Most focus on paying homage. Hotels will likely see increased sales at the funeral and that could spill over into retail. We may see brands absorb the cost of closing on holidays, but we will see strong sales before and after the funeral. “

Retail leaders also said they expected a rebound in business at the coronation of King Charles III, which could take place in the first half of next year.

London tributes to the Queen outside Buckingham Palace

Francisco Gomez de Villaboa / WWD

London hotels, hit hard by a two-year lockdown and the loss of Chinese and Russian tourists, have already significantly increased their prices before the funeral, which is expected to attend more than 2,000 heads of state, royalty and other VIP guests.

The best restaurants are booked up on weekends and the trains and the London Underground are full of people on the go.

In the coming days, before the funeral, nearly 1 million people are expected to descend into central London to pay their last respects to the monarch. The Queen will lie in state at Westminster Hall until the morning of the funeral, which will take place at Westminster Abbey.

People have already waited in lines of miles long, all night and in the autumn drizzle, for a chance to pay their final respects to the monarch in his Platinum Jubilee year.

London Fashion Week is also moving forward, no frills and with a greater focus on business.

As reported, the organizers tore up the show’s original calendar and rearranged all the activities that were previously scheduled to take place on the day of the funeral. The shows officially start on Friday morning and will run until Sunday evening. There are no shows on Monday and they resume on Tuesday, the last day of London Fashion Week.

Some designers, including Raf Simons, have postponed their shows, while Burberry will present its spring 2023 collection in London on September 26, between Milan and Paris. As reported, Alexander McQueen had already planned to unveil his spring 2023 collection on 11 October, on the eve of the Frieze Art fair, which will be held from 12 to 16 October.

Christopher Kane is a stylist who has decided to move forward. It will stage a live parade for the first time since February 2020. It begins at 8pm local time on Sunday evening, when the prime minister has called for a minute of nationwide silence to remember the queen.

Brands, designers and buyers are excited and eager to carry on the show week despite the sober moment. No one interviewed by WWD canceled their trip to London precisely because of national mourning or funeral.

London’s tributes to the Queen in Green Park, opposite Buckingham Palace.

Francisco Gomez de Villaboa / WWD

Tatiana Hambro, editorial director of Moda Operandi, said that London fashion shows “represent huge commitments: financial, creative, personal and otherwise. It is important to recognize these efforts and the immense talent of the city. Her Majesty was the ultimate example of steadfastness and unwavering dedication. I grew up in London. I am grateful to be here to witness this important moment in our history and I am also proud to support the fashion community of the city during this period. “

Jodi Kahn, Neiman Marcus Vice President of Luxury Fashion, said he wanted to participate in the shows “to support the designers who have spent a lot of time and effort preparing their shows after two very difficult years. I have no doubt that we will unite as an industry to celebrate her Majesty’s legacy the Queen and the creative aspects of her life. “

Michael Kliger, managing director of Mytheresa, said his team will be strong.

Mytheresa offers a number of London-based brands including Burberry, Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, David Koma, Emilia Wickstead, Erdem and JW Anderson.

Kliger said the timing of London Fashion Week is unfortunate, given the mourning period and the funeral, but “we feel very engaged in the London fashion industry and particularly small and medium-sized brands. The amount of effort to make it happen. preparing for shows is insane, so if London brands decide to move on with their shows, our team will be there and ready to support them. “

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