Queen Elizabeth II was long a supporter of British fashion, launching the QEII Award for British Design at London Fashion Week (LFW) in 2018 – sitting front row at her first fashion show, and presenting Richard Quinn with the inaugural award.
The UK's period of mourning and the funeral on September 19 comes at a tricky time for the British Fashion Council, which was gearing up for London Fashion Week between September 15-20.
"We are devastated to hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II whose reign will be marked in history as one of empathy, strength and grace. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family as we celebrate The Queen’s life and remember her extraordinary legacy," says a statement on the London Fashion Week website.
After some confusion over whether LFW would go ahead, it’s still on – albeit with some major changes. Here’s everything you need to know about the altered event, and how British fashion is paying tribute to the late monarch…
The British Fashion Council would like to thank our partners, designers, creative teams, brands, media, retailers, patrons and broader stakeholder community. To read the full impact on the event please visit https://t.co/DXkIjIAdO9. pic.twitter.com/XHyOQ73CAN— London Fashion Week (@LondonFashionWk) September 13, 2022
"As a business-to-business event London Fashion Week will continue while observing Royal Protocol and the event will be dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with our own moments of respect. Having spoken to designers and industry members, we as an industry want to unite as a creative and business community to celebrate Her Majesty’s legacy and commitment to creativity and design," a statement reads on the LFW website.
All shows scheduled for the day of the funeral are to be rearranged. This includes some established names (Emilia Wickstead and Roksanda), as well as some of London’s most exciting up-and-comers – such as Supriya Lele and Chet Lo. Many have found space elsewhere on the schedule – such as buzzy designer Chopova Lowena, who is now in a prime Friday-night slot – while others are still working out their options or picking a new date entirely.
Burberry was previously scheduled for the Saturday of LFW, but was one of the first fashion houses to announce it would be cancelling its show in light of the Queen’s death. It now has a new date, off schedule – on September 26, between Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks.
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Raf Simons was an exciting addition to the schedule – the Belgian designer has previously helmed Dior and Calvin Klein and is currently co-creative director of Prada. He was planning on bringing his eponymous label to the capital on Friday – but the show has been cancelled, with no word yet on whether he’ll reschedule in London or not.
The day after the Queen died, Oxfam announced its show Fashion Fighting Poverty would be cancelled, writing in an email: "Our show was due to be staged during the period of national mourning as part of London Fashion Week. The British Fashion Council has asked that all non-core business events on the official schedule, which includes Fashion Fighting Poverty 22, during London Fashion Week are either cancelled or postponed."
All the parties that normally come with fashion week are being cancelled as a sign of respect – including, this year, a Saturday night rager that was going to be hosted by Kate Moss, celebrating Diet Coke’s 40th birthday.
The shows still going on
While the mood will undoubtedly be a lot more sombre than we’re used to seeing at LFW, there are still plenty of shows to look forward to.
Northern Irish designer JW Anderson is making his return to London after a few seasons in Paris and Milan – expect eclectic handbags, bright knits and red carpet-worthy outfits.
Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard and Halpern are all on the schedule as usual, as well as some newer names to watch out for – including Tove, and anyone supported by the NEWGEN initiative.
From Burberry to Christopher Kane, many of the LFW stalwarts have posted tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II on their social media channels, and respects will continue to be paid throughout the event.
According to the LFW website, during the event, all Union Flags will fly at half-mast, there will be a one-minute silence at 8pm on September 18, there’s a space to add your condolences on the British Fashion Council website, and the NEWGEN Venue at Selfridges Hotel "will have space for the industry to write tributes".
All these tributes will be made into a condolence book for the royal family after LFW wraps up.