The spring/summer 2023 edition of London Fashion Week felt like a big comeback following the pandemic years, with the return of Burberry and JW Anderson, and the debut of Raf Simons in the capital. But with the event taking place just days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II and falling within the official 10-day mourning period, many expected the proceedings to be cancelled or postponed.
However, official guidance issued by the government said, “there is no obligation on organisations to suspend business or to cancel or postpone events during the National Mourning period”. While adding that “as a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral”.
With the Queen’s State Funeral planned for Monday, September 19, the British Fashion Council has reworked the schedule, moving all shows and presentations from the penultimate day of LFW to other slots. This includes Christopher Kane moving into Richard Quinn's Sunday night slot, as he is now set to close LFW on Tuesday evening.
The BFC also added that LFW would be "scaled back to focus on business," meaning no parties or events beyond collection presentations and catwalks will be permitted throughout the event.
For some, brands including Burberry and Raf Simons have cancelled as “a mark of respect,” while others were forced to withdraw due to their venue's having royal affiliations or because of the many road closures across the capital, as part of the funeral preparations.
For younger, emerging designers, cancellation wasn’t an option, with many designers including Harris Reed, SS Daley and Chet Lo, stressing how important it is to showcase during London Fashion Week.
On Instagram, Harris said of his fellow young designers that they have “put their entire brand budgets into their shows to bring in sales and brand awareness with the outcome being they are hopefully able to grow and not go under or restructure.
“It’s so important, now more than ever to support and be there for the small brands at London Fashion Week.”
LFW to honour Queen
Designers have also told the BFC that they wanted the showcase to go ahead to celebrate the Queen’s “legacy and commitment to creativity and design”.
The BFC will also honour the memory of The Queen during LFW with a minute of silence. The gesture is scheduled to take place at 8pm on Sunday, 18 September, before the Christopher Kane SS23 catwalk show.
LFW is also asking that all union flags fly at half-mast to honour The Queen and is also inviting fashion guests to share their tributes to the monarch on its website as well as at a dedicated space at the NewGen Venue at Selfridges Hotel. Digital and physical tributes alike will be placed in a condolence book and gifted to the Royal Family.
The Queen understood the importance of fashion to the UK economy, and in 2018, she attended LFW and presented Richard Quinn with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Since that achievement, Quinn has established himself as one of the main attractions at LFW, and it is thought that the designer will pay tribute to The Queen during his show.
London Fashion Week officially kicks off Thursday, September 16 with Daniel W. Fletcher, and runs until Tuesday, September 20 with Quinn closing out proceedings.