London Fashion Week keeps calm and gets creative

In the 24 hours after Queen Elizabeth II passed away, it looked as though London Fashion Week would not go ahead. Burberry immediately announced that it would pull its Saturday show (it has since been rescheduled for September 26), followed by Raf Simons. Dinners and parties were called off at the behest of the British Fashion Council.

In the end, shows that overlapped with the Queen’s state funeral in London on Monday were moved or scrapped, but most designers stayed the course — “after two-and-a-half years of Covid, we couldn’t afford not to”, said designer Michael Halpern.

Instead designers acknowledged the Queen’s passing by dedicating their collections to her, beginning with a moment of silence — or, in the case of Richard Quinn, sending out 22 black looks with film montages of the late monarch as a backdrop. (In 2018 Quinn became the first and only designer to host the Queen at a fashion show, where she awarded him the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design.)

It was good that they carried on, because it was a standout season. In spite of soaring inflation and the setbacks of the past two-and-a-half years, designers delivered strong collections that laid the foundations for future business growth. Having carved out space in the womenswear category with her darkly romantic clothes and reasonably priced accessories, Simone Rocha debuted her first full menswear collection under the frescoed dome of the Old Bailey. She fused the feminine with the utilitarian, softening a black nylon bomber jacket with dropped shoulders and full blouson sleeves over a frilly white skirt; embroidering a white shirt with pink camomile flowers; weaving thick harness straps through a shrunken black suit.

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