It’s a wrap. London Fashion Week had one of its strongest seasons in years. In pure British style, the 5-day world-wind (Feb 17 – 21) combined a funeral, an awards show, the ‘coming out’ of Kate and William, designer debuts and some really great fashion shows. Held twice a year, London Fashion Week (LFW) is one of the most prestigious events in the fashion industry, showcasing the latest creations of some of the world’s most talented designers. LFW has been a major part of the global fashion calendar for over three decades and this year it became a British lollapalooza!
But first some history: London Fashion Week was first established in 1984, organized by the British Fashion Council (BFC) as a response to the dominance of Paris and Milan in the fashion world. The event was initially held in a West London car park, and featured just a handful of British designers, such as Jasper Conran and Betty Jackson. Over the years, London Fashion Week grew in popularity and stature, attracting a wider range of designers and international attention. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it became a platform for emerging talent, with designers like Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney making their debuts. In 2009, London Fashion Week was merged with the London Fashion Weekender, a consumer-focused event that allowed members of the public to see fashion shows and buy clothes directly from designers. This move aimed to make fashion more accessible and inclusive to a wider audience.
In recent years, London Fashion Week has continued to evolve and innovate. It has embraced new technologies, such as live-streaming and social media, to reach a global audience (which was extremely useful during COVID-19 lockdowns). It has also become a major platform for sustainable and ethical fashion, with many designers using environmentally-friendly materials and production processes.
LFW now attracts thousands of visitors from around the world, including industry professionals, journalists, celebrities, and fashion enthusiasts. It remains an important event in the global fashion calendar, showcasing the creativity and diversity of British fashion.
Left To Right: Kate Moss, Helen Bonham Carter, Victoria Beckham, and Will Young all attended the late Vivienne Westwood’s memorial service. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)London Fashion Week kicked off in a somber mood as prominent guests in the fashion world gathered to pay their final respects at the funeral of the late Dame Vivienne Westwood which took place on Thursday 16 February at Southwark Cathedral in London. The funeral was a star-studded event where actress Helena Bonham Carter delivered the eulogy and Chrissie Hynde performed. The Cathedral was packed with Westwood’s family and friends as well as plenty of fashion industry guests included Marc Jacobs, Kate Moss, Tracey Emin, Victoria Beckham, Paul Smith, Zandra Rhodes, Bella Freud, Stephen Jones, Matty Bovan, and Ellen von Unwerth. Many guests paid tribute to the late Westwood as they followed one of Westwood’s many mottos, “When in doubt, dress up!” And dressed up they were, as they streamed into the Gothic cathedral in their finery to pay their final respects to the pioneering designer and activist, who died Dec. 29 at age 81.
AN AWARDS SHOW & A ROYAL PDA MOMENT
The Prince and Princess of Wales had a rare PDA Moment (public display of affection) at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film & Television Award), which took place on Sunday, February 19th. The royals made sure to hold hands while walking down the red carpet and at one point the Princess playfully tapped William’s lower back as the paparazzi went wild. Princess Kate, who is a master at high-low dressing, looked stunning in a reworked Grecian Alexander McQueen gown (which she first debuted at the 2019 BAFTAs), paired with black gloves, and a pair of Zara earrings.
DESIGNER DEBUTS & HIGH BROW FASHION SHOWS
Daniel Lee debuted his Burberry collection by sailing into uncharted territory with more terrific color (case in point, cobalt blue) and faux fur than the heritage brand has seen in its 167-year history. Lee’s new vision for the iconic British house came laced with an appropriately cheeky duck motif. “The ducks I just found very British,” he explained backstage after the show to Vogue Magazine. “It made me think of the outdoors, and Burberry is an outdoors brand. It reminded me of rain, and protection.” After all, raincoats are in the brand’s DNA.
S.S. Daley’s collection for Steven Stokey-Daley was pure theatre. For Daley’s menswear show, he enlisted British actor Sir Ian McKellen (Shakespeare, popular fantasy and science fiction), who opened the show reading a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (of Ulysses and The Charge of the Light Brigade fame), a wildly unexpected surprise. AND OH SO HIGH-BROW!
Inspired by Lughnasadh, an Irish harvest festival with pagan origins, designer Simone Rocha turned her presentation into a ritual. The designer created beautiful lace gowns and crinolines that were stuffed with raffia.
Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu staged a fashion show entitled “Not a Man’s Territory,” which she stated came together after the arrest and death of Mahsa Amini in Iran late last year. The finale creation was Joan of Arc reincarnated, she told Vogue in an interview, “She’s coming back for revenge, dresses as she wants. And she has her knives.”
This season Jonathan Anderson was inspired by the Scottish dancer/choreographer Michael Clark. Looking through Clark’s archive, Anderson decided he needed to look through his own archives as well. The result, a collection that brings together costume details from Clark’s performances mixed with details from early JW Anderson collections. Overall, it was a cosmic dancer delight.
Christopher Kane sent out a series of slinky jersey dresses, printed with hyperrealistic images of piglets, rats, and chicks – talk about animal magnetism.
Florence Pugh knows how to make an entrance. So, who better than the bona fide red carpet star herself to open Harris Reed’s theatrical Fall 2023 show? The actress wore a harlequin sequin skirt with a thigh-high slit, a black corset top and a massive halo headpiece. Pugh set the tone for the event with a speech written by Reed about the transformative power of clothes. “In a sometimes judgmental world, our costumes can change who we want to be seen as, and who we are destined to be,” she said. “I invite you to embrace the lamé and sequins of life, because all the world’s a stage.” Reed offered ten beautifully detailed looks dripping in sartorial theatrics.
So tell us, what was your favorite moment from London Fashion Week?
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