Following the announcement that Burberry and Raf Simons would be cancelling their SS23 shows as a mark of respect for the Queen, the British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced major changes to its plans for London Fashion Week.
Originally scheduled to run from 15-19 September 2022, the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September means the event falls squarely into the 10-day period of national mourning and clashes with Her Majesty’s funeral, which is taking place in London on 19 September. However, the BFC had confirmed prior to the Queen’s death that the event would still take place regardless of developments with her health and said in a statement released on 12 September that it is working to ensure London Fashion Week showcases and supports designers while remaining respectful to the Queen’s memory.
“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 legacy and commitment to creativity and design.”
This, however, does not mean London Fashion Week will be going ahead as planned. In addition to Burberry and Raf Simons, Roksanda has also announced the cancellation of its SS23 show, which was due to be held in one of London’s Royal Parks. All shows taking place on 19 September have been rescheduled in respect of the Queen’s funeral, which has been designated a national Bank Holiday.
Among those affected are Christopher Kane, which has been moved to an 8pm slot on 18 September, and Emilia Wickstead, which will now take place at 10.30 on 20 September. The national one-minute silence will also be held at the beginning of the Christopher Kane show.
The addition of an extra day to the schedule will likely cause headaches for the international fashion community, who will now have to choose between missing the last day of London Fashion Week and the first day of Milan Fashion Week. However, with the major Milan shows not beginning until 21 September it is likely many will remain in London to view collections by Richard Quinn and rising star Chet Lo.
In line with advice issued by the BFC on 9 September, brands have been asked to scale back or postpone any planned openings, parties and non-catwalk events. This includes the BFC’s own City Wide Celebration, which was due to see events take place in over 200 stores, bars and restaurants across the capital. The City Wide Celebration will now take place in October and is suggested by the BFC as the perfect time for brands to reschedule any postponed or cancelled events. The BFC is also offering both online and physical spaces at the Newgen venue at Selfridges Hotel for visitors to pay their respects to the Queen.
Despite the fact London Fashion Week is still going ahead there is, understandably, consternation from small brands – for whom a fashion week show represents a huge marketing outlay – that coverage of this year’s show may not be what they had hoped for. With regards to this, the BFC has asked that media outlets cover the shows as normal wherever possible but refrain from posting street style content until after the Queen’s funeral.
For its part, the BFC has confirmed that it plans to update its own website and the London Fashion Week website with imagery and information about the new collections as usual but will not promote London Fashion Week on its BFC social channels until 21 September. The London Fashion Week social channels will, however, be offering new content from the shows throughout the week.