British heritage brand Burberry and Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons have announced the cancellation of their SS23 London Fashion Week shows in light of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Burberry was the first to confirm its cancellation, making a statement on the morning of 9 September saying that it would not be going ahead with the event, which was scheduled for 17 September, as a ‘mark of respect’ for the Queen and the Royal Family.
A spokesperson for Burberry told The Independent: “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. As a mark of respect, we have taken the decision to cancel our Spring/Summer 2023 runway show due to take place on 17 September in London.”
The house also paid tribute to the Queen across its website and social media channels, posting a picture the Queen alongside the caption, “We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen. We join the Royal Family in mourning her loss.”
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Later the same day Belgian designer Raf Simons, who had swapped Paris Fashion Week for London for the SS23 season, announced that his eponymous brand would also no longer be staging its 16 September show at London Fashion Week. In a statement, the brand said: “As the country enters a period of official mourning, we will pause during this time of great sadness.
“We will take this time to respect the legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her 70 years on the throne. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family and the people of the Commonwealth.”
At the time of writing, Burberry and Raf Simons are the only brands to have pulled out of London Fashion Week, with the British Fashion Council (BFC) announcing before news broke of the Queen’s passing that London Fashion Week would go ahead from 15-19 September regardless of developments. However, there is some speculation that further brands may choose to rethink their fashion week plans, particularly as the event clashes with the Queen’s funeral, which is expected to take place on 19 September. Brands currently scheduled to show on this day include Roksanda, Christopher Kane and Emilia Wickstead.
In a statement released on Thursday evening, the BFC said: “London Fashion Week is a business-to-business event, and an important moment for designers to show their collections at a specific moment in the fashion calendar, we recognise the work that goes into this moment.
“Therefore, shows and presentations of collections can continue, but we are asking that designers respect the mood of the nation and period of national mourning by considering the timing of their image release.”
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The BFC has, however, recommended that any ‘non-essential’ events, such as parties and dinners, be postponed or cancelled during the UK’s official 10-day mourning period. It too, paid tribute to the Queen, sharing a portrait taken by British photographer David Bailey and remembering the Queen’s involvement with London Fashion Week and the British fashion industry.
The message from the BFC reads: “It was a great honour in 2018 to host Her Majesty at London Fashion Week to launch the QEII Award for British Design which recognises design excellence and positive impact. Her Majesty’s effortless style, charm and sense of fun was evident and her passion in supporting young creatives will continue to inspire the next generation.”