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London Fashion Week opens with tributes to Queen Elizabeth

(Source: Reuters/Henry Nicholls)

From an all-black opening look to models holding a picture of Queen Elizabeth, London Fashion Week began with tributes to the late monarch as fashionistas paid their respects during the period of national mourning.

Organisers announced last week that London Fashion Week would go ahead as a “business-to-business event” while observing royal protocol and holding tributes for the 96-year-old queen who died on September 8.

Parties have been postponed and Monday’s shows, the day of the queen’s state funeral, have been rescheduled.

While bigger brands such as Burberry and Raf Simons, among the most-anticipated highlights this season, pulled out of the September 16-20 event, for smaller labels doing so is tricker.

“So the shows and presentations, which is the business-to-business part, where the designers show their collections to international media, retailers, stylists… (is) part of a global fashion calendar. It can’t be moved,” Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, told Reuters.

“London is a platform for incredible creative businesses, many independent businesses and they’ve already committed spend. So we need to make sure that we’re supporting them to be able to continue.”

Models present creations during the Bora Aksu catwalk show at the London Fashion Week.

Among the tributes planned is a book of condolences from the fashion industry, which once saw Elizabeth sitting front row at a London show, and fashionistas will join in a national moment of reflection – a one-minute silence – on Sunday evening ahead of the Christopher Kane show.

On Thursday evening, designer Daniel W. Fletcher held a minute’s silence before sending out his first model in a black suit and a black armband.

“I thought as we are opening the event it was important to mark that moment,” Fletcher told London newspaper the Evening Standard.

Spanish sustainable brand Sohuman ended its Friday show with models, their eye makeup smeared as if crying, holding a picture of Elizabeth and with drawings of the crown or “RIP” written on their hands.

Designer Javier Aparici’s colourful collection consisted of dresses in bold shades or with floral prints.

“After the pandemic, the situation around the world is very complicated,” he told Reuters.

Models prepare backstage ahead of the Bora Aksu catwalk show during London Fashion Week.

“And we think it is important to empower women with colours flowers, attitude, [and] energy.”

Turkish designer Bora Aksu also held a minute’s silence ahead of his show, where he presented his usual array of frilly feminine dresses, as well as military-style jackets and hats.

  • Reporting by Sarah Mills; Additional reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Isaine Blatry; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, of Reuters.

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