Big draws like Burberry and Raf Simons canceled their shows, followed by London staple Roksanda (which personally I was most devastated by) and many editors-in-chief dropped out from attending altogether. The parties? Also axed, including the one I was most excited for: Kate Moss x Diet Coke.
Still, after the initial shock and blow to the calendar, most designers carried on and many parties were rescheduled for London Frieze Week in October. The shows meant to take place on Monday (the day of the Queen's funeral) were moved to other days on the LFW schedule instead. (Shoutout to the British Fashion Council and larger London fashion community for adapting to such unusual circumstances.)
I rather enjoyed the low-key nature of it all. The lack of street style, mega celebrities on the front row and infinite parties meant there were fewer distractions and more time to soak in the collections and the designers' resilient spirits. That Chopova Lowena, Christopher Kane and JW Anderson stayed was huge, and everyone was talking about newer names like never before (especially Dilara Findikoglu and Standing Ground).
Below, the most noteworthy London fashion moments for Spring 2023.
There was no shortage for tributes to Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away just days before London Fashion Week. The British Fashion Council set up a station for showgoers to write letters in her memory at the main Fashion Week venue, while designers had their own odes for her on the runway.
Some were more direct, like the finale look at JW Anderson: a black T-shirt dress with "Her Majesty The Queen" on the front. Others' tributes were a bit more subtle, like at Halpern, where the opening look came out to no music. It was a blue caped look with headscarf that paid homage to a 1957 ballgown the Queen wore to greet French president Charles de Gaulle. S.S. Daley had a candlelight vigil close the show and Richard Quinn's first half was an all-black, funeral-inspired lineup.
New designers shone more than ever this season amidst the circumstances. Harri, the Kerala-born menswear designer who founded his eponymous label in June 2020, had models bounce on trampolines while wearing his inflated latex creations with insane, bubbly proportions.
The name I kept hearing most about in lines and in car rides was Dilara Findikoglu, the Turkish-British designer and Central Saint Martins grad with an eye for gothic romance — see: her use of real human hair, blood red silks and sculpted feather tops.
And Standing Ground, shown as part of design incubator Fashion East, went viral for designer Michael Stewart's simple dresses with sinuous rope details that molded around the body.
While Simone Rocha showed a few male models at her last show, this was the designer's first fully fledged menswear offering. The masses got a taste of it with her H&M collaboration, but now we can see menswear vision come to life. If you expected safe suits and traditional menswear tropes then the tiered tulle tops and pearl accessories put those inclinations to rest.
Harris Reed's Campy Debutante Ball
Harris Reed was carrying a big secret the day of his fashion show, as the industry later learned: he's to be the new creative director of Nina Ricci, the Parisian womenswear and fragrance brand with a long history. Ahead of London Fashion Week, he made a plea on Instagram to “to support the small brands" on the schedule. His spectacle of a show, a fluid debutante ball, featured crinolines and supersize hats as well as a performance by Adam Lambert.
The KNWLS vibe — apocalyptic, edgy, hyper-feminine — seems at odds with the cozy softness of UGG, which made their collab reveal on the runway all the more surprising. There were two styles: the UGG Classic Tall II boot studded with bronze hoop piercing embellishments and a heeled square-toe ankle boot with UGG's Twinface.
Chopova Lowena has attracted a cult following since its founding in 2017 thanks to its patchwork pleated kilts and kaleidoscopic knits. This season marked its first runway outing, bringing its signature Bulgarian handcraft, garish '80s rock vibes, folkloric punkish energy to a live audience on streetcast group of friends and peers.
After a nationwide minute of silence, Christopher Kane, one of the cornerstones of London Fashion Week, held his show after years of presenting digitally. The massive Camden venue the Roundhouse was the setting for his IRL comeback, where he showed his biology-inspired collection of lace-y slips and human anatomy motifs (including dresses with hands covering (protecting?) the private areas.
This JW Anderson Top
A halterneck top made out of old computer keys because why not.
Photos courtesy of brands
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