London Fashion Week begins its first post-Brexit season
Brace yourself for the first post-Brexit season in London, which will dominate the coming long weekend. It has finally happened, and nobody in the UK or throughout European fashion seems terribly happy about that.
Few industries are as global as fashion, especially when one considers how many of the clothes seen in London shows are actually manufactured in continental Europe. And how many non-British designers chose to show in London. A scan of the British Fashion Council’s official show schedule indicates that the majority of creators were not born in the British Isles.
The five-day season opens Friday, February 14, and climaxes on Tuesday evening with the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The Queen attended the opening award – given to Richard Quinn in 2018 – and a senior member of the Royal Family will do the honors this month.
Caroline Rush, the Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, confirmed that Alighieri’s Rosh Mahtani would be honored with the award this year, adding, “Mahtani is an inspiration for many young British designers and we look forward to presenting her with this prestigious award.”
Though the biggest gala show in London will welcome back an old friend Tommy Hilfiger, who will unveil his fourth TommyxLewis collection in collaboration with the British Formula One multiple world champion.
Another new arrival is Austrian innovator Petar Petrov, who has moved his show from Paris to London, while France’s MM6, the diffusion collection by Maison Margiela, will also be presenting again.
As for the NEWGEN designers, Rush commented: “These young designers are known for their creativity, strong design aesthetic and point of difference and include Alighieri, Halpern, Isosceles, Matty Bovan, Richard Malone, Richard Quinn and NewGen One To Watch; Eftychia.”
Plus, the city will also be featuring its heavy hitter houses – starting with UK luxury’s one truly global behemoth, Burberry. Along with its younger and often avant-garde stars – JW Anderson, Erdem, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Simone Rocha and Victoria Beckham.
The BFC has also introduced an experimental zone named Discovery LAB, which will feature music, workshops and the projection of Yohji Yamamoto 1983 – 2016. There will be a new Model Zone, a relaxing space where models can eat, drink and relax. To help guarantee their privacy and safety, the BFC has deliberately kept that location secret.
With some 60 shows, the choice remains rich in London, thanks to designer houses of the caliber of Amanda Wakeley, Chalayan, Fashion East, Huishan Zhang, Margaret Howell, Mark Fast, Marques'Almeida,Richard Quinn, Roland Mouret and BFC Fashion Trust Recipient Molly Goddard.
Rush also welcomed back the Positive Fashion Exhibition, a "curated space with 39 brands showcasing a presentation, campaign or interactive storytelling experience that answers to one or more of the three pillars of Positive Fashion: Environment, People, Craftsmanship & Community.”
According to the BFC, the whole season is “set to unite London with 78 brands, 103 stores and 346 events taking place across five days in partnership with key retailers, cultural institutions and businesses, aimed at opening London Fashion Week to new audiences and communities.”
In a word, a rich selection of quirky, cool and commercial. And despite alarm bells in Brussels about the tougher negotiating position of the new government under Boris Johnson, Downing Street is still very much open for fashion.
Maintaining a tradition under both Conservative and Labour governments, there will be a reception at Number 10 for senior fashion leaders. Not exactly a no-deal stance, fortunately.
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