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

Organisers announced last week that London Fashion Week would be run as a “business-to-business event” respecting royal protocol and paying tribute to the 96-year-old queen, who died on September 8. Holidays have been postponed and performances on Monday, the day of the Queen’s state funeral, have been rescheduled.

While major brands such as Burberry and Raf Simons, among this season’s most anticipated highlights, pulled out of the September 16-20 event, for smaller labels to do so is somewhat misleading.

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

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

Among the planned tributes is a book of condolence from the fashion industry to be shared with the royal family, and fashionistas will join in a national moment of reflection – a minute’s silence – on Sunday evening at 8pm (1900 GMT) ahead of Christopher Kane. 

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 were opening the event it was important to mark that moment,” Fletcher told London’s Evening Standard newspaper.

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

Designer Javier Aparici’s colorful collection consisted of dresses in bold hues or floral prints. “After the pandemic, the situation around the world is very complicated,” he told Reuters. “And we think it’s important to empower the woman with many colors of flowers, attitude, energy.”


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