Here’s what you need to know about fashion’s reaction to Elizabeth II’s passing so far, from designer’s mixed tributes to news that the LFW party is over before it even began
The public response to Queen Elizabeth II’s death at 96 has been unsurprisingly mixed. On the one hand, we have teary tributes accompanied by sombre, black-and-white portraits of the late HRH. On the other, we have memes showing her BeReal as she greets Prince Philip and Thatcher in the fiery depths of Hell, or conspiracy theories that claim she was already dead when Liz Truss shook an “impostor’s” hand at Balmoral on September 6.
Yet more posters have mourned the cancellation of public events during lockdown, as we enter ten days of public mourning. Just because the Queen is dead and King Charles has ascended to the throne, they ask, why do we have to miss out on coming together as a community at events like Hackney Carnival?
Then, there’s the impact on fashion week, with London’s SS23 womenswear shows set to kick off next week, just in time to coincide with the Queen’s monumental funeral proceedings. Below, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about the tributes, cancellations, and schedule changes that lie ahead.
RAF AND BURBERRY SS23 ARE OFF THE CARDS
Two labels that have made the decision to nix their shows completely in the wake of the Queen’s death are Raf Simons and the Great British mainstay Burberry. “We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen,” wrote Burberry on Instagram in response to yesterday’s news. “We join the Royal Family in mourning her loss.” Later in the evening, a Burberry representative expanded on this statement, noting that the fashion house is cancelling its September 17 presentation “as a mark of respect”.
Just now, Raf Simons has taken similar action, in a more significant blow to this season’s London schedule. “Following the devastating news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we have decided to cancel the Raf Simons catwalk show on the 16th of September,” reads a statement from the label. “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.”
“We will continue to keep you updated on our future plans for the SS23 collection.”
It’s unclear, at the moment, whether other labels will follow suit and cancel their respective shows as well, despite plenty of rumours and speculation. Burberry is also yet to confirm whether its SS23 show will be rescheduled or wiped off the schedule altogether.
FORGET ABOUT THE AFTERPARTIES
When Raf Simons announced his namesake label’s departure from its usual spot on the Paris schedule in favour of London Fashion Week earlier this year, the designer said: “It’s been a dream for a while to show in London [...] I’m extremely excited that this dream is becoming a reality now, and I’m very happy to welcome the amazing people and faces that make up the London scene to my show. Can’t wait to see you and dance the night away.”
Unfortunately, dancing the night away is looking increasingly unlikely, not just because of Raf cancelling his main show, but because a slew of labels have also announced the cancellation of the many smaller events that orbit their main shows, such as parties or store openings. This comes at the recommendation of the British Fashion Council.
It’s not all bad news, though: other core events at fashion week still have the go-ahead. “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,” says the BFC in a statement. “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.”
Shows that are set to take place on the date of the Queen’s funeral – which is yet to be confirmed, but takes place ten days after her death according to royal protocol – will also be rescheduled. Those currently set to take place on September 18 include Nensi Dojaka, 16Arlington, Halpern, Simone Rocha, Stefan Cooke, and Richard Quinn.
THE TRIBUTES ARE POURING IN
Alongside Burberry and chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci, JW Anderson and Christopher Kane have effectively led British fashion’s response to the Queen’s death. “Our longest-serving monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, dedicated her life to the service of her people,” reads a post on the JW Anderson Instagram account. “Our thoughts are with her family at this time.”
Christopher Kane adds: “We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. Our condolences go out to the rest of the Royal Family. We hold a deep respect for Her Majesty’s reign and her service to the United Kingdom and the commonwealth. May she rest in peace.”
Donatella Versace came through with a similarly affectionate caption, suggesting that “we have lost one of the greatest women in the world [...] an inspiration to us all.” As did Vivienne Westwood, in case we weren’t already clued in about the designer and dame’s relationship to her punk roots – on Instagram, the label suggests that we all “owe [the Queen] our gratitude” for the national service she performs, which “holds the country together”.
Many other brands have kept things short and sweet, posting statements to Instagram stories in the vein of Nensi Dojaka: “We, as a team, join the royal family in mourning the loss of Her Majesty the Queen.” Richard Quinn, who received the inaugural QEII Award for British Design from the Queen herself, who made a surprise appearance at fashion week in 2018, simply posted a monochrome image of the late monarch, captioned with a love heart emoji.
Naturally, there’s also been some small deviations from the overall tone of Respectful Mourning (and we’re not just talking about suspect posts from the likes of Boohoo and Ann Summers – “Thank you Ma’am”). Dilara Findikoglu, for instance, responded to the Queen’s passing with two Instagram stories: one unearths an archival photo of Madonna taking her gloved hand, and the other evokes the Sex Pistols’ anti-monarchy anthem “God Save the Queen”.
Alessandro Michele kept it comically simple, posting a photo captioned: “Ciao Lilibet.” Naomi Campbell, in chaotic fashion, gave us a slideshow captioned: “END OF AN ERA: HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN… you gave us a life long service, unparalleled in everyway [sic] condolences to the entire Royal family. A wife, a mother, a grandmother and great grandmother A QUEEN. Rest In Peace YOUR MAJESTY.”
The London Fashion Week website itself has been updated with the message: “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.”