This season's London Fashion Week was advertised as the industry's first real homecoming since the pandemic: a celebration, a return to the community at the heart of it all. But a week out from its opening night, an unprecedented event took place: the death of its longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
The country immediately entered into an official 10-day mourning period and soon after the announcement, the British Fashion Council sent out an address canceling all parties and non-essential events. Weighty names, such as Burberry and Raf Simons, then put the pin on their shows, prompting an emergency over-200-person industry Zoom call to discuss whether the week should be canned entirely to avoid the backlash that would undoubtedly come from the likes of The Daily Mail for continuing on. But ultimately, the decision made, arrived upon through separate WhatsApp chats between designers in the hours following, to present a united front in support of London's debut and young talent: the ones who'd organized sponsors, spent beyond their means, and rallied the help of friends, relatives and volunteers to bring their collections together, all amid the backdrop of a looming recession.