The eyes of the fashion world were today fixed firmly on the capital, as London Fashion Week got into full swing. The five-day extravaganza began last night with Conde Nast’s Vogue World spectacular — London’s answer to New York’s Met Gala — at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
The hour-long celebration of British theatre and fashion, directed by Stephen Daldry, featured FKA Twigs, Stormzy, principals from the Royal Ballet and a finale by Annie Lennox including supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.
This was the first time Vogue World had been held in London, having been launched in New York last year - and British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful was among those hitting the red carpet. This was overseen by super stylist Harry Lambert (the man behind Harry Styles’ makeover) and was a plethora of edgy fashion forward looks. Sienna Miller cast off her M&S rebrand in pregnant-belly exposing Schiaparelli, Jodie Turner-Smith embraced the knickers on-show trend in Viktor & Rolf, while Winslet wore a white Paul Smith trouser suit.
All proceeds from ticket sales are to be donated via grants to a selection of arts and cultural organisations.
Burberry, the linchpin super brand of the five-day event, has taken over Bond Street station, rebranding it Burberry Street. It has also bedecked Bond Street itself in branded flags, covered black cabs in its English rose print, and will scatter chalk stencils of its re-worked Equestrian emblem across streets and parks. It’s an ambitious commitment to showcase Daniel Lee, its creative director, who will unveil his second collection in Highbury Fields on Monday.
The activities are part of its Burberry Streets initiative, which will move onto Seoul and Shanghai in October. Jonathan Akeroyd, Burberry’s chief executive, said: “We’re excited to launch our global series of takeovers here in London, bringing our brand to our customers in an immersive way. We’re celebrating not only the arrival of our Winter 2023 collection but also British culture and creativity.”
Last September, London Fashion Week was drastically pared back following the death of the Queen. This year’s event is a poignant return to form. Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said: “The opportunity to unleash the creativity of British designers and British fashion and showcase it on a world stage has never been more important. For businesses, whilst thriving creatively, the trading environment is challenging. The cost-of living crisis is having an impact.”
High-profile names showing during Fashion Week include JW Anderson, who as well as unveiling his latest collection at the Round House in Camden will open a new exhibition on Monday, ‘On Foot’ — which he has curated for Mayfair’s Offer Waterman gallery.
Celebrity favourite 16Arlington is showing in a converted former Victoria tram repair depot in N7. Erdem will take over the British Museum, Roksanda Ilincic the Barbican Centre, Molly Goddard will be at Christie’s and Simone Rocha the English National Ballet Mulryan Centre for Dance.
A notable return to the schedule is Ashish, who will show for the first time since before the pandemic.
Skepta, the British-Nigerian musician will tomorrow night unveil the next iteration of his Mains fashion line, which has been dormant for four years.
Although self-funded, Skepta has a partnership with Puma as a global brand ambassador, with pieces which will feature in the expected celebrity-heavy-front-row show.
Rush added that “Often in the hardest of times, creativity explodes even further. I get a sense of whilst things are challenging that there is still an optimism through this creative process. [In London] they’re challenging the norms of what’s happening elsewhere in the world.”