After a truly historic week, London Fashion Week has closed with a fitting tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as Richard Quinn dedicated his entire show to the mourning dress of monarchs.
The first 18 looks sent out on the runway were all black widows’ weeds, adorned with feathers and jewellery and draped in heavy lace veils. Beautiful and moving, it seemed fitting that the first ever recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Fashion Award in 2018 should now pay such homage to the passing of the monarch who had sat front row at his first show.
Scroll through the gallery above for some of the top looks from London Fashion Week
Amid the mourning looks, Quinn also showed his love of colour and pattern with bright moulded mini dresses that sat high around the ears, and were teamed with either thick tights or long boots. Fierce, modern and determined, they too nodded to the colourful outfits the queen was so famous for.
At one point, London Fashion Week looked like it may not go ahead at all following the the Queen’s death, but the event continued, although largely scaled back. Designers had the presence of mind to offer collections that managed to carefully navigate respect and the raw, celebratory fashion that London so excels at nurturing.
At the start of the week, Harris Reed delivered a collection that shows precisely why he is the darling of the fashion set. With a performance from Adam Lambert, who sings as part of a collaboration with rock band Queen, Reed’s show channelled old-school glamour, mixing exaggerated shoulders, form-fitting dresses with mermaid hemlines and vast hats, dipped below one eye.
Over at Edward Crutchley, a sea-themed show unfurled as metallic fabric formed into rounded shapes around the body, culminating in a tiered dress in shimmering tones of vert de gris and seashell pink. And, thanks to the platform sandals worn underneath, it took on a towering, Poseidon-like quality.
J W Anderson brought his trademark subversive humour to proceedings, sending out an upside down jumper as a dress, the metal clothes hanger now around the neck of the model. Then came otherworldly shapes, such as a silver shift dress that ballooned around the hips.
Christopher Kane, too, explored a new direction, looking into anatomical drawings that were then splashed across looks.
Over at Simone Rocha, — who picked the Old Bailey for her venue — menswear was offered for the first time in a show so gorgeous it got a standing ovation. Mixing parachute fabrics, webbing straps and layers of netting as veils, it was sumptuous and utterly delicious. The show was bookended with looks accompanied with veils.
Erdem also pulled out all of the stops, delivering a show that, as with all the best Erdem collections, felt like stumbling upon the greatest dressing up box in the world, filled with corsets, huge skirts and fragile chiffon. He delivered exquisitely feminine dresses in retro-feeling fabrics, as if cut from the most beautiful curtains in the world. With dresses pieced from halves of different fabrics, it was all unutterably lovely.
Meanwhile, on the streets of Shoreditch, David Koma staged his latest round of high-octane looks, with floor-length skirts carved away from one leg, and dresses kept form-fitting. Best of all were the numerous thigh-length boots, in orange, blue and a glittering iridescence sure to be seen on celebrities soon.
Molly Goddard delivered a stunning show, in bright rainbow tones and with ruffles for days, culminating in a ballgown that seemed to be made of nothing but gathered netting, while at Chopova Lowena the duo unveiled their first runway show. Famous for its skirts finished with carabineers, their debut outing was brimming with colour, patterns and a youthful energy.
Halpern opened its show in the Royal Exchange with a cornflower blue look of headscarf knotted under the chin, and a huge diaphanous cape that billowed regally. Definitely a nod to the queen, it felt a little out of kilter with the 1970s Studio 54 sequined looks that followed.
Upbeat and dynamic, the shine arrived as tight, slinky dresses and kick-flared trousers with mismatched legs, before shifting into a Barbie-themed segment, complete with huge, flicked wigs. Drawing these rather disparate elements together, the closing look was another headscarf and cape combo, this time in retro baby-doll sheer black.
Paul & Joe also used a headscarf tied under the chin in a nod to the Queen, now in red gingham.
Updated: September 21, 2022, 12:00 PM