Following New York, London Fashion Week has begun, featuring a lineup of major brands like Burberry but also showcasing many young creators who could define the fashion of tomorrow.
In 2022, London Fashion Week was overshadowed by the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, followed by ten days of national mourning. This year, over 80 designers are presenting their Spring/Summer 2024 collections.
“We will have five days filled with creativity,” announced Caroline Rush, the director of the British Fashion Council (BFC), the organizing body for the event. Paul Costelloe, a veteran of London Fashion Week and a favorite designer of Princess Diana, opened the event on Friday morning.
Models strutted down the runway with wooden tennis rackets in hand under the grand canopy of the Royal Horticultural Society for Costelloe’s collection titled “Il Giardino” (the garden). It’s an ode to the sweetness of life, depicting “a quiet afternoon” in Ferrara, northern Italy, according to the designer.
Costelloe envisions aristocrats on vacation in this collection, marked by a sense of nostalgia. Models wore wide headbands and jackets with broad shoulders over simple bikini tops, all in pastel tones. The look was elegant yet casual, with some models sporting one bare shoulder when wearing a sweater, while others covered their breasts with knot-shaped bandages.
Among the 80 designers, 20 are promising young talents like Greek designer Di Petsa. She presented her collection on Friday afternoon as a tribute to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty, and seduction. Her models wore dresses in white, black, gold, or transparent, some of them tied to the body with ribbons.
Turkish designer Bora Akzu, who lives in London, also showcased his collection in the afternoon. Akzu drew inspiration from the “nostalgic memories of his family and hometown” in Turkey to create dresses with unique fabric overlays.
London lacks prominent names in the fashion industry, and factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation (the highest among G7 countries at 6.8% in July), and Brexit have not been in its favor.
Despite these challenges, London Fashion Week remains a platform for young talents, with the government announcing a £2 million fund ($2.46 million) to support emerging designers. This fund will benefit the BFC’s NewGen program, which has been nurturing the best young fashion creators for thirty years, aiming to launch tomorrow’s high-end global brands.
Burberry, the London-based house founded in 1856, remains one of the most anticipated events of the week, with their show scheduled for Monday afternoon. On the final day, Ukrainian designers will present their collections, and due to the ongoing war, London will once again host Ukrainian Fashion Week.