London Fashion Week, muted heavily by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, is having something of a second go around this week, as Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons and Roksanda Ilincic all stage their Spring/Summer 2023 shows in the midst of the Frieze, the city’s preeminent contemporary art fair, which takes place annually in Regent’s Park. There’s also a brunch for Hedi Slimane’s Celine, a Moncler exhibition promoting the outerwear brand’s 70th anniversary, a party celebrating the collaboration between Off-White and Church’s, and plenty of other opportunities for brands to host industry insiders and clients alike.
An added bonus is the expected uptick in shop-happy tourists taking advantage of the weak pound, which has plummeted due to inflation and new policies introduced by prime minister Liz Truss. (The controversial return of the VAT refund, which will make it possible for Europeans and other tourists to shop tax-free in the UK, won’t kick in until later, according to government documents.)
The flurry of activity is one part circumstantial, one part tactical. Yes, Ilincic and Simons moved their shows to October because of the Queen’s death, but McQueen has been showing off-calendar for several seasons now. (October 2021 in London, also during Frieze, and March 2022 in New York.) It begs the question: should London rethink its position on the fashion calendar?
Decades ago, designers in New York lobbied to show first, before Milan and Paris, in an effort to prove that their designs weren’t mere copies of the heavy hitters in the two most prominent fashion cities. Today, however, that’s less of a concern. (Things get copied by fast fashion in a matter of days; no calendar will protect you.) Instead, London is squeezed between New York — now primarily a platform for big-ticket marketing moments — and Milan, where retailers do a big chunk of their buy.
For British brands that do most of their actual selling to buyers in Milan or Paris, hosting a show when things quiet down a bit later in the season could spell a bigger press opportunity — and in the autumn especially, offer special access to potential clients who are in town for Frieze. The last calendar shake up coincided with a complete transformation of the industry. Maybe it’s time for another drastic change.
What Else to Watch This Week
Arab Fashion Week begins
LVMH reports third quarter results
Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2023 show in London
Amazon Prime Early Access sale begins
US reports inflation data for September
BoF Insights publishes report on Youth Culture
Fast Retailing reports fiscal year 2022 results
FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week begins
Raf Simons Spring/Summer 2023 show in London
Ralph Lauren Spring/Summer 2023 in Southern California
LVMH’s Les Journées Particulières event begins
US reports September retail sales data
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