LONDON—London Fashion Week kicked off last Friday, with organizers dedicating the five-day event to late designer Vivienne Westwood, who died in December.
Five days of catwalk shows and presentations take place all over the city, in the second leg of the month-long catwalk calendar that began in New York.
Westwood, who died aged 81, was one of British fashion’s biggest names. She rose to fame dressing the Sex Pistols, becoming synonymous with 1970s punk rock, and was known for her rebellious designs.
An avid campaigner, she used her runways to address issues she felt strongly about: climate change, pollution and her support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“She represented everything that was brilliant about the intersection of Britishness and fashion. She was an activist. She used her platform to talk about climate change, civil rights, free speech. She is the embodiment of our extraordinary industry,” British Fashion Council (BFC) chair David Pemsel told London’s Evening Standard newspaper.
“It is only right and appropriate that we dedicate the entire week to her. We must celebrate her contribution as she was extraordinary and unique.”
On Feb. 16 celebrities, models and fashion editors gathered at London’s Southwark Cathedral for a memorial service for Westwood.
“She set such a high standard and she was fun to work with,” designer Paul Costelloe who held his catwalk show on Friday morning, told Reuters. “London is empty because she is gone.”
This season includes British designer Daniel Lee’s debut at Burberry and Italian brand Moncler bringing its Genius collaborative projects to the British capital.
As the public and the fashion world gradually put the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind them, polarizing issues such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have emerged.
A BFC initiative with Ukraine Fashion Week will see three Ukrainian designers presenting their creations.
“One of the things that the pandemic really taught us is that fashion really continuously needs to prove its worth. We are in an era where overconsumption is a real problem,” Natasha Bird, ELLE UK’s executive editor (Digital), told Reuters.
“Fashion needs to be continually evaluating what it’s giving back and showcasing talent that might help the initiative of improving a country postcrisis or while enduring a crisis is a great way to kind of make sure that fashion has some worth and some value beyond just the business of making clothes.” —Reuters