New York Fashion Week started very early in 1943, followed by Milan (in 1958) and Paris (in 1973). London Fashion Week was the last to join the party, with its inaugural event happening in a West London car park in 1984. However, its evolution within a short period meant that it soon made a big name for itself in the fashion world.
London Fashion has grown from just 15 catwalk shows to 72 now and attracts designers, buyers, and journalists from all over the globe. And it now takes place in central London, a suitable venue for its high-end clientele.
The famous clothing trade show also earns a whopping £269m for the capital every year, which is a far higher figure than Milan and Paris. In terms of popularity, it is only behind New York and brings around 105,000 visitors to the city every season.
5 Surprises In The History Of London Fashion Week
1. Philip Treacy
Many regard Philip Treacy as the greatest living milliner. He has the distinction of winning British Accessory Designer of the Year for an incredible five times.
Treacy’s SS01 show caused a big surprise when Grace Jones made a memorable entry wearing a gold hat and dancing on top of a black limousine. The famous designer’s shows feature not only well-known musicians but also the most famous football player of all time, such as Michael Owen.
2. Simone Rocha
Simone Rocha, the daughter of famous designer John Rocha, first showcased her collection at the Tate Modern gallery and London Fashion Week in 2010. Since then, she has steadily been enhancing her reputation as a fashion designer.
She made a great impression on the spectators at London’s St.James when she sent models of all ages, including the 73-year-old Benedetta Barzini, to the catwalk in 2017. This way, she delivered a powerful message of inclusivity.
3. Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen started his career from humble beginnings and soon became one of the biggest stars in the fashion world. The English designer’s achievements in fashion saw him winning four British Designer of the Year awards.
One of his most controversial runway shows is Highland Rape, which appalled the audience with its outrageous outfits. Models were shown wearing overtly sexual clothing and posing in a distraught fashion. Some were wearing trousers slung so low that they were even revealing the hip-bones in the show.
Critics were outraged by such a portrayal of women, and they heavily criticized him for his misogyny. However, he rejected their claims of misogyny and said that his intention was to make a reference to England’s violation of Scotland.
Another memorable moment of McQueen’s career saw him depicting a model wearing a white dress only to get spray-painted by robots.
4. Hussein Chalayan
Hussein Chalayan carved out a big name for himself in the fashion world through his brilliant and experimental work. Not only did he win the British Designer of the Year award twice, but he also received the MBE in 2006.
The Turkish Cypriot designer fascinated his audience with his genius when he showed a model using a table as a skirt. He was famous for his experimental work, but he took that to a whole new level at that time.
Four chairs and a coffee table first greeted the sight of the audience, and then four models entered the stage and began putting on the chair covers as dresses. In the final part, another model is shown as gingerly stepping into the table and lifting it as a crisp tiered skirt.
5. Vivienne Westwood
Any style enthusiast is likely to have heard the name of Vivienne Westwood, the English fashion designer who is greatly credited for bringing modern punk into the mainstream. Westwood uses the power of the runway to make bold statements about many important issues of the world.
She has used her influence in the past to speak about Climate emergencies, anti-fracking demonstrations, Guantanamo Bay, etc.