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London Fashion Week

This year marks the 30th anniversary of London Fashion Week (1984 – 2014).

Traverse the years’ memorable high points:

the innovative, quirky, boundary-pushing, delight

that is British fashion.




The British Fashion Council (BFC) was founded with an aim to coordinate varied designer exhibitions under one framework, in presenting the best of British fashion to the international press and market.

(image from britishfashioncouncil.co.uk):

BFC somerset housesh1700

BFC offices at Somerset House, London


The collection of fashion talent ignites the idea for an organised means of showcase and hence, London Fashion Week is organised and launched by Annette Worsley-Taylor, founder London’s Designer Collective and  PR expert, Lynne Frank.

The first event takes place in a West London car park (February, 1984) with dynamic catwalk shows and exhibitions.

The first ever British Fashion Awards are bestowed with designer, Katharine Hamnett recognised as Designer of the Year.

(image from katharinehamnett.com):


by designer Katherine Hamnett, message-wear, 1984


Cult label Bodymap by designers Stevie Stewart and David Holah, set the fashion world a-quiver with its  “Barbie Takes a Trip Around Nature’s Cosmic Curves” collection, off-beat creations and general anti-fashion philosophy.


(images from shapersofthe80s.com):

bodymap clothes from shaperofthe80s.combmap11vintagefest-dh

Bodymap on the runway





The British fashion industry is boosted by support from Diana, Princess of Wales and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher attend the shows.




Naomi Campbell models in Jasper Conran’s spring/summer show and in that year London-born Ms. Campbell becomes the first black model on the cover of French Vogue.


(image from fabmagazineonline.com):


naomi-campbell first french vogue cover from fabmagazineonlinecom-vogue-france-august-1988

Naomi Campbell graces the cover of French Vogue, August 1988


At only fifteen years old, model Kate Moss makes her runway debut for John Galliano.

(image from lifestylemirror.com):

kate moss runway debut for galliano image form lifestylemirro.com 30 yrs LFW1_fash_models-first-show_2-4-14

A young Kate Moss walks in John Galliano runway show


The fashion industry is not spared the storm from impact of economic recession.  Only a handful of designers show at The Ritz Hotel, London.  Yet, where there is a storm there is a silver lining.  Twenty-three year old Alexander McQueen presents his first collection  inspired by Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel victims in 1888. Sewn into the clothing was human hair in acknowledgement of the hair the Ripper’s prostitute victims would have sold.

Mr. McQueen was a story-teller and his clothes were the visual representations of the tales.

from Alexander McQueen:
“The inspiration behind the hair came from Victorian times when prostitutes would sell theirs for kits of hair locks, which were bought by people to give to their lovers. I used it as my signature label with locks of hair in Perspex. In the early collections, it was my own hair.”

A new fashion reign begins, a fashion king is crowned:

“Here were capelets made out of crows’ feathers, tailcoats with dramatic sihouettes. The designs were radical, disturbing and viscereal at a time when taste meant sleek and minimal,” recalls Harriet Quick, fashion features director of Vogue. “McQueen’s language is life, death, sex, religion – he’s a true great.”

(image from metmuseum.org):

alexander mcqueen  1st collection 1992 coat with hair from metsueum.org McQ.3018.L

pink satin coat with human hair embellishments


Milliner, Philip Treacy presents his first show,  which features model Naomi Campbell who walks topless.


The industry continued active involvement of assistance for emerging talent with the launch of NEWGEN, a platform for gifted up-and-comers.   Designated as ‘ones to watch’ were Alexander McQueen and design duo Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro of Clements Ribeiro.


(image from marieclaire.com):


alexander MCQUEEN  nihilism s_s -94 marieclaire

Alexander McQueen, ‘Nihilism’ collection  s/s  1994




(from clementsribeiro.com):


clements ribeiro design duo from clements ribeirocomabout-bottom

design duo, Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro 





Interdisciplinary design visionary, Hussein Chalayan premiers his conceptual creations on the fashion stage.




Stella McCartney showcases her first collection.  Models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell walk in the show.  Ms. McCartney’s entire collection is an instant sell-out sensation.


(image from marieclaire.com):


KATE MOSS models for mccartney  graduation show 1995

Kate Moss walks the runway for Stella McCartney’s graduate show



Model with curves,  Sophie Dahl makes her runway debut, sparking new discussion on skeletal physique of runway models and an apparent link to eating disorders, such as anorexia, from the demands of models adhering to an ultra skinny fashion- type.


(image from marieclaire.com):


SOPHIE DAHL LFW debut 1977 marieclaire

model Sophie Dahl modelling knitwear by Lainey Keogh





Roland Mouret’s first collection.  He would later go on to design the internationally acclaimed Galaxy dress (Spring 2006 collection):  the perfect frock for all women.


(image from rolandmouret.com):


roland mouret galaxy dress in black rolandmouretcomGOLDEN_DRESS_BLACK

the iconic Galaxy dress by designer, Roland Mouret



With his wooden table-cum-skirt, present in the “After Words” collection, a/w  2000 Hussein Chalayan, cements his reputation as one of London’s premier conceptual designers.


(image from elledecor.com):


chalayan Table-dress-by-Hussein-Chalayan-from elledecor.com de

table skirt by designer Hussein Chalayan




View the runway show:






Charles, Prince of Wales presents the Designer of the Year prize to Alexander McQueen at the British Fashion Awards.


(image from sfgate.com):


prince charles presents designer of the year award to mcqueen 2001 from sfgatecom628x471

 Prince Charles and designer, Alexander McQueen



With designers Matthew Williamson, Luella Bartley, Roland Mouret, Preen all showing in New York, London Fashion Week suffers a bit of a blow.




Fashion Fringe competition launches, which nurture cutting-edge designers with creative direction and funding.




Topshop becomes the first high street store to present at LFW.


(image from london-attractions.info):


topshop-oxford-street from london-attractions.info

Topshop flagship store at Oxford Circus





Chrstopher Kane unviels his first LFW collection.  He went against the grain and presented “neon brights when black was in and figure-hugging when full-flowing ruled.”  His risk-taking collection was hailed a success.


(image from telegraph.co.uk):


christophr kane debut collection 2006cane-lock-ss-07_2452295a

Christopher Kane presented first independent show in September 2006 at London Fashion Week




Matthew Williamson returns to  show from New York  to show at LFW.  In addition to a show-stopping collection, an additional high point was Prince’s impromptu performance. “All dignity was abandoned as I, and many others, stood, camera-phones pointed at the legend, dancing and clapping like idiots.”  (Jo Elvin, editor of Glamour)


(image from zimbio.com):


Matthew+Williamson_ prince perform ss2008 on sept 19 from zimbiocom+LFW+Spring+Summer+2008+FFcN9VHa2W4l

recording artist Prince performs at Matthew Williamson s/s  2008 show





LFW to Somerset House and Anna Wintour returns to front row after a two year absence.  Her presence is regarded as indication that the US is taking full note of the import of LFW.


(image from zimbio.com):




Obviously, happy to be coming back!  Anna Wintour, front row LFW 2010




London is riding high from the success of the Summer Olympics Games and milliner,  Philip Treacy does not disappoint.  He  presented a hat show, which is quintessentially British fashion-cued:  witty, quirky, inventive.

(image from standard.co.uk):

philip treacy ss 13 from standard.co.uk22treacycomp

by milliner Philip Treacy,  s/s  2013



And here we are,  the s/s 2015  shows and presentations.  LFW has come a long way, baby and continues to move on from strength to strength.


(image from londonfashionweek.co.uk)

London fashion week tents at somerset house16487

London Fashion Week tents at Somerset House


sources on LFW history from: The Independent,
Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Farm,
The Telegraph, The New York Times