London Fashion Week’s tribute to the Queen – a global style icon

A sombre and solitary silhouette in black opened Paul Costelloe’s Spring/Summer ’23 catwalk show, one of many designers paying tribute to the Queen at London Fashion Week.

Costelloe, who has dressed many Royals from Princess Diana to Zara Philips and Sarah Ferguson, told Sky News the Queen was a huge inspiration to British fashion, especially her use of colour.

“I think she always wore great colours,” said the 77-year-old.

“As an Irishman we sort of look at the monarchy from a different point of view, and we very much respect, particularly her.

“I think some of these colours in the show very much reflect by sheer coincidence her sense of colour, greys, yellows, reds, bold orange.

“She loved positive colours and thank you, thank you, Queen, for wearing such wonderful colours,” he beamed.

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While the frivolous nature of fashion might seem out of step right now, as King Charles steps into his mother’s shoes, he follows in the footsteps of a Queen who, perhaps better than anyone, understood the power of image.

Her style not only inspired British fashion, but contributed to her status as a global icon and her role in forming the image of Brand Britain.

So perhaps it is no surprise there would be something of a royal renaissance ruling the runways at London Fashion Week which goes on as planned – aside from Monday’s shows which have been rescheduled because of the Queen’s funeral.

Queen Elizabeth only attended London Fashion Week once in 2018, when she awarded Richard Quinn for British Design.

She was photographed smiling on the front row with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who described her “iconic ‘uniform’ suggested continuity and tradition”.

There are few on the world stage who were as much in the spotlight, even fewer who looked as effortlessly stylish as the Queen did.

She herself once joked if she wore beige, no one would know who she was.

Designer Isabel Manns – who also paid tribute to the Queen in her LFW show, told Sky News she admired the Queen’s “wonderful fashion sense”.

“The matching jackets with the skirts, although it’s sometimes seen as an old-fashioned… it’s a classic… and she always just wore them so well… not everyone else would be able to pull them off.”

“She’s been part of almost every era in fashion… and she’s been such a support in British businesses and the fashion industry” said Manns.

Like most events London Fashion Week has suffered the last couple of years because of the coronavirus pandemic, and although 2023 goes ahead in the shadow of a nation in mourning, the shows at least promise to be fit for a Queen.

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