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Key moments from London Fashion Week’s new June format

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The year-long celebration of London Fashion Week’s 40th anniversary, which began in February with the women’s shows, continued for the June edition. The new concept for the menswear counterpart aimed to “spotlight London’s position as a world-leading cultural capital and amplify its creative community”.

Beginning at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) on Friday morning, ambassadorial president of the British Fashion Council (BFC) David Beckham opened the three day event with a speech.

He said: “I’m so pleased to be able to be here to support the designers and open London Fashion Week today. I have been lucky enough to be part of and attend LFW for a number of years and it never fails to amaze me just how incredible the talent in London is and how lucky we are to have access to such a diverse mix of fashion businesses – from Savile Row tailors to sportswear, British fashion continues to influence and have an impact worldwide.”

David Beckham at the BFC’s opening breakfast on Friday morning

Caroline Rush, CEO of the BFC, also addressed morning attendees. “This is not a normal Fashion Week,” she said. “We wanted to create a cultural moment with the aim of igniting the imagination with a focus on storytelling. Over the next three days, we are spotlighting the breadth of British menswear and the storytelling that makes British menswear unique.” 

Guests were invited to preview the exhibition which took over three rooms at the ICA, each with a different theme, photographer and curator. One room focused on Black culture, and was centred around self-love featured photography by Stephen Akinyemi, curated by broadcaster Clara Amfo. Another focused on South Asian culture, with a focus on pattern, textile and craftsmanship with photography by Tami Aftab and curated by writer and content creator Simran Randhawa. Finally, the third room focused on queer culture, with a spotlight on young creative voices from the trans+ community with photography by Dani D’Ingeo and curated by model Kai-Isaiah Jamal. 

Each room also featured garments from relevant London designers, such as Nicholas Daley, Labrum London, Ahluwalia, Chet Lo, SRVC, Harri, Monique Fei, Abigail Ajobi, Hadiyah Hussain and more.

Speaking on a panel to explain the influences and importance behind each of their curation choices, Clara Amfo said: “I’m really happy with how he [Stephen Akinyemi] positioned them [the photographs] so beautifully in the exhibition. There are so many tired tropes about the strong black woman, and the strong black man — sometimes we just want to be, and we just want to be soft.” 

Guest curators Clara Amfo, Kai-Isaiah Jamal and Simran Randhawa

The first catwalk of the event came courtesy of Denzilpatrick, a menswear label formed by husband duo Daniel Gayle and James Bosley. Entitled “One More Time with Feeling” guests were seated in a square formation around the Swiss Church in Covent Garden, where models emerged in relaxed tailoring and 90s-style shell suits carrying trumpets and trombones. A mint green colour palette progressed into peach, then beige with gold foiling, and eventually fluorescent orange (one model wore a sheer white shirt with orange embellished sleeves, giving the illusion of swimming armbands). Flowing trousers and micro shorts were paired with ankle socks and jelly sandals, all of which evoked the mood of a classic British summer. 

Denzilpatrick spring/summer 2025

Later in the day came Scottish designer Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy label, which was celebrating its ten year anniversary as well as the opening of a new exhibition at Somerset House. Fittingly, the catwalk show was held in the courtyard of the landmark building, and was accompanied by an orchestra dressed as traditional Beefeaters situated on a balcony overlooking the audience. The biggest show of the entire LFW event, the atmosphere was electric as models stomped over the historic cobblestones in many of the label’s signature designs, including banana peel boots, animal ear beanie hats and colourful graphic stripes. Many of the cast members appeared to be pierced by oversized arrows, which stuck out of their chests as they swayed and staggered about. Celebrity catwalk appearances came in the form of Vivienne Westwood’s granddaughter Cora Corre, writer Tish Weinstock, and frontwoman of band the Gossip, Beth Ditto. 

Singer Beth Ditto walks the runway at Charles Jeffrey Loverboy

The final look of the show was a closely fitted black corset and voluminous monochromatic polka dot skirt, styled with purple horn-embellished shoulder pads and a face-shielding helmet. As the wearer reached the end of the runway, the helmet was removed to reveal veteran model Erin O’Connor. Just when the audience thought it was all over, Beth Ditto re-emerged to perform a rendition of Patti Smith’s Gloria. Throwing rose petals and stomping her bare feet as she sang, models swarmed around her, skipping and parading joyfully, in what felt like an almost biblical experience. For a young designer to have reached such a milestone, the finale was filled with hope for future generations.  

Model Erin O’Connor for Charles Jeffrey Loverboy

On Saturday morning, guests arrived at the Royal Academy for another music-inspired performance. Latex designer Harri was catapulted into the spotlight last year after singer Sam Smith wore one of the label’s inflatable designs to the Brit Awards. For this spring/summer 2025 presentation, guests filtered into the Benjamin West Lecture Theatre to find the stage covered by a white, dumpling shape. After a speech from the brand’s founder and creative director Harikrishnan Keezhathil Surendran Pillai, who explained the latex garment took five weeks to make by hand, this was slowly inflated and fitted onto 2024 Eurovision winner Nemo, who performed their song The Code, which details their experience of coming to terms with their non-binary identity. While a beautiful and innovative take on a show format, with just one garment, it begs the question of whether this was more art than fashion. 

Singer Nemo performs at Harri’s spring/summer 2025 show

On to a sunny afternoon at Wapping Power Station, where Qasimi made its return to the runway – the first collection under creative director Hoor Al Qasimi, who took the helm in 2020 after the death of her twin brother and brand founder Khalid Al Qasimi. Ahead of the show, she told Drapers: “One of the main challenges has been maintaining the creative integrity and unique identity he had established, while also steering the company towards sustainable growth. Balancing personal commitment with professional responsibilities required resilience and a strong internal team which Qasimi has built.” 

Nonetheless, she said: “I feel excited and energised ahead of the show. We’ve put a lot of heart into this collection, focusing on designs and materials that reflect our commitment to creativity and responsibility.” Teaming up with acclaimed artist Kambui Olujimi, the label crafted a spring/summer 2025 collection that merges art, sculpture and fashion. Garments such as T-shirts, shirts and skirts were printed with Grecian-style statues and columns and styled with colourful twisted perspex jewellery, reminiscent of coral. Varying shades of blue appeared throughout, on draped, flowing jersey tops and trousers. These were interspersed with more sporty silhouettes such as toggle drawstring jackets, as well as slick tailoring. 

Hoor Al Qasimi called the new fashion week format a “dynamic evolution”. She said: “It reflects the ever-changing landscape of fashion, embracing digital innovation while still celebrating creativity and craftsmanship. This approach helps adapt to current global challenges and opens new avenues for inclusivity and accessibility, allowing a wider audience to experience LFW.” 

Elsewhere over the weekend, both Labrum and Represent hosted early morning run clubs, signifying the fitness and wellness domination of the current market space. Various panel discussions were held at the ICA on Saturday and open to the public, with support from LFW’s main sponsor 1664 Blanc. On Sunday, the BFC took over Soho’s Groucho Club, hosting a showcase of menswear designers including Carlota Barrera, Denzilpatrick, Derrick, Harri, Kyle Ho, Lueder, Paolo Carzana and Roker. 

Overall, while it certainly felt more inclusive, and managed to spotlight a wide variety of creative disciplines, the fashion show schedule was rather light. For this new format to succeed, it will take the support of bigger designers shifting shows from the larger scale February and September LFW editions, as well as continued investment into upcoming designers from a multitude of diverse backgrounds. 

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