London – And just like that, within 72 hours, Britain had a new prime minister, a new king, and was mourning the death of its long-reigning monarch, who lived up to her duties.
The first full week of September is remembered by many Britons as the hand. Liz Truss was elected prime minister, with plans to tame runaway energy costs and keep the country’s lights on amid a cost-of-living crisis.
The following day, Queen Elizabeth II, the head of state, accepted Boris Johnson’s resignation and requested Truce – 15Th Prime Minister – to form the government.
On September 8, while that work was done, the Queen died at Balmoral, her beloved Scottish castle, a private home and informal summer retreat where she hosted celebrity picnics and barbecues – and helped clean up, too.
Her death shook a nation that many had abandoned all disbelief and expected to rule forever, or at least for a few years. why not? She served happily on the throne for 70 years and was nearly 102 years old when her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, died in 2002.
Few remember the death of Elizabeth’s father, George VI, the last British monarch, in 1952, meaning Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z were born and raised Elizabeth, whether they liked it or not.
Not everyone admired her, but many did, and in a YouGov snap poll, 76 percent of Britons said they were outraged by her death, while 44 percent said they cried or felt emotional after hearing the news.
Whether they shed tears or not, business leaders in particular described her work ethic, tenacity and sense of duty as extraordinary. After all, what kind of person is still at the desk and taking meetings at 96?
Orlando Martins, founder of British retailer Oresa, said: “The Queen exemplifies a rare type of leadership today. “While others raced to lead change, she stood for stability, dignity and consistency. She moved with the times, but she wasn’t inspired by them.”
Positive Luxury, a consultancy that helps luxury businesses with their sustainability and ESG efforts, described the Queen as “a personification of commitment and an indicator of global cooperation”.
Britain’s fashion and retail industries have persevered in this spirit, moving forward in business and in their own words. After two years, with double-digit inflation and a cost-of-living crisis set to worsen this winter, they have no choice.
Some believe the closure of business on Monday, the day of the funeral, could be further damage to the already struggling UK economy. Although businesses were not forced to close, Monday was declared a rare national holiday here.
Retailers including Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty, Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Apple, Acne Studios, Tommy Hilfiger, De Beers and Zara, as well as brands large and small, plan to close on the day of the funeral.
Selfridges, Liberty and Mulberry were among the stores that went dark in the immediate aftermath of the Queen’s death last week. Other events have been postponed until later this month and into October.
Simon French, chief economist at Panmure Gordon and a columnist for The Times of London, said Monday’s bank holiday could reduce economic output by “at least” £2bn, based on evidence from past and one-off holidays. That decline could result in flat or negative growth in the third quarter and push the country into recession.
Retailers aren’t sure the impact of Monday’s closures will be as dramatic, and many are determined to pay tribute on the day by suspending operations.
Retail industry trade figures questioned by WWD refused to estimate the impact of the bank holiday because they did not want to be seen as exploiting the Queen’s death. Some think the shutdown is unlikely to weigh heavily on retailers, many of which are global and have strong online channels.
A representative of the retail industry said: “I have not yet heard of any business complaining about this, and even if it has an impact, it is not likely to make much difference one way or the other in the long term.”
Another added: “We have not heard any concerns from members. Most of them are focused on paying respect. Hotels may see an increase in sales around the funeral, and that may trickle down to retail. We’ll see brands take on closing costs over the Bank Holiday, but look for strong pre- and post-funeral sales.
Retail leaders also said they were expecting business activity at the coronation of King Charles III, which is expected to take place in the first half of next year.
London hotels, which have been hit hard by a two-year lockdown and the loss of Chinese and Russian tourists, have hiked prices ahead of the expected funeral of more than 2,000 heads of state, members of the royal family and other VIP guests.
Top restaurants are booked until the weekend, and trains and the London Underground are packed with people on the move.
In the coming days, before the funeral, around 1 million people are expected to descend on central London to pay their last respects to the royal. The Queen will sleep in Westminster Hall until the morning of the funeral.
People have been waiting in mile-long lines, through the night and in the autumn rain, for the chance to pay their last respects to the Queen in her platinum jubilee year.
London Fashion Week is also moving forward with less frills and a greater focus on business.
According to reports, the producers tore up the original show calendar and rearranged all the activities that were previously scheduled to take place at the funeral. Shows officially begin on Friday morning and continue until Sunday evening. There are no shows on Monday, and they resume on Tuesday, the last day of London Fashion Week.
Some designers, including Raf Simons, have postponed their shows, while Burberry is scheduled to present its spring 2023 collection in London on September 26, between Milan and Paris. Reportedly, Alexander McQueen plans to unveil his Spring 2023 collection on October 11, the eve of the Frieze Art Fair, which runs from October 12 to 16.
Christopher Kane is a designer who decided to install it. It will stage its first runway show from February 2020. It is scheduled to begin at 8pm on Sunday, when the Prime Minister calls for a nationwide minute of silence in memory of the Queen.
Brands, designers and buyers are fired up, and eager to push forward with show week, despite the bleak timing. No one interviewed by WWD canceled a trip to London specifically because of national mourning or the funeral.
Tatiana Hambro, editorial director at Moda Operandi, said the London fashion shows “represent a huge commitment – financial, creative, personal and otherwise.” It is important to recognize these efforts and the great talent of the city. Her Majesty was the ultimate example of perseverance and unwavering dedication. I grew up in London. I am grateful to be here to witness such an important moment in our history, and proud to support the city’s fashion community during this time.”
Jodi Khan, vice president of luxury fashion at Neiman Marcus, plans to attend the shows “after a very difficult two years to support the designers who have put so much time and effort into preparing for their shows. I have no doubt that we will come together as an industry to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s legacy and the creative aspects of her life.”
Meteresa CEO Michael Kliger said his team is on the job.
It carries London-based brands including Mytheresa Burberry, Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, David Koma, Emilia Wickstead, Erdem and JW Anderson.
Although the timing of London Fashion Week is sad in terms of mourning and funerals, Kliger said: “We feel it’s very dedicated to the London fashion industry and especially the smaller, medium-sized brands. The effort to get ready for the shows is crazy, and if London brands decide to go ahead with their shows, our team will be there and ready to support them.