Ian McKellen Makes A Surprise Appearance At London Fashion Week

Walking for S.S. Daley, the British actor opened the show with his rendition of an Alfred Tennyson poem.

Sir Ian McKellen is a theater veteran and no stranger to fashion. Put the two together and you get his impressive performance at S.S. Daley’s London Fashion Week show.

Reciting The Coming of Arthur by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the actor’s dramatic reading was done with a raspy voice and grand gestures.

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The entire collection was in a nautical theme, with McKellen wearing a silk sailor’s cap, a striped scarf, and a navy peacoat featuring an image of a nude male figure.

Ian McKellen for S.S. Daley London Fashion Week
Ian McKellen opening S.S. Daley’s fashion show | Image via Instagram @firstviewphoto

Designer Steven Stokey-Daley often incorporated live performances with his fashion shows, blurring the line between runway and theater.

This year, however, he wasn’t planning on doing so. It turns out that McKellen himself approached Stokey-Daley about opening the show.

“You don’t say no to Sir Ian McKellen,” said the designer before the show. “To be honest, I couldn’t really believe it.”

Harry Styles Brit Awards look
Harry Styles’ Brit Awards look | Image via Instagram @ss_daley

S.S. Daley rose to fame when he sent his portfolio to Harry Styles’ stylist, Harry Lambert. Lambert used Stokey-Daley’s looks in his client’s music video for “Golden,” garnering attention for the designer.

Styles also wore S.S. Daley when he attended and received his trophies at the 2023 Brit Awards earlier this month.

Since then, Stokey-Daley has received last year’s LVMH Prize as well as the emerging designer gong at the British Fashion Awards.

Designer Steven Stokey Daley with Ian McKellen at London Fashion Week
Designer Steven Stokey-Daley with Ian McKellen | Image via Instagram @firstviewphoto

The starting point for the designer’s latest collection was the song “The Ninth Wave” by Kate Bush. He said that the lyrics reference being lost at sea.

“It’s chaotic, but beautiful at the same time, which I guess is how I have felt. The tone is darker this season. It’s a little more dramatic,” Stokey-Daley added.

This season’s collection is a mature departure from his past work, which was more schoolboy prep in theme. “I’m excited by the direction we’re heading,” said the designer.

Banner image via Instagram @harry_lambert.

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