The Queen has loomed large for Richard Quinn. He was the first annual recipient of her Elizabeth II Award for Design. The late sovereign created the prize to recognise rising fashion talent and the pictures of her on the front row at Quinn’s AW18 show will go down in London Fashion Week history.
When the monarch died, Quinn upended his plans and created a special tribute to his royal benefactor. He and his team created 20 dramatic mourning looks, all in black, many veiled or with faces covered with lace. For eleven days, the designer worked non-stop, lavishing each look with intense embroidery and craftsmanship as the ultimate mark of respect. The looks referenced the corseted black dresses and jet beads favoured by Queen Victoria, who wore black for forty years after the death of her husband Albert, and the dignified veiled looks worn by The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Queen Elis at the funeral of her father George VI. Quinn favours exaggerated, mid-century silhouettes and his swing coats and swagged corset dresses looked even more striking in black. He also showed more modern ways to mourn, throwing a floor length bead encrusted black veil over one of his signature catsuits. It was solemn and stunning.
Then after a pause, the show switched gear. Quinn showed the collection he’d originally intended to put on the catwalk before the Queen’s death. It was a dazzle of colour and texture. Quin crafted his ingenious bodysuits in a new ‘drumstick’ silhouette, which saw them swell up over the shoulders to the ears. The effort this designer put into every look in his show and the energy he exudes on the catwalk is impressive to see. Queen Elizabeth would have been proud.
Photography courtesy of Richard Quinn.