Wednesday 19th September

| BY Claudia Croft

Richard Quinn: Ready-to-wear SS19

How do you top The Queen? Richard Quinn didn’t have HRH in his front row this season but he did invite GCSE students from his old high schools and St Martins. The designer was making an important point about the erosion of arts education in the U.K. Applications for arts courses are down 34% in the past eight years, yet the creative industries (including the £32bn UK fashion industry) are where we Brits can compete on a global scale. If anyone can inspire kids to choose a career in the arts it’s Quinn. He promised he would push colour, print and hyper-glamorous shapes to the max with this collection and did not disappoint.

As the London Philharmonic Orchestra played Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful, Quinn opened his show with a dramatic all-black section of voluminous couture silhouettes. Slowly he introduced his famous patterns – a beaded floral mini-dress over a black bodysuit, a brocade swing jacket worn with black rubber tights – until the show (like the musicians) built to a crescendo of vivid prints and exuberant cocktail silhouettes. There were fondant beaded flapper dresses, sassy minis stiff with frills, and sweeping balloon hemmed gowns. Quinn also delivered an extra ingredient – something that all great fashion provokes: emotion. The music coupled with this sweeping glamour of the clothes left many in the audience wiping away tears. It was a reaction against these dystopian times said the designer. It was also a reminder of the power of beauty and a well-made show.

Photographs by Jason-Lloyd Evans.