'Who's the diva who needs a blue cushion?' I said stupidly and naively to my colleague as we sat for the Richard Quinn show. It was the Queen, the omnipotent 90-year-old queen, who for the first time in centuries was attending a show at London Fashion Week. Foot firmly in mouth. The last time I remember hearing of the Queen attending a show was with Princess Margaret at Dior when Dior himself was still showing in salon format. It's a true testament to Quinn and his work, that after all this time it was his show that she was attending and awarding.
After all, Quinn often looks to the Queen for inspiration in his silhouettes. His floral long length gloves that merge into polo-neck and his Balmoral-ready headscarves wouldn't be so amiss from Her Royal Highness' wardrobe, even the foil-like metallic draping coats and ball gowns that crinkled and audibly swished as they came past, gave the Queen a smile and a smirk.
The Queen's no stranger to colour either, and indeed Quinn's looks are some of the most colourful out there. Acid yellows, vibrant blues and hot pinks play the starring role in the majority of Quinn's designs, appearing on lurid and layered prints overlapping on dresses, puffer jackets (these were just spectacular), puff-ball hem dresses, shawls and gowns. Boxy shouldered mustard brown coats and zipped white jeans broke through the noise, as too did the velvety caped coat and the all-about-the-waist black leather jackets.
The jacket's shape felt like a little Balenciaga and many have commented on the similarities between Quinn's sock boots and florals and that of Demna Gvasalia's. Undeniably there are similarities, but this is Quinn's second solo show, I don’t think it wise to point the finger at such new, emerging designers. Besides, the Queen is here! Awarding Quinn the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, the Queen’s appearance at London Fashion Week is a huge step for London fashion, for new, young emerging designers and of course, a monumental acknowledgement for Quinn.
There was a wave of emotion that ran over the audience as Quinn received his award, one got the feeling that they were watching history, a unique and special moment. I could see Quinn’s parents begin to gush with tears and pride and I found myself a little blurry eyed and weepy too. A truly standout collection that will be forever remembered and not just because it has the royal seal of approval. What an end to London Fashion Week!