BOOK CLUB: Catherine Quin, the London-based designer known for her minimalist creations, has carved a path of her own, removed from the never-ending fashion cycle.
Her ultimate mission, she said, is to connect with her customers and to encourage them to “buy less, but better.”
Earlier this week she gathered a group of the women who most inspire her, including political activist Gina Miller, chef Jemima Jones, footwear designer Lily Hanbury and founder of Women for Women charity Brita Fernandez Schmidt, at the vintage book library on the top floor of Maison Assouline in London.
The women, who gathered for tea and literary readings, also featured in Quin’s latest campaign and modeled her new collection, Women of Grace. The collection is filled with elegant shirtdresses, fuss-free jumpsuits and oversized tailoring in the designer’s signature neutral palette.
“I wanted to celebrate qualities that aren’t normally brought to the fore nowadays. This year there has been a lot of toxicity in politics and I’ve really been inspired by women who stood up for what they believe in, and who were really dignified in how they dealt with all the criticism and the furor. It just made me think how grace is not talked about so much in this day and age,” said Quin, adding that ever since she hosted an event during the America’s Cup in Bermuda, she has shifted her attention to showcasing her collection through live experiences, using her muses as models.
“This time I wanted to do something that was a bit more immersive. That’s why we have asked everyone to bring their favorite [piece of] feminist literature, and then a few of us will be reading it out. I wanted to do that to put Gina Miller’s story in context and shed the light on more female authors and views about feminism and femininity,” added the designer.
Miller, who is known for initiating the 2016 court case against the British government over its authority to implement Brexit without approval from Parliament, read an extract from her new book “Rise” and spoke about the importance of learning to fail and speak up. Quin’s other muses came dressed in her airy satin maxidresses, with books by Simone de Beauvoir, Joan Didion and Ziauddin Yousafzai in tow.
“This is our time to listen, speak up and take responsibility for what happens next, because I’m sorry to say this is only the beginning of the real chaos that is to come,” said Miller before the reading.
“It’s going to get so much worst purely because there is no plan B and we have never been here before. We’re like a Christopher Columbus of constitutional law and nobody knows what we’re going to discover,” she added.