Is London back to square one?
Richard Quinn’s show started an hour late, with cheek-by-cheek seating, tempers flaring and confusion about who was, or wasn’t, in the right seat. It was a some-things-never-change moment if there ever was one.
Quinn can be forgiven: this was his first live runway show since February 2020, and he was clearly moved, tearing up backstage as he talked about his love for London, and why he’s committed to showing in his hometown.
The collection, he added, was meant to be a contrast between “tension and calm,” which was evident in the razor pleats, studs and spikes that started the show, and the lush, flowing gowns toward the end.
As excited as Quinn was about his comeback, though, it missed the mark.
The first exits — long and lean pleated jumpsuits with puffy bows at the front — looked fresh, while the color palette had a surreal “Wizard of Oz” feel; a rainbow of emerald, lavender, baby blue and sugary pink.
Quinn stayed true to himself, planting his signature florals on streetwise silhouettes such as puffers, leggings and quilted coats with massive Cruella de Vil shoulders. Formalwear, too, blossomed with bright roses that were picked out in sequins on a short pouf skirt and a snug lavender jacket, while shiny crystals crisscrossed a yellow corset like a trellis.
But the show veered off course: extra-wide, pointy shoulders, the paper-bag style shopper and all the sinister hoods and sunglasses at the start felt more Balenciaga than Quinn. The long and clashing bright taffeta gowns, with their puffy sleeves, were reminiscent of other Paris runways.
Quinn has such a distinctive signature, subverting couture with elements of punk, experimenting with extreme volumes and striking color. He just needs to listen more to his own instincts.