Richard Quinn closed fashion week — with two shows in one. The first was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II, and the second was the spectacle he had originally planned months before her death.
In the queen’s lifetime, she only attended one London runway show, and it was Quinn’s in 2018, when she handed him the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
Following her death on Sept. 8, London Fashion Week tore up the original schedule and canceled parties and other events.
Designers also found ways of paying tribute. Some did it by featuring her favorite flower, lily of the valley, in their shows; others did so with a minute of silence.
Quinn honored the queen with an extra 22 looks that opened his show, and by shifting his show to Tuesday evening, a day after the funeral. It took him, and his studio, 10 days to create the additional looks. They stitched through the night and even as they watched the funeral on Monday.
The show space was draped with black curtains and carpets. There were CCTV cameras and several television screens hanging in the middle of the room playing video footage of the queen.
Models walked around the room in veils that were netted, lacy, dotted or embellished with beads that draped over the black clothing.
“We wanted it to be appropriate for the time, and it’s really historic,” said Quinn, who also credited the queen for the brand’s success. “It’s how everyone first knew us, and it will always be a part of our journey and history,” he added.
Quinn also referenced the 1952 funeral of King George VI in the collection, and was also inspired by couture. There were even nods to silhouettes and fabrics from Cristóbal Balenciaga’s black designs.
The tribute was profound without being forceful. Quinn understood the moment and executed it sharply, and better than any other designer during the four days of London Fashion Week.
“Fashion is always a comment on what’s going on,” said Quinn, adding that, in his opinion, the queen was “100 percent a fashion icon.”
The audience’s eyes were just as locked on to the second part of the show, which featured 26 looks that Quinn had already designed with his team.
This time, models strutted in Quinn’s signature disco hues and ditsy floral prints which, from afar, resembled colorful bacteria found on a petri dish.
His said he was inspired by space and sci-fi, with models’ faces popping out from the decorated cocoon dresses, bodysuits and catsuits. It was “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” meets “Mars Attacks!”
Quinn ended the show with a white lace bridal number, gently reminding everyone that beyond his signature fetishized latex and costume drama, there’s a successful bridal business.
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