• Text Jake Hall
  • 17th September 2019


Not many designers would bring an orchestra to an East London leisure centre, but Richard Quinn – who last year made headlines when the Queen sat in his front row – has always done things a little differently. The Irish creative’s taste for elegance, spectacle and slight excess has permeated his work for years, but as time has passed, the scale – and, seemingly, the budgets – have grown gradually bigger. SS20, arguably his most ambitious presentation to date, continued this upward trajectory.

Not even a thirty-minute delay – thought to be caused by technical difficulties – could dampen the spirits of the weary fashion crowd, which perked up immediately as the first of his models stepped through the iron-clad gates. The silhouettes were short, blown-out and exaggerated; the prints were a riot of colour transposed against black backgrounds. Some were dainty, some oversized – and a few looks even came with matching tights.

Latex and leopard print soon crept into the collection. In one standout look, a structured, powder-blue and gold brocade dress was clasped neatly with a black bow at the waist, and worn over a black latex body which glistens underneath. Next came even more drama as layers of tulle billowed out behind form-fitting, black lace veils crept up from underneath paintbox-bright florals and a floor-length, marigold yellow showstopper wowed, ruched like a flower whose petals erupt and cascade down the body.

As if the rare appearance of modelling veteran Erin O’ Connor wasn’t enough to grab the crowd’s attention, a group of adorable children took to the runway in miniature versions of the collection’s standout looks. Their beaming faces framed by lashings of white maribou as they walked with the other models, sparking a teary eye or two amongst guests. It’s a fitting end to one of Quinn’s most impressive, and decidedly emotional, presentations to date.