Richard Quinn Wins Inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design


The talk of London Fashion Week on Tuesday was not a particular collection, but a particular guest. The appearance of her Majesty the Queen at Richard Quinn‘s show caused a riot. It’s only taken 91 years for our sovereign to attend London Fashion Week, but there she was, in an embellished Angela Kelly two-piece, seated next to fashion’s grande dame Anna Wintour. It created a striking image: two very powerful matriarchs, for very different reasons, sitting side-by-side.

The reason the Queen was in attendance was to view the collection of rising star Richard Quinn, who is the recipient of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The new award, which will be presented annually, celebrates new fashion talent on home soil.

This was only Quinn’s second collection after graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2016. His rise to fame has been swift, but very much deserved. His dazzling, couture-like floral print designs have quite rightly awarded him much international attention.

This collection built on his ghostly designs, with models mummified in his vibrant floral gimp masks and foil ball gowns. The collection also paid homage to the Queen, featuring multiple silk scarves like the ones famously worn by the monarch at Balmoral.

Her Majesty paid tribute to the British fashion industry as part of her presentation, saying, “from the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting-edge fashion design.” The Queen has, of course, been a consistent supporter of the British fashion industry (albeit with safer, more traditional designers), but she has also been a constant source of inspiration to creatives across all fields, from fine art to fashion.

Asked if he thought he needed to tone it down knowing Her Majesty would be attending his show and viewing his collection, Quinn remarked, “No! We thought we would ham it up a bit. She’s known for her sense of humour, and she’s seen a lot in her life. I don’t think a gimp mask will shock the Queen.”