South East London designer and print extraordinaire Richard Quinn dubbed his Fall/Winter 2020 show on Saturday night the “House of Quinn”. Held at the cavernous Art Deco-era Lawrence Hall at the Royal Horticultural Halls, it featured a life-size Georgian facade in ash grey decorated with blooms from floor to roof.
The event was admittedly one of the hottest tickets in town this season with a full-house packed with everyone from Pose star Billy Porter to members of Harry Style’s styling team. At half-past eight, a model dressed in a black latex fetish bodysuit and one of Quinn’s signature fit and flare dresses appeared and the doors opened to let the models stream out.
He went into true London homeboy mode, celebrating the iconic charitable group, the Pearly Kings and Queens, who are known for their outlandish outfits encrusted in mother-of-pearl buttons. Quinn’s homage to what he deemed “middle-class couture” saw him emblazon suits, face masks, trench dresses and tights in dazzling Swarovski crystal embroidery. The rest of the looks were quintessential Richard Quinn. Models were sheathed in face masks, from latex and spiked leather – hinting at the designer’s penchant for kink.
Championing London talent is a big motivation for the designer who opens his Peckham studio to help fledgling designers – offering them digital and screen-print services as well as print and textile workshops. It also seems to be a big statement of how a young British designer like Quinn does not harbour any post-Brexit hangups within the big European fashion community.
On one end the title is an allusion to the storied Maisons of Europe and their haute couture, of which the works of this 30-year-old have often been compared to. (Actually, time will tell when and who across the English Channel might just come to a-knocking at the door of this former Central Saint Martins alum). On the other, the house title is a metaphor to the house-ballroom community and drag family that embraces and welcomes anyone under its wing – whether you’re a consumer of couture, love your fashion a little queer or have something of an S&M fetish.
The surprise of the night, however, was the debut of menswear. So what does the Richard Quinn man look like? Quinn showed floor-sweeping flare pants, corset-inspired jacquard tank tops, cinched-in waists, and feathered shell tops pointing to a non-gender-confirming direction for menswear. Perhaps something that Mr. Billy Porter and Team Harry Styles might consider for their next appearance.
For such a feel-good and optimistic show, it was thus apt that the finale walk ended with a bang as gold confetti rained down on the guests. To that, we say, “Yas Quinn”. Browse above for scenes from the show and the colourful guests who came out for the after party.