It’s rare designers let slip a peek behind the curtains. So, all the more extraordinary that Richard Quinn, arguably one of London’s kings of fashion theatrics, welcomed attendees into the sprawling fields of his mind for his fall 2023 collection. The theme? A secret garden, known to all. Inside, on a runway teeming with flowers, he once again parsed the elements of a woman’s wardrobe through a lens in full bloom, reaffirming his intrinsic attachment to nature.
This time, Quinn reigned it in, displaying a balance between romance and play, joy and frivolity. The collection opened with dresses scattered with floral motifs and constructed with cape-like sleeves that cascaded into pleated skirts. As ever, the designer offered a fresh spin on biodiversity: florals recurred in almost every look, but some were magnified to the extreme (see delicate pink roses stretched out on evening gowns), while others appeared shrunken and en masse (as on floor-length jackets embellished with black, sparkle-speckled trims and tiered dresses). There were appliquéd flowers and roses fashioned out of fabric too, worn like adornments, on the décolletage.
Still, these pieces seemed to signal a shift. There were fewer bustles than in Quinn’s last fall collection and no balloon sleeves, no extra-large wide-brimmed hats and only a hint of latex; bar a pair of gloves or two, his clothes gestured at a muse and a designer that are perhaps growing up.
And entering another, new phase of life too. A pair of models in lingerie dresses studded with latticeworked beads segued the collection from evening to wedding, offering bridal looks in classic Quinn proportions. The designer showcased his signature bustles, showing strapless dresses in soft lace, as well as his devotion to form, with contoured gowns that featured cone-like bras and corsetry. Floor-length coats brimming with feathers and sheer column dresses constructed of lattices of flowers upped the drama necessarily, reminding all to fear not—Quinn’s bridalwear is far removed from the garden variety.