London Fashion Week: 14 looks we loved from Richard Quinn to Simone Rocha
Rocha, Chung, Quinn and Beckham were among the most memorable of the spring/summer collections
Get your paws on this beast of a coat from Richard Quinn – the boldest outfit of London Fashion Week. Photograph: Stuart Wilson/BFC/Getty Images
You never know what to expect at London Fashion Week. When it comes to the spring/summer collections, experienced industry insiders will argue that Milan - which began on Thursday - does that season better than anyone else but with a lot less fanfare. Though with some 80 catwalk shows and bigger than usual crowds, there were no shocks from London this season other than a sensational report that front-row tickets to top catwalk shows were being offered for sale for up to £5,000 (€5,600) each by a number of designers.
London Fashion Week closed on a high note this week with a breathtaking collection from 28-year-old Richard Quinn fast making a name for himself as a designer internationally. From Peckham and the son of Irish parents, Quinn, a graduate of Central St Martins in 2016 was the first recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Award for British Designer presented in person by the queen last season.
His show on Tuesday, with its technicolour floral dresses, black ballet tutus and floor-length black coats displayed a mastery of dramatic style that is most definitely his own. He has already dressed Amal Clooney for the Met Opera and was awarded €50,000 by H&M, which recognised his talents and bold originality. The show was memorable for riotous print that worked in exuberant forceful ways – in playful, flirty Carmen Miranda skirts and in leopard-print balloon dresses and opera coats. The designer, who said he learnt his business skills from his father, a scaffolder, was in Dublin a few months ago for the opening of Create in Brown Thomas, which showcased his winter collection.
The other star of London Fashion was undoubtedly Simone Rocha, with her graceful and beautiful homage to her ancestral Chinese heritage. Her collection drew not only from the sumptuous Oriental dress of the 18th century and the traditional Ancestors’ Day ceremonies in Hong Kong, but, like all her collections, this one came from her cultural links and a deeply personal place. “Utterly majestic and wonderfully wearable” was one comment.
That aside, a sunny September weekend set the mood for the new year and a forecast of brighter times – and colours – to come. Stars of the week were the independent female designers, with Alexa Chung and Victoria Beckham stealing the limelight with grounded, commercial collections.
What to expect for the new season? No groundbreaking looks, but longer lengths, more layering, pastel shades alongside more dramatic saturated sapphires, oranges and pinks (notably Jasper Conran out on his own when it comes to colour) and, inevitably, the neutrals, masterfully shown by Riccardo Tisco at Burberry with a keen professional eye on the international market.
Irish designer J W Anderson was a lot breezier than usual (noted by his mother too afterwards) and Richard Malone displayed his mettle again with superb tailoring and sustainable fabrics.
The week closed on a high note with a breathtaking standout collection from the talented Richard Quinn, definitely one to watch.
Here are our top 14 picks from London’s spring catwalk collections: