Anna Bance finds out why the London born designer was chosen to receive the special Royal seal of approval for his designs at London Fashion Week.

When The Queen appeared in the front row at London Fashion Week, this was undoubtedly hands down my favourite fashion moment and the biggest surprise of the British Fashion Council event history.

The audience were upstanding and many curtseyed upon Her Majesty's entrance - gawping when the 91-year-old monarch took her seat on a special blue cushion beside BFC’s chief executive, Caroline Rush and Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, who in turn sat next to the monarch’s dressmaker, Angela Kelly.

Smiling throughout the show in a duck-egg-blue Angela Kelly suit with crystal embellishment, black gloves, black purse and pearls, The Queen was present to give Richard Quinn the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, honouring the innovative designer as the UK's brightest new fashion talent.

He may have only discovered the surprise royal visit a couple of days beforehand, but who is Richard Quinn, and why were his designs chosen to receive the special Royal seal of approval?

The British-born designer, who works from a railway arch in Peckham, graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2016. This was only his second runway show ever – and as well as the collections, Quinn has created costumes for Lady Gaga’s world tour, won an H&M design award and completed print collaborations with Liberty.

Quinn is a relative London Fashion Week newcomer who took the unorthodox step of opening a print works in Peckham, near the headquarters of his father's scaffolding company. He is committed to making the print works accessible for students and fellow emerging designers to use for their own projects. His striking original prints were the main focus of this royal show, and the giant silk headscarves, swing coats and vibrant floral prints paid tribute to the monarch’s own personal style.

Now that we have just about stopped staring at the photographs, and obsessing over The Queen’s cuteness overload, we hear that the award will now be presented each year by a member of the Royal Family, to a designer selected by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with the Royal Household. Any guesses who will be next on the blue cushion?

February 2018