RICHARD QUINN’S FEISTY PROPOSITION ON HOW WOMEN SHOULD WEAR PRINTS – BOLDLY, GLAMOROUSLY AND WITH A HINT OF KINK – HAS MADE HIM ONE OF LONDON’S MOST EXCITING YOUNG TALENTS IN RECENT YEARS. IT ALSO MAKES HIM ONE OF THE WILDEST NAMES ON THE ROLODEX OF MONCLER GENIUS – THE MULTI-LABEL-ROTATING, DROP-BASED INITIATIVE BY THE LUXURY SKIWEAR SPECIALIST THAT’S CHANGED HOW FASHION HOUSES APPROACH COLLABORATIONS. IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW AHEAD OF THE LAUNCH OF HIS SECOND TIE-UP WITH THE BRAND ON MAY 28, HE TELLS KENG YANG SHUEN WHAT WORKING WITH AN INDUSTRY GIANT MEANS FOR AN UP-AND-COMER LIKE HIM – AND THE FUTURE OF FASHION.
The second instalment of 8 Moncler Richard Quinn ups the ante on what the British designer and luxury skiwear specialist can do together with the likes of embroidered couture gowns, svelte mini dresses and high-heeled boots all in the latter’s innovative fabrics.
THIS SECOND INSTALMENT OF 8 MONCLER RICHARD QUINN IS ONE ACIDIC TRIP BLENDING FUTURISM AND ’60S FLOWER POWER. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR INSPIRATION – AND IF YOU’RE A SCI-FI FAN.
“The ’60s was such a liberating and experimental era. I find the prints and shapes from the decade to be really modern and relevant (it explains some of the collection’s key silhouettes such as mini shift dresses, body stockings and feminine belted coats with bejewelled buttons). I also thought about what people then might think of the year 2020 – this idea of the future – and looked at films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, which resulted in the lookbook images that contrast the collection’s bold prints against a stark white, spaceship-like setting.”
LOOKING AT THE SHEER EXUBERANCE OF THE PRINTS AND SILHOUETTES IN THIS COLLECTION, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU REALLY LET LOOSE WITH YOUR CREATIONS.
“I wanted to create really interesting pieces and textiles that would feel modern and cool with bold and colourful prints on graphic shapes that would allow us to use Moncler’s signature down in a new way. And to achieve a sense of lightness, we used textile bonding techniques to give an interesting quilted quality to the pieces.” (Quinn came up with 12 new patterns spanning rainbows to zebra stripes to fresh takes on his trademark wallpaper florals exclusively for this collection. Unexpected interpretations of Moncler’s down meanwhile include couture gowns with full opera skirts and high-heeled boots all in the puffy fabric.)
Quinn, who first made a name for himself with his enthusiastic embrace of kitschy wallpaper prints, developed a total of 12 original prints for this tie-up with Moncler. Contrasting the wild abandon of the Technicolor motifs and grand couture silhouettes for the lookbook images was a sterile Space Age-y setting inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
HOW’S YOUR CREATIVE APPROACH HERE DIFFERENT FROM WHEN DESIGNING FOR YOUR OWN LABEL?
“I always like to design with a strong vision and story in mind to ensure that every creation is new and makes sense when one considers what has come out before. It is such a creative and enjoyable process, which I think is what design should be. This was no different. It was great to develop the collection in such a creative and technically advanced space.”
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT THE DNA OF ALL PARTIES INVOLVED IN A COLLABORATION ARE EQUALLY REPRESENTED IN A SEAMLESS AND COHERENT MANNER?
“I want each party’s design code to fuse together to create something really innovative that captures the essence of both brands. Moncler has developed amazing finishes and luxury construction techniques that are so beautiful yet functional. Being able to work with these and add finer details to them was what made each piece so stunning both on the runway and on the rail.” (Working with materials like resin-coated gabardine and technical nylon twill, Quinn was able to recreate the couture-inspired, evening-appropriate silhouettes that his namesake label has become known for. Besides the prints, design elements that are distinctly Quinn include feathers, which turn up on balaclavas, and crystal embellishments.)
WHAT ARE THE MOST VALUABLE LESSONS THAT YOU’VE LEARNT FROM THE MONCLER GENIUS PARTNERSHIP?
“New textile development possibilities are always interesting; even what seems like small changes such as adding new fixtures and hardware can really give a piece a completely new dimension. It’s been so nice to have creative freedom as well as the chance to create really beautiful yet technical designs.”
MONCLER GENIUS HAS REINVIGORATED HOW THE INDUSTRY LOOKS AT COLLABORATIONS SINCE IT WAS INTRODUCED IN 2018. DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY, ESPECIALLY WITH CREATIVE DIRECTORS OCCUPYING INCREASINGLY SHORT TENURES AT HOUSES?
“It’s a really innovative and fresh project to be a part of because its foundation is creativity. It is nice to see different voices coming together to share their vision of how Moncler can be presented through different eyes. (This year, the brand even expands beyond fashion to add Rimowa and e-bike manufacturer Mate.bike to its Genius line-up.) There are various points of view that are all so strong and unapologetic; the approach just feels right.”
WHAT PLACE DO COLLABORATIONS HAVE IN A WORLD AND FASHION INDUSTRY THAT ARE STILL RECKONING WITH THE IMPACT OF THE ONGOING HEALTH PANDEMIC?
“Collaborations allow creative folks to gather, have a conversation and develop new pieces and ideas for the future. This pandemic has only encouraged more cross-collaborative efforts and has in fact allowed more people to come together and be creative, which is always a good thing.”
HOW HAS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTED RICHARD QUINN THE MAN AND THE BRAND?
“I think it’s given me time to pause, reflect and grow. Work-wise, it’s meant a lot of Zoom calls and speaking to our clients directly and it has been great to interact with our customers directly so much more.”
HOW DO YOU IMAGINE THAT THE FASHION BUSINESS WILL CHANGE WHEN THIS PANDEMIC ENDS?
“I think that creativity will always thrive in the face of adversity. It will be interesting to see what the new times will bring in terms of attitudes and style.”