fall into richard quinn's floral dystopia
As his unsettling, upholstered designs are captured by Tim Walker, Central Saint Martins' graduate Richard Quinn discusses the importance of creativity.
All models wear clothing Richard Quinn.
Richard Quinn remembers his first creative epiphany. "I was really young, maybe five or six, painting a man walking in profile," he says. "My mum put it on the washing line to dry and it looked like he was walking along the garden. I was pretty pleased with that." Perhaps it explains the young designer's sideways look at the world? Born and raised in south east London, the recent CSM graduate is fast making a name for himself with the self-described "cracked couture" of his own eponymous label. An extravaganza of prints and fabrics that sees garments either built up or pulled down to unveil fully upholstered figures underneath, the result is both glorious and holistic; like the Blue Man Group let loose in a William Morris wallpaper factory. Little wonder he was announced winner of the H&M Design Award late last year.
"My work is always linked to how I feel, a mood, be it love or loss and how I react against it," describes the designer, who's previously held intern positions with Raf Simons at Dior and at Richard James' Savile Row tailors. Today that means collaborating with photographer Tim Walker on their own twisted take of a 60s couture shoot, upholstered furniture combining with Paul Harris-style upholstered people. The effect is unsettling and surreal, but there's humour there too, optimism, even. "Recent political events have made people angry, more vocal and given a reason to stand up and be counted," he says. "Optimism is knowing the people bite back and have the power. Optimism is knowing the next generation is more informed and will fight for equality and peace." What role does he think creativity will play in that fight? "I believe creativity thrives in adversity and now, more than ever, we need to be heard to make positive change," he tells us, before pausing. "It's always darkest before the dawn!"
Text Matthew Whitehouse
Photography Tim Walker
Hair Shon at Julia Watson Agency. Make-up Lucy Burt at Bryant Artists using Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss and Les Beiges de Chanel. Nail technician Jenni Draper at Premier Hair and Beauty using OPI Nails. Models Richie Beras, Alyssa Traoré and Bronwyn Fisher at IMG. Jessica at Nevs. Eva at Models 1.