During Milan fashion week earlier in February, the third edition of Moncler Genius, Moncler 8 Richard Quinn opened to much fanfare. The show images were presented in a room designed to look like Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, with couture shapes taken into unexpected twists that came with a collision of sci-fi fashion of the '60s, all in Quinn's own added whimsy aesthetic.
We speak to the London-based designer, Richard Quinn, on this much raved collaboration, his relationship with Moncler, and how the pandemic has impacted his work.
L'Officiel: You graduated from Central Saint Martins and quickly bagged numerous awards (H&M Design Award, NewGen from the British Fashion Council, Queen Elizabeth II Award, presented by the queen herself, and British Emerging Talent Womenswear). Has becoming a fashion designer always been easy for you?
Richard Quinn: I was born and raised in London, in Eltham, in the south-east of the city. Since my childhood I have been interested in creating. I was the happiest in the world when I received a craft kit. I have always painted, worked with things such as plasticine, made Lego models. Later, I studied fine arts for six years until I got a place at Central Saint Martins School, where I naturally progressed in fashion. Prints and textiles have never ceased to inspire me. That's why I followed the courses dedicated to them. Most of the projects I developed during my studies are totally in line with what I do today.
Who are your fashion mentors?
My teachers Natalie Gibson, Fleet Bigwood, Elisa Polamino and Fabio Piras from Central Saint Martins, who taught me what I know today and who have encouraged me throughout my studies. They really allowed me to develop my style and gave me the confidence to show it off without restraint, and I am infinitely grateful to them.
Your universe seems to come straight out of a Tim Burton movie, is it just an impression or are you a big fan of the director?
I have always been drawn to the films of Tim Burton and to the work of photographer Tim Walker. This idea of showing a fantastic world or a fascinating image inspires me. The clothes I create must have that same kind of flamboyant signature and be instantly recognizable.
What is the basis of your creative moodboard?
I love the Parisian salons of the 1950s and 1960s. It was a truly revolutionary time when the volumes were experimental, unlike the much thinner and narrower ones that adorned homes during the war.
What is the DNA of your eponymous brand, founded in 2016?
A vision without fear, with beauty with an edge.
I've read that fashion is a form of escapism; away to get away from it all. With this Moncler Genius collaboration, where have you escaped to?
In the 60s, that era of the past with futuristic accents. I wanted to create light, beautiful, daring and desirable shapes on interesting fabrics. Moncler is known for its famous down jacket.
Was it a challenge to revisit it?
This brand has a very rich history and it was great to be able to use the technical means available to work with this iconic material. In particular, we worked on gluing down to create printed quilted jackets.
Do you have a memory of childhood or adolescence with Moncler?
I have always seen Moncler jackets in store windows. It has always been very inspiring to me.
What do you think of the other Moncler Genius collections?
Seeing so many talents working for the same project is really something innovative. I liked all the collections. And this way of presenting each of our collaborations allowed the viewer to enter our worlds. I loved it!
Tell us about the scenography of your Richard Quinn x Moncler Genius fashion show in Milan, Kubrick's Space Odyssey atmosphere ...
The idea of futurism was summed up in this film. The staging in a pure white setting really allowed the clothes to pop while adding a dark side which I loved.
What makes Moncler Genius such a special project?
The driving force behind the project is creativity, which is rare. The teams are incredible and very generous in their expertise and skills. As a team we love working with Moncler, it is our Italian family. This collaboration makes it possible to take different paths, to exhibit them in an innovative staging.
Has the coronavirus and the subsequent confinement made you think about your work differently?
It's nice to stop and think at times. It allows us to review our priorities in all aspects of our life, which is always a good thing. I hope to see creativity and light emerge from the darkness.