A fascination with florals and a desire to make them relevant and modern is what unites Jo Malone London and the British fashion designer Richard Quinn. ‘It was kind of the perfect collaboration, really,’ says Richard of Design Editions by Richard Quinn, the designer’s first foray into fragrance and homeware. ‘We’re both interested in fantasy and florals, so it was a natural fit.’
Design Editions by Richard Quinn consists of Jo Malone London’s signature candle scents, such as Honeysuckle & Davana, English Pear & Freesia and Peony & Blush Suede, packaged in limited-edition boxes and tissue paper decorated with floral prints designed by Richard. ‘It was an interesting exercise for us to put our own mark on something like the Jo Malone London box that is so established and see how our prints can be a visual representation of a scent that already exists. It was a great learning experience for us.’
Richard, who burst onto the international stage when the Queen and Anna Wintour sat next to each other in the front row of his Autumn/ Winter 2018 show at London Fashion Week, is known for his bold mix of floral prints and embroidery with subversive elements, such as hoods, masks and latex. As a graduate of St Martins’ MA fashion course, Richard’s clothes are as steeped in historical fashion references as they are inspired by the colourful characters of London’s myriad underground club scenes. This explains his loyal following of fans who alternate between Richard’s signature floral fetish looks and classically feminine shift dresses. Both represent the full spectrum of his world, a place where the romantic classicism of florals is gleefully and happily twisted into something unsettling and macabre.
While many of us were lolling around in our pyjamas at home, Richard spent lockdown busily developing his brand, collaborating with us and contributing to
the fight against Covid-19 by making masks and scrubs from offcut fabrics found in his studio. Most recently, he produced a film to promote his AW 2021 collection, featuring catsuits, ballerinas and ball gowns set on a wild, rain-sodden night out in Soho. ‘It was a real opportunity to do something creative and unafraid and the complete opposite of making a tracksuit,’ says Richard of the impact of lockdown on his work.
The release of Design Editions by Richard Quinn at the same time as the arrival of spring is especially poignant. ‘Spring, for me, is all about new beginnings, new life, new kinds of nature, and so the timing is perfect, really.’
While spring is a celebration of new life blossoming, Richard very much hopes that his designs for the new collection will have a long afterlife. ‘I don't like the idea of throwaway things, especially objects,’ he says. ‘We got sent a lot of Jo Malone London’s packaging and were struck by how tactile and luxurious it was, matte and textured.’ As a result, the boxes and accompanying designs were conceived of as keepsakes that will continue to be used long after the products have finished. ‘We’ve got three main stories with different edgings and different prints, and also different prints inside the boxes. It means that the boxes can be reused after you’ve finished the products, so you still have that memory. It’s all about that kind of eclectic, vintage nostalgia.’