London Fashion Week is over for yet another season, and while there were many sartorial highlights, your Instagram feed may have gone wild over one specific sighting: that of Queen Elizabeth sat front row next a different sort of royalty, US Vogue's Anna Wintour. This afternoon, at Richard Quinn’s AW18 presentation, Her Majesty was on hand to present the emerging designer with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The accolade, which, according to WWD, was "initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy," will be given to designers who “show exceptional talent and originality while demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies.”
Quinn launched his line in 2016 after earning both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Central Saint Martins, and, according to an Instagram post from Sarah Mower, "has built a printworks in South London to share, open-access, for students and his peers." The Queen saw his pieces during a visit to London Fashion Week’s Designer Showroom before attending his catwalk show, cementing what we would consider a pretty royal co-sign.
“From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting-edge fashion designs,” she said while presenting the award. She added that this occasion was “a tribute to the industry and my legacy and all those who have contributed to British fashion.”
According to a statement made by Royal Central, read "The Queen Elizabeth II Award aims to provide continuing recognition of the cultural and trade role the British design and fashion industry has played, and continues to play, throughout Her Majesty’s reign. The award itself was designed by Angela Kelly, inspired by the Queen Elizabeth rose, and has been hand-produced by Lucy Price at Bauhinia Studios in Birmingham’s famous jewellery quarter."
The appearance marked an important moment in recent fashion history, as the Queen (at 91 years old) is making fewer public appearances, proving just how key this award and its future impact on the industry really is.