Dean Quinn is a new designer who recently graduated from Central Saint Martins. It’s difficult for any young designer to get started, and the expectations after one graduates from CSM are so high. Dean Quinn is one of the lucky ones, though: he won the Central Saint Martins Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2009. After graduation he was chosen to be part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s Spring/Summer 2010 “Ones to Watch” show, which is how we met (I was styling the show). I loved Dean’s work and found him irresistibly charming (it might have been his Irish accent). Dean was also featured in the V&A Fashion in Motion presentation of emerging talent and is presently an artist in residence at the Hospital Club.
This season Dean has done a very focused 11-piece collection (10 dresses and 1 jacket) that was exhibited with Vauxhall Fashion Scout. The collection was strong and you could see Dean’s signature style – the silhouette is classic with fierce shoulders. Continuing to use black and white he’s added colour, a rich blue and red, and of course there’s embellishment. Quinn has always expressed a love for embellishment and this season was all about beading: “I adore anything that is multi-dimensional. Embellishment brings a whole other level to a piece that brings a totally artisan quality to a piece. Beading the garment is like painting it. It’s like magic in a way.” Quinn is sponsored by Hand and Lock, the oldest embroidery company in the world and all the beading was hand done.
This collection is called ‘Piano,’ as Dean was inspired by Jane Campion’s film The Piano: “I was especially inspired by the final scenes of The Piano laying on the sea bed after many years and covered in urchins and anemones“. You can see this influence in the zig zagging of the beading wrapping the body. Stylists and celebrities will love this collection; it was made for the red carpet and cool editorials. Right now there is a flood of female singers who would look great in these clothes. When I think of embellishment I think of a grandmother cardi or some embellished prom dress from a vintage shop. It’s something I might avoid and I’ve seen enough sequins for a while, but Quinn has managed to make beading fierce, young and rebellious.
I’m looking forward seeing what Dean will do with embelishment next season, and whatever he does he’s determined to keep evolving: “Next season will be something different once again. I intend to keep doing new things that challenges me every season. It would be a nightmare for me to do something predictable season after season.”