One of Richard Quinn’s most ravishing collections to date coincided with the saddest of occasions: grieving for his father Patrick, who died over the summer, aged 75.
Guests filed into a flower-filled hotel ballroom and discovered on their seat a single white rose and a wedding photo of Quinn’s parents. “Forever in Our Hearts,” the card read, while a framed image of an older Patrick sat on an empty chair next to his widow, Eileen, and his daughter, Elaine.
Quinn kept the mood of the show celebratory, opening with a dazzling display of Irish dancing by five women in frothy black tulle dresses flecked with white and green floral embroideries.
Once they pirouetted off the vast white carpet, out came a procession of ethereal cocktail dresses and evening gowns glittering with Swarovski crystals. Many came with stiff, caged skirts that emulated the shape of the glass cupola which dominated the room.
“That dome is quite angelic,” Quinn said backstage, fighting back tears.
There was a period quality to some of the gowns, with their bustles, trains and the puff-sleeved taffeta opera coats shrugged on top. Others were narrow and sleek, some belted demurely with a velvet sash.
Long gloves heightened the spine-stiffening elegance of the display. Top models include Caroline Trentini and Jessica Stam walked the show, the latter dressed in a delicately beaded, gold jumpsuit and one of those opera coats.
For the finale, the live chamber orchestra and a choir performed a rousing rendition of “Quinn the Eskimo,” a song written by Bob Dylan in 1967 and popularized by Manfred Mann in 1968. Its main refrain goes “Come all without; come all within, you’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn.”