Making his debut at New York Fashion Week this season was Irish-born Central Saint Martins graduate, Dean Quinn. After graduating from CSM in 2009, Quinn went on to win buzz designing the futuristic costumes worn by Rihanna on her last tour before going to work with Donatella Versace in Milan. From the fresh, accomplished collection he presented at Milk Studios on Sunday, Quinn has subtly toned down the theatrics and learnt a thing or two from Ms Versace about ease and wearability. Working in a precise palette of white, coral and mint green, Quinn’s trademark detailed beading was present and correct, but new this time were panelled jumpsuits and glamorous floor length dresses in Fortuny pleats. Though a concise edit of just 12 looks, the strong collection has already drawn raves from the likes of American Vogue, Barneys and Lane Crawford. Call it the luck of the Irish.
Dazed Digital: What was the starting point for the collection?
Dean Quinn: The starting point was sportswear. I knew I was going to go very wearable. I was definitely also inspired by Courreges but I don’t like to make it too literal or it’s too hard to wear. I always loved elements of my graduate collection but I wanted it to look like a complete wardrobe. I was thinking sport, scuba, swimming – I wanted it to look like the girl does laps of the swimming pool, gets up and puts on the ballroom gown, not a lick of makeup and goes straight out again. That’s what I fantasize about American fashion.
DD: How do you feel you’ve moved on as a designer since that collection?
Dean Quinn: The graduate collection was very robotic but there was more a sense of ease and lightness with this collection. I’m a lot braver now as a designer. I’m less hung up on what people might think - the collection looks like it’s less tortured. I wanted it to be very clean, modern and brand new all the time.
DD: What did you take away from your time at Versace?
Dean Quinn: I learnt about wearability. People go to Versace for a great dress – they don’t do makeup and don’t do much accessories. So it’s all about the clothes. And for a company to survive on just doing ready-to-wear is amazing.
DD: What does it mean to be a UK-trained designer showing his first collection in NY?
Dean Quinn: I think it’s great. The way people have responded has been amazing. I was in London for a while but I wasn’t really a designer there – I was doing one-off pieces and costumes for Rihanna. But here there’s a real hunger for new design talent.