A Swarovski-studded Queen Elizabeth II graced the front row of London Fashion Week, brushing shoulders with longtime Vogue editor Anna Wintour, during a surprise visit to the event on Tuesday. The 91-year-old monarch, wearing a powder blue tweed dress and jacket by her personal advisor Angela Kelly, could be seen chatting with Wintour and clapping her black-gloved hands as models walked in British designer Richard Quinn’s runway show.
The monarch later presented London-born Quinn, known for his avante-gard prints and colorful headscarves, with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The award was designed by Kelly, the woman who has crafted the Queen’s style for the past 26 years. It recognizes the role the fashion industry plays in both society and diplomacy.
It will be awarded annually to an emerging British fashion designer who shows talent and originality, whilst demonstrating value to the community and sustainable policies. Quinn established his namesake label in 2016, shortly after graduating from the fashion masters course at Central Saint Martins in London.
“Specialising in womenswear and textiles, his collections are bold and emotive creating a forward thinking unafraid vision,” the British Fashion Council said in a statement celebrating the designer’s “ability to combine unique handcrafted skill with a refined high fashion sensibility.”
The council hailed Quinn’s creation of a print studio, which offers accessible services to students.
The Queen also toured the designer showrooms at London Fashion Week, viewing collections and meeting up-and-coming designers with Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council. Photos shared by The Royal Family’s official Twitter account showed her admiring a red top hat and fascinator.