‘Fashion isn’t always frivolous’: British designer Mary Quant is widely known in new exhibition


A new retrospective opened in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum this month, celebrating the girl who created the Nineteen Sixties’ maximum iconic style. Mary Quant was the style’s closing democratiser, a girl who saved an era of women from dressing like their mums. Quant’s no-nonsense technique to practical but ­intensely elegant apparel is best summed up by way of the designer herself: “Fashion isn’t frivolous; it’s for a part of being alive nowadays.” Born in 1934 to two schoolteachers in Blackheath, south London, Quant always desired to look at fashion. However, her mother and father denied this request, leading her to pursue illustration at Goldsmiths University. After a brief stint as a milliner’s apprentice, Quant struck out on her personal, in the end, starting her first revolutionary clothing shop on Chelsea’s Kings Road in 1955.

'Fashion isn't always frivolous': British designer Mary Quant is widely known in new exhibition 1

Quant now not only experimented with new designs, however additionally new materials from the very earliest days of her empire. Buying fabric from Harrods and fashioning garments in a single day on the market in her first store, Bazaar, she finally transformed into a businesswoman, mass-producing pinafores, colorful tights, and the famous miniskirt, all of which became staples in heaps of wardrobes around the world. An aptitude for advertising and marketing (plastic luggage from her Bazaar keep stay creditors’ objects), ­coupled with a cultish ­following of five-point-bob-sporting fans, fuelled Quant’s astronomic rise to reputation within the Swinging Sixties. ­However, in current decades, her ­have an impact on and paintings have lain ­unexplored, discarded like an awful lot of the short-­style she helped to create.

All this could be set to alternate, though, because the V&A throws open the doorways to its Mary Quant retrospective till ­February 2020, which ­incidentally is the month she’ll turn ninety. “Mary Quant turned into rather influential on an entire ­generation, and we wanted to look at her story, studies the data and the details,” says Jenny Lister, co-curator of the exhibition, including: “And it’s plenty extra than simply the miniskirts.

Pieces inside the Quant exhibition had been sourced from the very people she strove to encompass globally: regular British girls. Indeed, the show’s objects paint a fuller photo of the fashion designer and professional marketer Quant is. Trussed up like save home windows at the lower floor and ­progressing to a lighter, brighter higher gallery, the cases take site visitors thru Quant’s journey from her first Kings Road keep mass-­production offers for the US marketplace, spanning two decades and a hundred and twenty items.

In a speedy gear-change from the V&A’s ongoing Christian Dior exhibition, the various portions on display inside the Quant exhibition had been sourced from the very human beings she strove to include in the world of fashion: ordinary British ladies. Quant determined French ­couturiers shouldn’t be determining what ordinary humans wore and rather created less expensive, modish looks for her younger fans. The retrospective may additionally surprise a few traffic in its depth. The things the British dressmaker turned into well-known for are featured closely, however so are her innovative use of tartan and trousers, military fabric, and makeup.


The V&A used social media to ask the public for ­contributions and become ­inundated with photographs, tales, and garments lovingly saved from the technology. Of the 800 responses to the ­#WeWantQuant name-out, 35 pieces from 30 owners were included within the exhibition, many with photos displaying the authentic wearer. A blouse, offered from Bazaar and displayed on the floor, was bought via a research scientist hoping to affect her geologist boyfriend upon his return from Antarctica; an Alexander Stripe pinafore get dressed turned into sold for some other of the individuals by way of her mother and father – she referred to as Bazaar “via ways the maximum fashionable store in London.”