Mary Quant, a pioneering fashion designer whose vibrant miniskirts embodied Swinging London in the 1960s and had a profound impact on youth culture worldwide, passed away at the age of 93.
Hamish Bowles, the global editor at large for “Vogue,” was eager to highlight Quant’s significance in fashion history. “She was in the ideal situation at the ideal time and had the ideal sensibility. She arrived on the scene precisely as the 1960s were beginning,” he claimed.
The short skirt did not appeal to everyone. The miniskirt was deemed “indecent” by Coco Chanel, while Sophia Loren stated in public that the short attire “destroyed the feminine mystique.”
The designer was born and raised in post-World War II London, when, in her words, “most people had returned to their gardens and allotments hoping life would revert to how it had been before the hostilities.”
The young designer’s success at the beginning of her career should not have been a surprise given the use of vibrant colours and avant-garde textiles. After all, the city was still populated by gentlemen wearing bowlers and holding umbrellas, as she remembered it. I introduced my fresh views on fashion to this planet.
Early in the 1960s, Quant opened her store, Bazaar, on King’s Road. She quickly gained notoriety for her avant-garde interpretation of femininity, which was youthful, vibrant, and, above all, contemporary. The fact that she was a similar age to most of her clients may have influenced her opinions on what clothing was most appropriate for ladies.
Mary Quant popularised the mod look with her short hair and knee-high boots, which substituted bloomers for stiff bras and thin stockings for flowy baby doll gowns. The appearance was both indicative and incendiary of the coming cultural uprising in England. A trendsetter during the “Swinging Sixties,” the designer captured the essence of the era and helped support the women’s movement, at least stylistically, by creating a strong role model for the working woman.
Mary Quant established a uniform that helped redefine how women dressed by inventing the miniskirt and fitted pants. Her loud and brash fashion declares, “I’ll wear what I like, thank you very much.”
In the late 1960s, the creator of the legendary miniskirt shifted her attention to accessories. She made PVC clogs and knee-high boots and paired them with glittering rain jackets. But towards the end of the decade, she stopped working with clothing and devoted her name to a cosmetics company, which is still in business today.
More than 60 years after Quant’s debut, her fame in England and her influence in the fashion industry are still felt today. By showcasing items from Quant’s whole career, an exhibition at the V&A Museum in London, which debuted four years ago, sought to track the designer’s career and her influence on fashion. The museum issued a request for individuals to rummage through their closets and sometimes add a unique item to the collection in order to build the show; they received more than 800 clothing items and accessories to choose from.