Mary Quant

I grew up during the 1960s–the time of short dresses, Moon Maid boots, the Beatles, the model Twiggy, and the British Invasion. The British fashion designer Mary Quant was part of that British invasion. She created the Twiggy look and geometric dresses. Here is a quick look back at Mary Quant.

Mary Quant is the fashion designer of the swinging sixties and the Beatles era.

 Current looks influenced by Quant

Currently influenced by Quant

Currently influenced by Quant

“Whether in Paris, New York, or Milan, these days the clothes shown during Fashion Week usually have one thing in common:  the models on the catwalk are all quite naked.  Low-backed gowns slide down to expose the derriere, tops real more than they cover, and dresses are often so short they could be mistaken for little tops.  The most striking thing about these creations, however, is the reaction they provoke–no one today seems to be bothered.  In this ‘generation of indifference, one could almost wish oneself back to the middle of the last century, when only an inch or so of missing fabric could set off a revolution.

“It all began in 1955, when the art student Mary Quant, together with her later husband, the aristocrat Alexander Plunkett Greene, and their business partner, Archie McNair, opened the Bazaar fashion boutique on King’s Road in London’s Chelsea district.  Quant, then twenty-one years old, the daughter of a teacher, had planned to sell ready-made clothing from wholesalers, which she would alter to her own style.  But when she found that everything she had bought in the morning and altered in the afternoon had completely sold out by evening, she began to produce her own clothing.

“She transformed her small apartment into a studio (it was not until 1963 that she began to manufacture on a large scale), where her Siamese cat gnawed on the patterns produced on a paper made of fish derivatives.  What survived became the foundation for global success:  the skirts that each year grew increasingly shorter.

“Quant created a ‘total look’ that emphasized the legs (preferably slim) rather than classic feminine curves.

“Her waistless, childlike, loose-fitting dresses and schoolgirl tunics were characterized by clean lines and high armholes.

“The new dress lengths were worn with flat buckled shoes or boots–Quant considered high heels to be instruments of torture.

mary-quant-coats

THE SWEET JANE BLOG TWIGGY (C)c20a44f00078aa5cffcd5d20490112f6 

“The revolutionary, abbreviated hemlines quickly became the symbol of the Swinging Sixties, of rebellion against the establishment (which dutifully reacted with a storm of indignation), and women’s liberation (which dutifully reacted with a storm of indignation), and women’s liberation.

“Quant was celebrated (or demonized, according to one’s point of view), as the inventor of the miniskirt, although with Marc Bohan and Andre Courreges hems had also been rising in Paris.  But Mary Quant had a few advantages over the French couturiers:  she was young, innovative, and above all in the right place at the right time–London, the ‘coolest’ city in the world at the time, where the true originators of the miniskirt incidentally lived–the girls of the street.

“In the late sixties the miniskirt shrank even further to a micro-mini, but by that time the commotion had long subsided.  In California, the first flower children were already being seen in their long, flowing skirts.  Quant’s reaction was to close her London boutiques and concentrate on developing her makeup line.”

“In the late sixties the miniskirt shrank even further to a micro-mini, but by that time the commotion had long subsided.  In California, the first flower children were already being seen in their long, flowing skirts.  Quant’s reaction was to close her London boutiques and concentrate on developing her makeup line.”

50FashionDesigners

Quoted from 50 Fashion Designers You Should Know, p. 59