April 29, 2019

Dame Mary Quant Is Having a Moment (Again)

The Quant Afoot footwear collection launch, 1967. Photography by Pa Prints 2008.

Dame Mary Quant is having a moment—rather, another moment. The British fashion designer who has been credited with inventing the miniskirt in the 1960s is now, at age 85, the subject, along with Terence Conran, of the just-released pop culture book “Swinging London,” which coincides with an exhibition at the city’s Fashion and Textile Museum. But the spotlight’s just on her in “Mary Quant,” across town at the Victoria and Albert Museum (on view through February 16, 2020).

Quant with husband and business partner Alexander Plunket Greene in 1961 outside Bazaar, her London shop. Photography by John Cowan Archive/courtesy of Terence Pepper Collection.

The first international retrospective on the multi­hyphenate (she is also an illustrator and owned Bazaar, her London shop) features more than 120 garments plus photographs and her sketches from 1955 to 1975, when Quant utilized new mass-production techniques and simple, spirited styles to revolutionize how English women dressed. “We didn’t realize,” Quant says, “that what we were creating was pioneering.”

Model Kellie Wilson in a ’60s dress by Ginger Group, the designer’s diffusion line. Photography by Gunnar Larsen.
A 1966 satin minidress and shorts by Quant. Photography by Duffy Archive.

Read next: “Gender Bending Fashion” Exhibition in Boston Reveals Blurry Boundaries in Male/Female Attire

> See more from the April 2019 issue of Interior Design

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