Mery Quant holds a special place in the fashion world. Fashion infused with pop culture and Youthquake. She made history as the designer of the miniskirt. She has been creating clothes since the late 1950s for her female clientele of today and not for the older generation. Her motto was that fashion should be affordable. First of all, for young people who wanted to wear avant-garde and follow new trends. Who was Mary Quant?
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Mery Quant – history
She was born on February 11, 1934 in Blackheath, London. She studied art and drawing at Goldsmiths College and after graduating became an assistant to a fashion designer to later open her own business. At Goldsmiths she met her future husband, Alexander Plunkett-Greene a with whom she led a happy life until his death in 1990.
In 1955, she opened her own store under the name “Bazaar” on Kings Road. Dissatisfied with the style and appearance of the clothes she was selling, she began designing them herself. She described her store as “a kind of permanent cocktail party.” Her clients included the Beatles, Brigitte Bardot, the Rolling Stones, Audrey Hepburn. As she admitted, “Men in bowler hats with umbrellas in hand knocked on our window shouting ‘Immoral,’ ‘Disgusting’ at the sight of our miniskirts displayed in the window.”
She established a chain of inexpensive boutiques with original clothing by her, thus creating a new market for young people. It was a great success. In 1963, she began producing clothes for the American market. Thus was born the global Mary Quant brand.
Beyond the world of fashion
The fashion icon claimed that she did not invent the miniskirt. It was the girls visiting her boutique who wanted them to get shorter and shorter. She named it after her favorite car brand: the Mini.
In 1966, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the fashion industry. She arrived at Buckingham Palace in…a miniskirt and cut-out gloves.
It was not limited to the fashion world. She also designed household items and was fascinated by the art of makeup. In those days, lipstick could only be red or pink. Quant drew inspiration in this matter from the world of art and painting. She designed, among other things. Mini Designer, which included black and white striped seats with red trim and seat belts.
The style promoted by Mary Quant was considered radical and even scandalous. But it was just an expression of rebellion against the fashion of the 1950s. “I wanted these clothes to be a complete break with our mothers’ clothes,” she admitted.
The style she offered women was a reflection of her commitment to women’s issues. As a Gentle Woman, she equated the concept of the miniskirt with the ideal of the modern woman. Confident, not afraid to deviate from convention. A way to express yourself on the street, in the club. Freedom above all else. Beyond the rules imposed. Remember that in those days English women could not open a bank account without their husband’s permission.
Mary Quant represented the “swinging sixties.” She revolutionized not only fashion in London, but all over the world. Creating clothes that are fashionable and comfortable at the same time. She proposed fun, innovative fashion, without a hint of snobbery, with geometric shapes, contrasting colors and a play of materials. Quant’s designs proved that fashion can reflect social changes while provoking them at the same time.
She claimed that thanks to her styling, a kind of super woman appeared. Knowing their worth, they sat like men, with their knees apart and their children took their mothers’ names.
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The end of stereotypes
An emblematic figure, an icon of British fashion in the 1960s. Mary Quant undoubtedly played a decisive influence on the birth, of a new British fashion while arousing admiration with her creations abroad. She has always defied the codes and rules of fashion by creating a new image for women. She undeniably contributed to the emancipation of women. It is thanks to her that women have freed themselves from stereotypes, playing to the beat of pop music and yeyes. They wore tights, pants, miniskirts and the materials used to sew them revolutionized the clothing industry. She was the embodiment of nonconformism.
In 1967, the miniskirt crossed the English Channel. Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot became her followers. It enabled young women to access fashion. Before that, only the wealthy had access to the privilege of elegance. It was a generational and moral upheaval. Thanks to Mary Quant, a true Gentle Woman, in all senses of the term, women have regained their carefree and joyful life. They no longer wanted to dress like their mothers. Mary Quant gave them an alternative.
“Fashion as we knew it is over. People now wear exactly what they feel like,” she confessed. Her style can be summed up in her words: “Fashion is the product of a thousand and one different things. It is a myriad of intangible ideas, influences, cross currents and economic factors, all shaped and dominated by two things: the impact on others and the pleasure it brings us. “Success is only when the woman who wears it gets a kick out of it, when she feels wonderful and looks wonderful.”