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Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary
2022.05.28-2022.08.28
Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary, a world tour of the fashion designer’s retrospective organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London, revisits the professional career of the iconic British fashion designer, Mary Quant, and showcases her representative designs from 1955 to 1975. From the experimental clothing store “Bazaar” to her namesake brand “Mary Quant,” which took the world by storm with its instantly recognizable Daisy logo. Her youthful, cheeky designs challenged the leading status of Paris as the center of haute couture, and shaped Britain’s visionary, innovative image after the war. As the ambassador of her own design, and benefited from the explosive growth of consumption and media at the time, Mary Quant was able to transform her designs of miniskirt, stockings, pinafore dress into unstoppable trends, which in turn made her the creative leader and role model of professional women worldwide. This retrospective includes more than 120 pieces of authentic clothes, fashion dolls, cosmetics, photographs, and fashion magazines to present comprehensively how Mary Quant created and defined the fashion styles of several generations to come.
Exhibition Entrance
The entrance to the exhibition replicates the façade of Bazaar, Mary Quant’s boutique opened on King’s Road in London, 1955.
Sketchbook (1944)
Made when Quant was just 14, this sketchbook shows her early interest in drawing figures, here in the nostalgic style of illustrator Mabel Lucie Atwell. Lent by Emma Gaunt
Installation View
1960-63 Subverting Menswear
Mary Quant re-interpreted cuts and materials customarily used for tailored suits or military uniforms, and applied them to relaxing, fun clothes for women.
Installation View
1960-64 English Eccentrics
Quant repurposed Victorian frills, stiff collars, bloomers, and florid printed patterns to highlight the pace of change and the modernity of her designs. Her bewigged mannequins strike unusual poses in Bazaar’s window displays, alongside props such as dead lobsters, often made passersby stop to stare.
1963-67 “Ginger Group”
Based on the American sportswear of interchangeable separates, the range is notable for an unusual color palette of “prune,” “ginger” and “putty,” altering the course of fashion with fun, edgy clothing at more affordable prices.
1965-67 Alligator Rainwear
Mary Quant collaborated with Alligator, a manufacturer specialized in using polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and launched a new range of waterproofs in a rainbow of colors with capes, zips and contrasting collars and cuffs, which combined functionality with striking visual effects.
1966-67 Jersey Dresses
Quant played with the jersey dress format, designing multiple options: round or high collars, with zips or buttons, pocket logos, different sleeves and skirts, and even hoods. With her brightly-coloured wool berets, matching tights and even shoes, Quant customers could recreate the complete look.
1964-74 Home-made Fashion
Mary Quant signed a deal with Butterick to offer sewing patterns, providing consumers the opportunity to make Quant’s shift dresses based on personal taste and budget.
Installation View
Diverse Products Lines
Quant’s fearless and innovative spirit infused more possibilities into the products of the Mary Quant brand. She developed a range of accessories, including quirky-colored stockings, plastic-molded shoes, PVC bags, and her cosmetics range. Utilizing clever market strategies and highly recognizable package design, Mary Quant became one of the earliest as well as the most diverse lifestyle brands.
Daisy Doll
Mary Quant also collaborated with the toy industry to create the Daisy doll and miniature versions of Mary Quant designs.
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