Designer Mary Quant turns 82 today. Quant was incredibly influential in the 1960s, creating fashion aimed at young people, encouraging them to dress for themselves.
She opened her first shop, ‘Bazaar’ on the King’s Road in 1955. This led to a second shop (designed by Terence Conran), and to start creating her own designs such as white plastic collars to liven up jumpers, bright stockings and funky lounging pyjamas. She then started to design and make more of the clothes she stocked, and by 1966 she was working with a range of manufacturers.
Mary Quant is, of course, most closely associated with the miniskirt (although others credit John Bates or Andre Courreges* with its invention).
Quant herself said later: ‘It was the girls on the King’s Road who invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘Shorter, shorter’.’
Influential journalist Ernestine Carter wrote in the Sunday Times, ‘It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three: Chanel, Dior, and Mary Quant.’
Mary Quant was appointed OBE in 1966 and DBE in 2015 for her contribution to British fashion.
*Andre Courreges died on 7th January 2016, but his death was somewhat overshadowed by that of David Bowie.