Mary Quant was a true fashion revolutionary with an innovative approach to design; she famously instituted the mini-skirt as a must-have item in Swinging London and adapted icons of menswear such as shirting and pinstripe suiting into feminine creations. Her clothing perfectly expressed the spirit of the time, which was becoming centred on the concept of an increasingly dominant youth culture, a sense of freedom and female emancipation.
A retrospective of the designer and feminist icon’s work is now at the V&A Dundee, following the success of the exhibition’s debut in London last year.
“Fashion is not frivolous. It is part of being alive today,” Quant famously declared in response to her critics who often misjudged her exuberant designs and joie-de-vivre approach.
The exhibition unpacks these criticisms and presents an extensive survey of the designer’s work from 1955 to 1975, with hundreds of items including clothing, accessories, sketches, cosmetics, and photographs.
The exhibition tagline: “Iconic. Feel good. Fashion revolutionary”, aptly reflects the work of a designer who lived and created truly in and of her times. As she reflected years later, “I think to myself, ‘you lucky woman – how did you have all this fun?’”