TOPSHOP:3 Things We Learned At The Victoria & Albert Mary Quant Exhibition

Iconic fashion designer Mary Quant (the inventor of the mini skirt) was the heart and soul of the Swinging Sixties in London, so it was only a matter of time until the Victoria & Albert Museum dedicated an exhibition to her work. The highly-anticipated show finally opens today and gives new insight into the legendary British designer’s life and work, focussing on the years between 1955 and 1975. Earlier this week we headed to the V&A for a preview of the exhibition, and here’s what we learned…Back in the day, owning a dress from Bazaar – Mary Quant’s store on Chelsea’s King’s Road – was the pinnacle of fashion ambition. In order to curate the exhibition, the V&A called on the public last summer to track down rare Quant garments. The response was overwhelming: thousands of women came forward wanting to loan or donate their precious items for display. Featured in the show are 50 photographs of these women wearing Quant pieces, serving as a testament of how much the designer’s pieces meant to these women that held on to them for so many years.For most people, Quant’s name is synonymous with the mini skirt, but in the Sixties she was also a key player in creating a revolutionary new look for women at the time. The silhouettes of her hot pants or Peter Pan-collar pinafore dresses worn with bold and colourful tights still influence fashion to this day.“Life was a whizz! It was such fun and unexpectedly wonderful despite, or perhaps because of its intensity… we were so fortunate with our enormous luck and timing.” These are the words Mary Quant used to open her autobiography Quant by Quant written in 1966. Using her sketches, photos, videos and fashion pieces the exhibition doesn’t just tell the story of a woman that was ahead of her time, but also the story of a youthful, liberated and revolutionary decade that changed London forever.


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