EYE CANDY

Mary Quant May Not Have Invented the Miniskirt, But She Did Make It Revolutionary

Mary Quant
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There’s a good chance that Mary Quant was not, as had been believed for decades, the original designer behind the miniskirt, but that’s a mere technicality. Even before the Swinging Sixties rolled around, Quant was such a fierce advocate of the miniskirt, which came to symbolize her quip that she didn’t “have time to wait for women’s lib,” that she arguably revolutionized fashion as much as Christian Dior did with the New Look. It only took four years, anyway, for her to try; Quant was just 21 when she opened up her first shop, causing a sea change of her own with not only hemlines, but examples of her earth-shattering belief that women should be able to wear pants. Even among fellow mod pioneers like André Courrèges, Quant stood out: Her goal was always to bring her designs to the masses—not that that stopped her from picking up fans like Twiggy along the way. Fittingly enough, the V&A’s current Quant retrospective emphasizes everyday women, too: Thirty-five of the garments on display came from some of the thousands of women who responded to the curators’ open call for vintage Quant. Get a glimpse of what they—and Quant’s signature Vidal Sassoon haircut—looked like in their prime, here.

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Ronald Dumont/Stringer/Getty Images

Vidal Sassoon giving Mary Quant a haircut, photographed by Ronald Dumont, circa 1967. Featured in “Mary Quant,” on view at the V&A in London through February 2020.

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A model in a satin mini-dress and shorts by Mary Quant, photographed by Duffy, 1966. Featured in “Mary Quant,” on view at the V&A in London through February 2020.

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© Mary Quant Archive

A model holding a bag from Bazaar, Mary Quant’s Kings Road boutique, circa 1959. Featured in “Mary Quant,” on view at the V&A in London through February 2020.

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PA Prints 2008

Mary Quant with models at the Quant Afoot footwear collection launch, 1967. Featured in “Mary Quant,” on view at the V&A in London through February 2020.

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Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Mary Quant selecting fabric to create samples for a furniture collection in London, 1967. Featured in “Mary Quant,” on view at the V&A in London through February 2020.

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© adoc-photos/Corbis Premium Historical/Getty Images

Mary Quant photographed by Ronald Dumont, circa 1967. Featured in “Mary Quant,” on view at the V&A in London through February 2020.

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© INTERFOTO Alamy Stock Photo

The Mary Quant Beauty Bus, 1971. Featured in “Mary Quant,” on view at the V&A in London through February 2020.

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