Mary Quant at the V&A Museum
The look that defined an era
The whole point of fashion is to make fashionable clothes available to everyone.
Our memory of the Swinging Sixties wears a Mary Quant frock. The London-born fashion designer’s garments sparked a high-street revolution that transformed post-war Britain forever. Shaped by an anti-elitist, feminist approach, her designs were as much fashion statement as political declaration.
In a major retrospective of Quant’s career, this exhibition at the V&A includes more than 200 pieces of clothing and accessories spanning iconic miniskirts and hot pants to exuberant tights and makeup. Fittingly for a designer whose raison d’être was creating fashion for the masses, 30 of the exhibition pieces were sourced from the public – those ordinary women whose lives were changed by Quant’s designs.
Key highlights include a pair of 1967 bright yellow PVC ankle boots, from Mary’s trendsetting ‘quantafoot’ collection – complete with her signature daisy motif on the heel – plus a high-hem mini-dress as modelled by iconic 60s model Twiggy.
Alongside the garments themselves – many of which have never been seen before – visitors can also discover photography of Quant at work, plus vibrant sketches and items from her personal collection.
She used clothes to demonstrate that change was coming. Fashion was no longer about couture, it was about expressing individuality.
Kate Lister, co-curator
6 April 2019 – 16 February 2020
The V&A Museum
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