From high hemlines to hot pants, colourful tights and waterproof mascara, Mary Quant’s creations have made her a true fashion icon, synonymous with the swinging sixties.
Now, her incredible career is being celebrated by the V&A, with a major retrospective exploring the years between 1955 and 1975, when Quant revolutionised the high street, harnessing new mass production techniques to create a new look for women.
The museum has marked the launch of ticket sales for the exhibition with a ‘Quant revival’ on the streets of London, with models and staff who worked with Quant during the height of her fame in the 60s and 70s, as well as contemporary models, dressed in original Quant clothing.
Assembling in front of the V&A, the models boarded an iconic London Routemaster bus, personalised with Quant’s name and her famous daisy logo, and travelled through Chelsea and the King’s Road, the home of Quant’s first store and the heart of swinging London.
Earlier this year, the V&A launched a call-out to the public to track down rare Quant garments from wardrobes around the country. Receiving over 800 responses, 35 objects from 30 individuals were selected alongside personal stories from the owners and 50 photographs of the women wearing their beloved Quant clothes.
Receiving unprecedented access to Dame Mary Quant’s Archive, as well as drawing on the V&A’s extensive fashion holdings, which include the largest public collection of Quant garments in the world, the show will bring together over 120 garments as well as accessories, cosmetics, sketches and photographs - the majority of which have never been on display before.
“The moment the V&A’s launch event was suggested to the 60’s and 70’s models with whom we are still in touch, their excitement and enthusiasm was contagious” says Heather Tilbury, Former Director of Mary Quant Limited. “Their exhilaration demonstrates their understanding of Mary’s enduring inventiveness as well as sharing fond memories of that wonderful, stimulating era when all the fashion shows and presentations were such enormous fun, and rather crazy!
“It is truly thrilling that the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition will demonstrate Mary’s immense global impact and wonderfully liberating fashion to an entirely new generation as well as being an inspirational reminder to all who experienced those remarkable decades.”
Mary Quant is at the V&A from 6 April 2019 to 16 February 2020. Tickets are available at vam.ac.uk.