In full honesty, my truest hope for London’s Victoria & Albert Museum visit was to somehow get a ticket into the sold out Christian Dior exhibit. That did not happen for me, but as a well prepared back-up plan, I wore my best mod floral shift mini dress to be ready for Mary Quant. While her ginger brown drop-waisted, Peter Pan collared dresses can’t hold a candle to Dior’s New Look in my personal opinion, I still had an enjoyable time browsing the collection. She is a fashion icon after all!
Mary Quant was a British fashion designer in the 1960’s, and she was paramount in giving teenagers their own voice through fashion. It used to be that mothers would commission seamstresses to sew their young ladies proper pretty dresses, not unlike the style they themselves were wearing. However Mary Quant came onto the scene with her cute daisy logo, mass production mini dresses, licensing deals , and an ever mod-tastic vibe. The teen scene in retail changed forever. Teen girls could find a new identity with these fun looks, a vibe different than their mothers. A PVC wet-look rain coat and bright pink tights maybe? And don’t forget the make up; Mary Quant drew up comic book style instructions, to show the youth how to apply that classic mod look : think Twiggy.
While I would never cut my hair into a Vidal Sassoon 5 point bob, or wear half her designs, I like Mary Quant because she clearly had a vibrant spirit of innovation, a cohesive look in mind that was her signature style, and she had an excellent grasp on branding, licensing, and supply chain in a time when this was not happening. I admire her career, and I am glad I was able to enjoy learning about her at the V&A.
Below are some of my favorite looks. The leopard coat is certainly adorable.