Retrospective: Happy 80th Birthday Mary Quant
The fashion and beauty icon says goodbye to her seventies
A name that will always have a place in fashion – and arguably beauty – history for creating the most iconic look of the 60s era, Mary Quant is synonymous with the altogether 'new' looks of the time; miniskirts and modern, short bobbed hair cuts.
A designer who takes credit for utterly modernising the way that women in the West wear clothes, Mary Quant – along with her friend and hairstylist Vidal Sassoon – created an overall style that fuelled the 'Mod' movement. By promoting looks such as a geometrically cut mini-dress and iconic sharp hairstyle (and many other fun fashions) she encouraged young people to dress to please themselves and to treat fashion as a game.
Mary Quant and Vidal Sassoon
Quant was born in southeast London as the daughter of Welsh teachers, her parents originally both from mining families. After studying illustration at Goldsmith's College in London, she began working at a high-end milliner in Mayfair before opening her famous shop on the King's Road called Bazaar.
Some of her successful designs from this early period included small white plastic collars to brighten up sweaters and dresses, bright stockings in colours matched to her knitwear, men's cardigans made long enough to be worn as dresses, and a pair of "mad" lounging pyjama pants worn by Quant herself.
Mary Quant at Bazaar
Mary Quant modernised hemlines
Mary's store, Bazaar
Mary Quant's iconic style spurned a fashion movement
The styles were soon introduced to the American mass market by magazine Harper's Bazaar, before her idea of the 'mini' came along, named after her favourite make of car, the British Mini.
A 60s design by Mary Quant
Mary Quant in the early 90s outside the first of her franchise concept store concept, Mary Quant Colour Shop, a name she later sold to a huge buy out from Japan, where her name is deemed as fashion royalty
Quant married her business partner, Alexander Plunket Greene, in 1953 until his death in 1990 – and had one son, Orlando. Now very much retired from the limelight, she has been quoted in the past as saying, "It was the girls on the King's Road who actually invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, 'Shorter, shorter.'"
To which we say a job well done, and a very Happy Birthday to you, Mary Quant.
The famous 'five point' cut created by Quant and Sassoon