STYLE AND CULTURE
STYLE LESSONS FROM MARY QUANT
By Eleanor Dunne, 6 April 2019
Following on from the success of the Christian Dior exhibit, today the V&A museum in London opens its latest show, Mary Quant. Now, if you don't know who Quant is, get familiar: in the 60s, the designer and her famous King’s Road boutique Bazaar revolutionised women's fashion and popularised many of the fashion delights we freely enjoy today. To give you a run down, here are five key trends she brought to the fore and how we’re wearing them this season.
Quant may not have actually invented the mini skirt (that was French designer André Courrèges), but she played a huge part in making it an iconic fashion moment of the 60s. And, while today a mini skirt is a signature in most women’s wardrobes, back then it was a controversial move-on from the longer silhouettes of the post-war era. This season, nearly 60 years later, take a cue from Camila Coelho and wear a mini with a longline coat and knee-high boots.
Who wears short shorts?
Not content with elevating the hemlines of dresses and skirts, Quant went a step further in liberating women from dressing like their mothers by creating hot pants. They’ve had a hiatus over the last couple of months, but short shorts are back this season, thanks to labels like Loewe, Chloé and Alexander Wang. Balance the silhouette by pairing it with a utility jacket and some flat boots like Doina Ciobanu, seen here wearing Loewe during fashion month.
The tight stuff
In order to keep her London clientele comfortable (and warm) in her super-short designs, the designer had the genius idea of getting theatrical tights manufacturers to create stockings for her store. With tights being our saviours for the cold weather (and when we don’t feel like getting our bare legs out but still wanna wear our fave dresses), all we can say is, 'Thank you, Mary'.
As well as new silhouettes, Quant experimented with some unexpected materials for the first time – including super-shiny PVC, to which she dedicated a whole collection. So yep, we have Mary to thank for those edgy (and squeaky) trousers and dresses the Kardashians love, plus some seriously good outerwear. Make like this street styler and pair a high-shine coat with a football scarf, keeping the rest of the look understated.
And just when you thought Quant couldn’t have done more for your wardrobe, you discover that she’s also responsible for your favourite ribbed knit. It came about when the designer tried on an eight-year-old boy's school sweater for fun (as you do) and the next thing you know, half of 60s London was rocking them. We’re heading into warm-weather territory but a thin version works well for chillier days – or a thick style for when the office air con is on full blast.