Mary Quant, the British designer who revolutionized fashion and epitomized the style of the Swinging Sixties, a playful, youthful ethos that sprang from the streets, not a Paris atelier, died on Thursday at her home in Surrey, in southern England. According to the New York Times she was known as the mother of the miniskirt. She was 93.
This story was published Styletalk 2 November 2021:
“I think the point of fashion is not to get bored when you’re looking at somebody”.
So starts Sadie Frost’s new documentary “Quant”, a movie that hails the English designer as queen of the sixties, inventor of miniskirts and female liberation in fashion. Mary Quant has with her Vidal Sassoon bob, striking eye makeup, flat shoes and short skirts become the visual embodiment of the swinging sixties, a time when – as the documentary states – Beatles provided the soundtrack and Mary Quant the visual images.
“Quant” is Sadie Frost’s debut as director after she initially was approached by the production company Goldfinch Entertainment to make the film. Being personally inspired by Quant’s fresh style Frost have managed to summon a nice group of celeb friends, names like Kate Moss, Edward Enninful, Vivienne Westwood, and Kink’s guitarist Dave Davies – to sing the 91-year-old designer’s praises.
Mary Quant was, long with Ossie Clark, one of the most popular designers of the sixties, and Quant has been hailed as the inventor of both the mini skirt and the pantyhose. We were lucky to speak to her some years ago and she credited London’s art colleges for lifting young talent out of subcultures and into the mainstream in the sixties.
“I used to hang with Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Michael Cane and any one of them would pop by my studio regularly, just as natural as any fashion editor or fashion student. It was the vibe of London back then – high and low, street style and fashion went hand in hand. And we were just as inspired by eccentrics as by established fashion houses. This gave us a unique voice and lifted English fashion up as new, liberated and less shackled by authorities and rules than we had ever seen before, said Quant.
So, there is some dispute if it was in fact Quant or French André Courrèges who designed the miniskirt first. But it is Mary Quant who has gone down in fashion history as the queen of the swingin’ sixties look (below).
Black and whipe photos: Jac. de Nijs / Anefo