Mary Quant

(b. 1934) English fashion designer

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(1934– )

British fashion designer and one of the principal creators of the ‘sixties look’. She was awarded an OBE in 1966.

While studying for a teaching diploma at Goldsmith's College, London, Mary Quant met her collaborator and future husband, Alexander Plunkett-Greene. After working as a milliner, she opened her first boutique, called Bazaar, in the mid-1950s in Chelsea's King's Road in partnership with Plunkett-Greene and Archie McNair. Quant's choice of clothes and accessories caught the imagination of young Londoners and this success inspired her to design and make garments herself. Beginning on a single sewing machine in her bedsitter, she expanded rapidly and in the early 1960s branched out into furs, rainwear, underwear, and cosmetics. Her most famous innovation was the miniskirt, launched in 1966, which took hemlines to unprecedented heights. By 1967 two further Quant boutiques had opened in London and their founder held a host of design contracts and retail concessions with other stores. In the early 1970s another Quant creation – hotpants – made a brief appearance, and at the same time she produced designs for household furnishings and linen.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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