Mary Quant was the second major fashion exhibition I attended at the V&A within a fairly short space of time. Born in London, Quant revolutionised the British high street in the 1960s, making high fashion available to everyone and popularising the famous miniskirt. I have to admit that on a personal level, the clothes aren’t really my style – I prefer longer skirts and dresses in general, and the Dior-influenced vintage look is much more my scene. In fact, my favourite piece in the exhibition was a maxi dress from the Seventies. However, there’s no doubt that Quant’s clothes had a huge influence on style, and her practical, fun pieces helped to democratise fashion.
The exhibition takes us through Quant’s career and showcases the pieces that made her famous, including monochrome daisies, coloured opaques, practical underwear, and even modern makeup (I could tell from the style of the marketing that Lush was influenced by Quant’s makeup range). I really liked that the museum got the public involved, requesting people to send in their own Quant clothes. I went to the exhibition with my auntie and I enjoyed hearing about her own experience of the brand – wearing a minidress to meet her future in-laws and worrying that the skirt was too short!
I thought it was cute, too, to showcase the mini, Barbie-style Quant dolls, dressed in miniature versions of popular fashions. A way to get younger girls interested in the clothes so that they could covet them for themselves when they were older.
Overall, the exhibition is definitely worth a visit – for the social history as much as the fashion.