Minis, Marvelettes & Mary Quant
An exhibition to honour sustainable fashion
Hot-pants and minis, panty hose and PVC… this was the swinging sixties and the age of Mary Quant when hemlines reached thigh-high and the new Mini ruled the road.
Mary Quant launched a distinctive style – one which brazenly displayed fun and an unstructured look to match a carefree attitude and movement to youthful fashion. Think Twiggy, short hair bobs, bright lipstick, bold eye make-up, coloured tights, short shift dresses, skinny-ribbed sweater and PVC which became her signature wet-look. All dynamic, different and daring. She was inspired by the subcultures of the Chelsea Set and the Modernists while the music scene was dominated by The Beatles and The Monkees, The Doors and The Troggs, Fleetwood Mac and The Marvelettes.
Needless to say, she went on to become a major influence in women’s fashion, style and design which today is honoured with a characterful exhibition in London’s V&A Museum. And how timely it is as we witness the over-consumption of the retail environment and the disposable wardrobe to a movement towards sustainable fashion.
Fittingly, the sponsor of The Mary Quant Exhibition is The Kings Road, the very place that influenced her catwalk designs and provided a home to her very first shop, The Bazaar, which opened back in 1951 and attracted international acclaim.
Guilded with an iconic heritage and an enviable street chic, the Kings Road is rekindling its hip reputation with creative zest and fashionable timing. Chelsea’s exciting new developments include the opening of The Fashion School which will offer classes and a fabric shop. The stage is set for the restoration of the historic Gaumont Theatre, opposite the Chelsea Town Hall, which will include an art house cinema amongst its range of facilities. New hotels on the scene bring in The Belmond Cadogan Hotel on Sloane Street which has already opened its doors while the Costes Hotel, complete with a rooftop restaurant, is scheduled for a later date, next to the Royal Court Theatre. And creating a landmark space, next to the forward thinking Saatchi Gallery, is the new Duke of York Restaurant opening soon to reveal a unique innovative design with a trendy roof terrace.
Fashions change and hem lines rise and fall. Today, they are climbing to celebrate the Mary Quant Age. And in her words, “The whole point of fashion is to make it accessible to everyone”
The exhibition opens April 2019 www.vam.ac.uk