This is the first international retrospective on the iconic fashion designer Dame Mary Quant.
The exhibition will explore the years between 1955 and 1975, when Quant revolutionised the high street, harnessing the youthful spirit of the 1960s and new mass production techniques to create a new look for women.
Quant personified the energy and fun of swinging London; and was a powerful role model for the working woman. Challenging conventions, she popularised the miniskirt, colourful tights, and tailored trousers – encouraging a new age of feminism. The mini skirt would go on to become an icon of the time and spark a new creative scene in London and beyond.
Receiving unprecedented access to Dame Mary Quant’s Archive, as well as drawing on the V&A’s extensive fashion holdings, which include the largest public collection of Quant garments in the world, the show will bring together over 120 garments as well as accessories, cosmetics, sketches and photographs – the majority of which have never been on display before.
Following a call-out to the public to track down rare Quant garments from wardrobes around the country, 35 objects from 30 individuals were selected and are displayed alongside personal stories from the owners and 50 photographs of the women wearing their beloved Quant clothes. These objects include rare examples such as a very early and unlabelled blouse, a hat sold at Bazaar – Quant's experimental shop on Chelsea's King's Road – and colourful PVC raincoats.
The show will explore some of Quant’s most memorable moments, from collecting her OBE to the evolution of her rising hemlines. It will look at her collaborations with manufacturers, diversifying into underwear, hosiery and cosmetics, all made to her designs, and packaged with her distinctive daisy logo.