Fashion

The Fashion Alphabet

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What would we women be without our skirts? Other than wearing a dress there is no better way to embrace our femininity than to wear a sexy little skirt. Today we take a look at the woman who created the mini skirt that we have come to know and love so dearly…

Today we take a quick look history behind the mini skirt and the designer…


Q

(Mary) Quant and the mini skirt


Dame Barbara Mary Quant, was born on the 11th of February 1934 in Blackheath, London to Welsh parents. Quant went to Blackheath High School and went on to study the art of illustration at Goldsmiths College. After attaining a Diploma in Art Education from Goldsmiths, Quant began working as an apprentice at Erik, a high-end Mayfair milliner on Brook Street.

In 1953, Quant met her business partner who became her husband Alexander Plunket Greene. It was in 1955 that they teamed up with a photographer and former solicitor, a man named Archie McNair, to open Quant’s first shop – Bazaar. In 1957, she wed Greene and they opened the second branch of Bazaar, which was designed by Terence Conran.

Her designs in this early stage of her career included small white plastic collars to brighten up sweaters and dresses, as well as bright stockings in colours matched to her knitwear even men’s cardigans made long enough to be worn as dresses. She primarily began working unaccompanied, but soon she was employing a handful of machinists, and by the year 1966 she was working with eighteen manufacturers concurrently.

She became an influential figure in the 1960s London-based Mod and youth fashion movements. One of her most iconic and was also a defining garment for the 60s – the mini skirt. Whilst she is often quoted as the creator of the style, it can be stated that other designers such as John Bates or André Courrèges, could also be credited.

Quant was quoted as having said that “It was the girls on the King’s Road who invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘Shorter, shorter.”

She provided the mini skirt with its name, the name being born after her favourite make of car, the Mini Cooper.

Models like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton became the poster children for wearing this skirt.

From this point onward designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Paco Rabanne adapted the style into their own designs around the time. It has gone on to become a staple in all female wardrobes and while all skirts were pertinent to woman’s fashion, none were quite as revolutionary as the mini.

Mary Quant went on to make her name in fashion as well as cosmetics and at the age of 81, she still has what it takes!

Below we take a look at some of the most memorable mini skirt looks from the era.

Nancy Sinatra seen wearing a mini skirt
Nancy Sinatra seen wearing a mini skirt
Model Jean Shrimpton in 1965 causing a stir for wearing a mini without stockings in Melbourne
Model Jean Shrimpton in 1965 causing a stir for wearing a mini without stockings in Melbourne
 Quant with an array of models wearing mini skirts in 1967 to promote her line of shoes
Quant with an array of models wearing mini skirts in 1967 to promote her line of shoes
The face of the mini skirt - Twiggy
The face of the mini skirt – Twiggy
French model Brigitte Bardot in Italy 1969
French model Brigitte Bardot in Italy 1969
Women in Munich demonstrate against the 'maxi' looks featured in the approaching autumn and winter fashion in 1970.
Women in Munich demonstrate against the ‘maxi’ looks featured in the approaching autumn and winter fashion in 1970.

“I designed the miniskirt that caused so much havoc in the Sixties – the miniskirt that was such fun but has travelled well to today.”

~ Mary Quant

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Thanks VB xx

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