Mary Quant At The V&A: Coming Soon And Your Help Needed

Mary Quant and models at the Quant Afoot footwear collection launch, 1967
© PA Prints 2008

Womenfolk, we are all in demand currently, it seems. Not only are we wanted for modelling campaigns (we will be disappointed if some of you don’t apply, let us know how you get on if you do), the V&A needs our help too.

Next year, after getting access to Dame Mary Quant’s Archive, the museum is to curate the first international retrospective on the super-important fashion designer in nearly 50 years. The exhibition will open in April 2019 and will focus on the years between 1955 and 1975, when Mary revolutionised the high street with her subversive and playful designs for a younger generation. That younger generation will have included some – maybe many- of our readers and the V&A wants your stories, your clothes, your shoes and your make up from any of Mary’s collections for the show.

Satin mini-dress and shorts by Mary Quant, photograph by Duffy, 1966
© Duffy Archive

We asked the show’s curator Jenny Lister what she was looking for exactly. “We want to track down rare Mary Quant garments and gather personal stories, recollections and photographs – and for this we need your readers’ help! Did you know or work with Mary in the 1950s, 60s or 70s? Did you wear her distinctive designs from the period? Do you still have these remarkable garments or photographs of you wearing these? Or perhaps you know a friend or relative that did? If so, we want to add your voice and clothes to the exhibition to celebrate this important part of fashion history. Garments need to be in good condition and ideally, we need to know the name of the wearer and where the garment was first bought.”

Three models wearing underwear designed by Mary Quant, c. 1966
© Otfried Schmidt/ullstein bild/Getty Images

So, did you shop at Bazaar on the Kings Road? Have you been hoarding tiny pieces of Quant branded clothing, thinking ‘was I really once that thin?’ Well now is your chance to be rewarded for your anti- Kondo strategy of keeping everything ‘just in case’. Jenny and the V&A want to hear from you, get in touch to share your stories and photos by emailing [email protected].

Fashion model Ika posing with Mary Quant’s new collection of shoes, 6 April 1972
© Roger Jackson/Central Press/Getty Images

Bazaar and Biba are the two shops I wish I’d been to, I’m old enough but didn’t come anywhere near London until both were gone. If I was offered a time travel machine I’d opt to go back for a day and go shopping in both stores (I’m hyperventilating just thinking about this). I am pretty sure some of you will have shopped Bazaar, so let us know what your stories are, and do contact the V&A.

Mary Quant at her apartment in Draycott Place, Chelsea, London, c.1965
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

8 Comments

  • Sue Evans says:

    I am super-excited about this exhibition which is long overdue. Mary Quant was the person we all wanted to be back in the day. I copied her Sassoon 5-Point haircut and even wore a Quant pinafore dress for my wedding 50 years ago this July (with a Biba blouse).

  • Amanda says:

    I was sure you’d have some memories Sue, you should really get in touch….BTW you may end up living at the V&A over the next year, I went to Frida yesterday and thought of you the whole way round…..Ax

  • Chris Malthouse says:

    Was too young for the clothes but can remember buying Mary Quant’s Havoc Perfume in the mid 70’s. Absolutely loved it and can still smell it in my mind (if that makes sense!). That and Aqua Manda definitely sum up the 70s for me.

  • Sue Evans says:

    Yes Amanda, all booked for Frida — my treat to myself on my birthday ! I’ll have to dig out some wedding pics — we have about 3 I think — and send them off. Not sure many other people decided to wear a rust coloured crepe pinafore dress with a big Q placement print to their wedding ! Seemed like a good idea in 1968 !

  • Jan says:

    So interesting. Her designs were so influential but, unless I’m completely mistaken, they were all clothes that were available on the high street at affordable prices.

  • Amanda says:

    Absolutely Jan! Good point! A

  • Amanda says:

    Happy Birthday Sue! Hope you enjoyed it and we NEED to see those pictures….x

  • Amanda says:

    Oh Interesting, I didn’t know about Havoc, will investigate A

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