Monday, June 27, 2016

Fashion History: The Queen of Mod, Mary Quant

Shiny boots and bubble skirts... yes yes YES!

The next time you put on a mini skirt, give a little thank you to its inventor Mary Quant.  (She named it after her favorite car, the Mini.)  One of the most influential English designers of the 1960s, Mary gave midcentury women many of the elements of Mod style.  And that style still works today.

She once said, "It was the girls on 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!'"

Mary wanted women to be emboldened by their clothes.  These were outfits for women who wanted to do more than just be looked at.  These were clothes to change the world and fight the system, while still having a whole lot of fun.

"They are curiously feminine," Mary said of the women who wore her clothes, "but their femininity lies in their attitude rather than in their appearance."

Not that a Mary Quant girl didn't appreciate attention, however.  "She enjoys being noticed," Mary said, "but wittily.  She is lively, positive, opinionated..."

Right on, sister.

I still love wearing 60s-style printed tights and mini skirts.  I particularly love these floral ones made by Vera Wang for Kohls:

I found that almost dead ringer for a Boy bag at a little boutique in Santa Barbara last year.  Score!

As if coming up with the mini skirt weren't revolutionary enough, Mary later popularized hot pants:

Alas, I do not look nearly this good in hot pants...

She also gave women a great reason to cut their hair into her classic fringy-bang bob:

She even designed the Daisy doll, which I seriously want to find on Ebay someday...

Mary later went on to design household items and makeup.  She resigned from her cosmetics company Mary Quant, LTD in 2000.

Here's more great newsreel footage from one of her 1960s fashion shows:

For fellow fashion book nerds, I highly recommend reading Mary's autobiography, Quant on Quant.  Originally published in 1966, it's a great read from a true fashion rebel.

I own this mod, Mondrian-print, 60s-inspired minidress by Jessica Simpson, and it seems like a perfect fit for a Mary Quant girl:

I also love this flirty mini skirt from Michael Kors:

And this other one by Kors is a perfect 60s-era summer print.  Looks like he's inspired by daisies, just like Mary Quant...

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