The V&A Museum have announced it has been granted access to Dame Mary Quant’s Archive to curate the first  major exhibition on the fashion designer in nearly 50 years. 

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

Set to be on display from April 2019, the exhibition will concentrate on the period between 1955 and 1975 as the fashion designer transformed the high street with her subversive and playful designs for a younger generation, from hot pants, miniskirts and trousers for women to accessories, tights and make-up.

The display will bring together around 200 objects – many of which have not been on display in public before, to bring to life the real stories behind the myths to explore how Quant democratised fashion and empowered women.

Talking about the news of the exhibition, Jenny Lister, curator of Mary Quant at the V&A, said: “Mary Quant liberated fashion in the late 1950s and early 60s. Known for establishing high street fashion, inventing hot pants and popularising the miniskirt, she freed women from rules and regulations, and from dressing like their mothers. This long-overdue exhibition will show how Mary made high fashion affordable for working women, and how her youthful, revolutionary clothes, inspired by London, made British street style the global influence it remains today.”

While the exhibition will highlight Mary Quant’s rise to success, it will also share real stories from those who loved the Mary Quant brand and wore her distinctive designs in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In order to enhance this exhibition, the V&A is also launching a public callout to track down rare Mary Quant garments including: rare and early one-off designs sold between 1955 and 1960 in Quant’s renowned Bazaar boutiques, seminal styles from 1964 and 1965 with Peter Pan collars and Mary Quant knitwear, swimwear and accessories.

The museum is encouraging the public to get in touch through maryquant@vam.ac.uk for a chance to feature in the exhibition as well as to capture some of the many stories of those who adored the Mary Quant brand.

Talking about the exhibition Dame Mary Quant said: “The V&A is such a precious and iconic organisation for which I have the utmost admiration and respect, and it is a huge honour to be recognised by them with this dedicated exhibition and book. It was a wonderfully exciting time and despite the frenetic, hard work we had enormous fun. We didn’t necessarily realise that what we were creating was pioneering, we were simply too busy relishing all the opportunities and embracing the results before rushing on to the next challenge!”

Mary Quant will be on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum from the 6th April 2019. For more information visit: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/mary-quant

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