Mary Quant and the Immortal Mini-Skirt
Good taste is death, vulgarity is life
Says the woman who revolutionised the conventions of fashion, not only for the ‘teenager’ in the 1960s but how we see fashion today.
Mary Quant popularised the mini-skirt and developed it by making them much shorter than other designers at the time, such as Andre Courreges and John Bates. Quant produced new opaque woven tights, enthused by costume and dancewear. She specifically designed these to match with garments in the same bold colour. She launched hot pants and the skinny ribbed-sweater for customers in the mid to late 1960s. She created the sweater by trying an eight-year old boy’s jumper for fun this also links to her fun and young style of clothing.
Soft, flexible and practical fabrics were used in her garments like, synthetic fibres, gingham and opaque. These types of fabrics matched the anti-grown up and rebellious nature of her young customers. She experimented with different materials such as PVC, denim and vinyl. These fabrics show a futuristic and space age inspiration from the 1960’s especially through the metallic effect of her PVC raincoats.
Fashion wasn’t designed for young people
Quant used simple clean-lined silhouettes, short shifts, narrow tubulars and oval A-line dresses, lowered waists, oversized sweaters and loose-box jackets. This simplicity was also shown in her naïve, and bold primary colours, bright reds and greens, which compliment to her use of monochrome in the garments.
She was inspired by op-art, meaning many of her prints were checkerboards, dots, stripes and curved geometric patterns. Pop art artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were major influences to Quant, through her use of simple colours and her daisy print which became the logo of her brand, “I used to doodle them everywhere, they got onto the clothes and then they became that daisy”
Prada Spring/Summer 2013 showed floral prints very similar to the daisy print to Quant’s logo. Miuccia Prada’s says the flowers show the height of femininity, plus in black and white a state of innocence and youth, which are likewise the main factors of Quants designs. Additionally the hot pants and the ribbed cotton show direct influence of Quants later developments in her garments.