Mary Quant

Born: London, England, 1934

Mary Quant studied Art Education at Goldsmith’s College in London where she met her future business partner and husband, Alexander Plunket Green. After graduating Quant became an apprentice to a milliner and began designing her own clothes.

Identifying with young adults who couldn’t find unfussy casual clothes, Quant took inspiration from Chelsea Beatniks and memories of dance outfits from childhood.  She began to develop her own individual style. Simple shapes and strong colours were her new motif, capturing the spirit of the sixties revolution.

Quant opened her first boutique “BAZAAR” on Kings Road in London in 1955. Taking inspiration from Andrè Courrèges, she helped popularise and commercialise the mini-skit sensation of the following decade. Focussing on the younger generation, Quant devised eye-catching window displays for her simple designs, appealing to a wide range of customers.

With the success of her first boutique, Quant opened a second store in Knightsbridge.  In 1962 she successfully targeted the American market. This led to Quant being inundated with requests for designs from Britain, Europe and the US.

Quant added a cosmetics line to her growing empire in 1966. The same year she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her achievement in the fashion industry.

At the beginning of the seventies Quant launched into interior and textile design. Three years later an exhibition was held in her honour at the London Museum, “Mary Quant’s London”.

Continuously recognised and awarded, her popularity continued to grow and in 1975 the BBC broadcast a one hour film entitled “The Life of Mary Quant”. The same year “Mary Quant at Home” was launched in New York, a grand collection of interior-related designs.

Quant shared her unique style of makeup in 1986 with a book “Quant on Makeup”. The book was a great success. Three years later a video about makeup was released titled “Mary Quant’s Style File”.

In 1990 Quant was awarded for her contribution to the British Fashion industry by the British Fashion Council.  Further makeup books were published in 1996, “Lipstick 101 Colours” and “Classic Makeup and Beauty Book”.

Mary Quant’s youthful clothes have come to represent the generation born after World War II. With her clothes instantly recognisable through the use of her daisy logo, as well as her own distinctive Vidal Sassoon hairstyle, Mary Quant helped overturn the repressive conventions of British dressing.

Mary Quant Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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